CORAL SPRINGS, FL – For years, Kelli Park has wanted to write a children’s book, telling a story that inspired young readers.
But when she sat in front of a computer and started writing, something always got in the way of finishing her script, such as a weak storyline.
About four weeks ago, the Coral Springs speech therapist and mother of three finally got a solid topic to focus on: coronavirus (COVID-19).
“It was the right topic and children needed to understand it,” Park said.
On Monday, her first book “A New Kind of Hero” went on sale on Amazon as a self-published book.
The 24-page book tells the story of a fictional six-year-old girl named Charlie who is trying to understand the virus and the problems it has caused in the world around her.
Her parents teach her about the dangers of the virus, about how it can make people very sick and how we all need to social distance. But they also teach her about the benefits of staying at home, getting closer to her family, and understanding the heroes among us, such as healthcare workers, firefighters, and truck drivers.
“She realizes there’s a lot to be thankful for,” Park said.
Park said the inspiration for the book came shortly after the outbreak. She came up with a script in a matter of days and worked with a local illustrator MaryEllen Mattera in designing the book.
She decided that majority of the proceeds from the book will go to charities helping people get through the pandemic.
“There’s so many people needing help right now and I just want to give it all back,” she said.
With one book done, Park plans to start working on others.
She looks to draw from her experience of working with children, first as a teacher in pre-school and elementary school and now as a child speech therapist. She also finds ideas from living in Florida for much of her life and being married to a law enforcement officer.
The subjects most interesting to her, she said, include mental health and wellness.
Whatever she writes about next, she wants her young readers to learn lessons about their own strengths in overcoming the challenges around them.
For her next book, she would like to find a publishing house to print it.
“Writing my first book was exciting,” she said. “I’m ready to do it again.”
Her book costs $10.49 and is available on Amazon here.
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