education

Dallas Educators Author Children's Book About Pandemic

Educators Janel Perez and Hayley Waring saw a void to help children cope during the pandemic, so they wrote a book

NBCUniversal, Inc.

When the pandemic hit, Dallas educators Janel Perez and Hayley Waring realized they didn't have a book to help the pre-school children they work with, so they wrote one themselves.

"Lots of kiddos will be able to see themselves in the book," Perez said.

The book is called, 'The Best Day It Could Be'. Set in rhyme with watercolor illustrations, it narrates many of the experiences children living through the pandemic are going through themselves.

"So there once was a time we stopped going to the store," Perez read from the start of the book. "They closed my school and they locked the door."

Perez and Waring work with pre-school children at The Day School at Highland Park Presbyterian.

"We realized that they were confused. They were scared. They were having a hard time making sense of it," Waring explained. "Some kids who have read the book and said, 'I remember when this happened', or 'I had a birthday party when people drove by', and so for them to make those connections helps them feel less alone."

Perez is an expert in early childhood education. Waring is a pre-school teacher with an affinity for rhymes. The authors hope children and parents can see themselves in the book.

"If you can just connect with your kiddo and be with them in that moment, you don't have to have all the answers," Perez said.

They hope the book helps kids talk through their feelings and fears with a hopeful ending.

"When it was all over and normal life returned, we carried in our hearts all of the lessons we learned," Perez read from the end of the book.

"Even as mandates are lifted and restrictions are lifted, the impact emotionally on kids isn't. We all want to forget it, but that's not how we work. That's not how people work," Waring said. "These are universal experiences and we all went through it together, and we're all connected to each other, and that's the only way through this, is to connect to each other."

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