These thought-provoking and uplifting lines are from an eight-pager book for kids, titled Go Away Coronavirus by Divya Thomas.
Through its narrative, the author aims to educate young children in the current coronavirus pandemic, when everyone is at home, locked in from the outside world and away from their many loved ones. The book, which has gone viral, is filled with meaningful prose and captivating illustrations.
Divya, who has a background in advertising strategy and worked in the US and UK before coming back to India, tells us about what went into writing the book.
“For the past 10 years, I’ve wanted to write something for kids, which delivers a positive impact. Given the present situation, while I was aware that there is a lot of content available on coronavirus and on how to protect oneself, much of it is textually and emotionally heavy better suited for 15 years and above,” explains Divya. “I was motivated by the possibility of coming up with this simple and colourful content for 4 to 10-year-olds.”
The response she has been getting from all around the world is something Divya had not expected. “It is heart-warming. People from places such as Africa and South America have messaged me to share their appreciation for my work,” says Divya. Congratulatory messages have been pouring in from some heads of schools and education institutes too.
“Honestly, I had only sent the PDF of the book to my friends and family to share it on, but this sudden inflow of appreciation is great. It inspired me to quickly set up a website called www.anillustrat edworld.com, where people can access both the PDF and flipbook versions of the book,” she adds.
Divya took ten days to complete the book, starting from writing the story, to completing the illustration panels a day before it was digitally rendered. “I used to work on it for a couple of hours each day, starting with pencil-sketching the characters to the final output,” she elaborates.
Interestingly, even the characters in the book carry a message of their own, beginning with the shades of brown skin tones of the characters in the story (to reflect that the book was created in India).
Additionally, the image of the virus has an ominous green shade with varying expressions depending upon the stage of the story it is shown in big scary eyes as the virus starts its journey only to get replaced by crossed-out eyes as it nears its end.
“Everything in the illustration carries a message,” reiterates the author. “In the story, the little girl in the window has a darker complexion when compared to the little boy and the doctors include a woman while the nurse is man.”
The idea was simple Divya wanted to subtly push the ideas of gender equality, diversion and inclusivity and complexions.