Local Savannah Author Helps Children Cope with Coronavirus Through New Storybook

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

Dr. Melissa Gratias, Savannah resident, consultant and now an author of two children’s books, is pleased to announce the publication of a new e-book designed to help elementary-aged children better understand the Coronavirus pandemic.

“This is a scary time for children, and parents and teachers may be struggling to help them cope with the unknowns of this pandemic,” Gratias said. "We learn from ’Captain Corona and the 19 COVID Warriors’ that we can all help each other during this crisis.”

Coping with the cancellation of a spring break trip to Disneyworld, and like much of rest of the world, nervous about the spread of COVID-19, Gratias wondered how best to prepare her family for what seemed like a prolonged quarantine. As she placed the last bottle of hand sanitizer in her cart at the Walmart on Abercorn, she was uplifted by the words and actions of a store clerk.

“She simply said, ‘Be well,’ as she continued to busily restock the shelves,” Gratias explained. “But with those words and simple actions, she inspired me to think about how many people are helping during this crisis. That’s how ‘Captain Corona and the 19 COVID Warriors’ was born.”

Over the next few days, Gratias set out to write a new book for elementary-aged children, in which a superhero named Captain Corona shows a group of frightened children that there are many people helping in the world right now.

As the manuscript took shape, she collaborated with Savannah resident, Brittany Curry, also known as InkyBrittany, to illustrate the pages.

“The process of producing an illustrated storybook can take 18 months to two years,” but we saw the critical need to get this message out now,” Gratias said. “Everyone went the extra mile and our team wrote, edited, illustrated and distributed the book in ten days.”

The e-book, "Captain Corona and the 19 COVID Warriors,” is available as a free download at https://melissagratias.com/captaincorona. Also available on that page are free downloads of memes that celebrate “our COVID Warriors” to help everyone spread more love while practicing social distancing.

Although the download is free, Gratias is hoping those who acquire the book online will make a contribution to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s COVID-19 Response Fund as “they support preparedness, containment, response and recovery activities for those affected and for the responders.” Gratias also advocates donations to local organizations such as United Way, Rotary, Red Cross and other on-the-ground groups helping communities cope with this crisis.