Creating a Storybook for Children

I was working on the illustrations for a a children's book I had written, called Wednesdays with Oma, when I heard Dr. Bonnie Henry; the chief medical officer of British Columbia during the 2020 pandemic, give a special address to children. She told them what was going on and encouraged them to stay calm and be kind and to help their parents. She was so reassuring and calm and spoke in such a way that would allay their worst fears. Dr. Henry told them that this was not forever, it was just for now. As a retired teacher, I knew how children reacted during a crisis. My experience was that they always wanted to help in some way. As I continued to listen I wondered how children could learn more about the pandemic without being frightened. I also wanted to give them practical suggestions for how they could help their family and their community. The idea came to me that I should write a story using the form of a medieval fairy tale, with knights in training who are asked to help the kingdom by joining the fight against an invisible enemy; a deadly virus. And so Have Courage & Be Kind;Knights in Training & the Great Battle was born. I used my three grandsons as the main characters and based the story on the events that actually took place in our family of thirteen during the pandemic. I had many sketches of my grandsons; sketches of them playing sports, running, making puzzles, reading, etc. and I used these sketches to create the drawings that became the collages for my final illustrations. I love how each illustration can stand alone as a frameable piece of art. Children enjoy the colour and sparkle of the whimsical illustrations and the little details they can find if they look closely.

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