Breathe a deep sigh of relief with the educational and personal ‘COVID Warriors: Lung Savers’

The school curriculums being presented to our young children these days have taken a turn from the numbers, letters, sounds and visual recognition we typically associate with those first days of school. This is not a conscious choice by our educators but a function of a new world children are facing, clouded with virtual learning, chaotic schedules, masks, partitions in classrooms — and quarantined classmates.

When they look back on their education, this generation of children will think of the precautions associated with COVID-19 as part of the experience; they might not realize this bizarre state was not the norm for the generations that preceded them or, hopefully, for those that will follow.

As such, it has become necessary to educate young kids on what COVID-19 means and explain to them the day-to-day ramifications. It also gives educators a chance to praise and show gratitude for a special group of people who have risen to the task of doing what they can to help people recover from this potentially deadly virus and find comfort.

Andrea Harris was diagnosed with COVID-19 in February 2021, spent 31 days in the hospital and more than 60 days in outpatient recovery. “During my stay in the hospital, I was impacted greatly by two respiratory therapists who saved my life,” she says. “I became very concerned with how young children are being affected by the noise of COVID-19.”

So she shifted gears in her own life and decided to write her first book, a children’s book geared toward kids ages seven and younger entitled “COVID Warriors, Lung Savers.”

This book is designed to provide young children with a way to process what COVID-19 means and offers a segue for parents to lead discussions about this devastating virus. In addition, the book offers young people a peek at a profession that they may never otherwise hear of: respiratory therapists, the heroes at the heart of COVID-19 recovery.

Punctuated by attractive illustrations by Camille Porzio, the 33-page book is a simple story that lays out some basic definitions in ways children can understand. For example, “respiratory therapist” is a term perhaps not easily grasped, so Harris labels them “lung savers.” She introduces us to Sandy and Allana and makes them relatable with fun, dazzling clothing and hairdos.

She also explains what is at the heart of their concern: “COVID-19 makes the lungs forget how to breathe.” For Little Ann, she enters the hospital because her lungs were broken and she needed the help that hopefully the lung savers could provide.

Not only are Sandy and Allana experts from a professional standpoint, but they understand how to put scared children at ease: “Sandy made Ann feel better by standing on her head and blowing bubbles.”

Fittingly, the author dedicates the book “to all the brave front-line workers who responded to the call when the world fell apart and to the two respiratory therapists who saved my life.”

As parents grapple with how to communicate to children what they should — or shouldn’t — tell them, “COVID Warriors, Lung Savers” can be a helpful tool to give them not only a basic understanding of the virus, but an appreciation of the people who go above and beyond to help those affected overcome their illness.

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