Our Bodies Stay Home, Our Imaginations Run Free by Lora L. Hyler
A Coronavirus COVID-19 Story for Children
Children’s book, 50 pages
Published by: HenschelHAUS Publishing, June 15, 2020
Reviewed by: Kathleen Fletemeyer
Lora Hyler packs a public health wallop into this short, sweet book. She meshes her background as a news reporter with her skill in writing children’s adventure books to produce this timely tale of a family coping with today’s real-life adventure—COVID-19.
Seven-year-old Maya washes her hands extra-long, singing the Happy Birthday song not twice, but three times, in hopes it will make the coronavirus go away sooner so life can get back to normal. With her eighth birthday around the corner, she worries what kind of party she’ll have since everyone needs to stay at home.
Parents will recognize their own challenges as the Thomas family eats ice cream with grandparents via video call, walks through their unusually quiet neighborhood, and stretches their imagination to put on a birthday party for Maya in these days of social distancing.
The entirely credible interactions of Maya and her older brother, Bryan, bring to life the disruption of virtual schooling, missing friends, and wearing masks. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas model supportive parenting as they respond to their children’s questions about the virus with equal measures of reassurance and age-appropriate medical information. The inclusive set of characters from school and neighborhood is an added reminder that we are all in this together.
Our Bodies Stay Home, Our Imaginations Run Free never minimizes children’s bumpy emotions, nor their need to understand a changed world. The unchanging values of family and caring for one another underpin this story without becoming sentimental. For parents seeking a young-reader book that provides a can-do attitude when new phrases like “flatten the curve” fill the airwaves, they need look no further.
Reviewer: Kathleen Fletemeyer managed outreach programs in healthcare for more than a dozen years. Her poetry appears in Midwest Review and the Creative Wisconsin Literary Journal. She is currently at work on her first novel. When the COVID-19 crisis passes, she looks forward to traveling again with her husband.