Mercer University alumna Dhara Javia and her sister wondered how they were going to explain COVID-19 to their children, so they made a children’s book to help.
Javia, who earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from Mercer’s Atlanta campus in 2013, said she and sister Niti Amin had always talked about writing a book together, and “Bye Bye Rona” became their quarantine project. Amin’s sister-in-law, Priya Amin, illustrated the book.
“Bye Bye Rona,” which they self-published through Amazon in July, is geared toward children ages 2 to 6, but the message is relevant to everyone. It teaches kids how to stay safe during the pandemic by doing three simple things: washing their hands, wearing a mask and keeping their distance from others.
“It’s a simple, colorful children’s picture book,” said Javia, who is a middle school math teacher in Fulton County. “It has some repetitiveness in it. The repetition has really stuck with the kids, and it’s easy to remember.”
Javia and Niti Amin, a physician assistant, have been reading the book to their daughters, who are 15 months old and 2 ½ year old, respectively, and Amin’s daughter already knows all the words.
Reviewers wrote that they like the book’s simple, to-the-point and positive message, and the colorful illustrations attract children to the story, Javia said. A few people told Javia and Amin that their children often pick “Bye Bye Rona” as their preferred bedtime story. A couple parents who had babies in 2020 even said they bought it as a kind of memory book, so they could later read to their kids about what happened the year they were born.
“This year is kind of funky,” Javia said. “We want to get the message out to stay safe and help our children understand what we’re going through.”