Local 8-year-old with rare disease writes Covid-19 book to bring hope to children in isolation

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"Not being able to play with our friends and stay home is only for a short while". (Image supplied by Miss Mae Books)
"Not being able to play with our friends and stay home is only for a short while". (Image supplied by Miss Mae Books)

Laena-Mae Turner was only a few days old when doctors diagnosed her with a life-threatening autoimmune disease known as Hypogammaglobulinemia.

Having spent many weeks in and out of hospital throughout her life, Laena-Mae is no stranger to living in isolation.

From surviving Tuberculosis at only three years of age as well as other multiple illnesses due to her severely compromised immune system, she is an incredibly resilient young lady. 

Her optimism throughout the pandemic is unfounded, so much so that the eight-year-old found herself inspired to write a book on the Covid-19 pandemic.

illustration

(Supplied by Miss Mae Books) 

Inside We Stayed for Months and Days is a humorous and insightful picture book following children around the world during an international lockdown, understanding the unifying reaction to some disastrous news from different people, races, cultures, and countries across the globe. 

The young author, raised by a single mother, loves writing and poetry, and wrote the book to explain that the children of the world are in a shared experience and that together they will prevail. 

The beautifully illustrated tome and snapshot of Covid-19 was both written and art directed by Laena-Mae and illustrated by Botswanan-born Simon De Ruyck.

"Laena-Mae had a very clear vision of what the images would look like and her and Simone worked so well together as they brought her vision to life," says Laena's mom, Candice Turner.

According to Candice, Laena-Mae has penned several books since the age of five and loves to tell stories to her friends and family. The passionate little storyteller wrote the book at the start of the pandemic when she was still seven and asked her mother to share it with her friends to cheer them up.

When all the parents and children she shared it with asked her to send them more stories, and after much encouragement from other moms, the proud mom decided to send it to publishers.

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One of the youngest published authors in the country

Currently Laena-Mae is one of the youngest published authors in the country and is the youngest child globally to write and publish a book on the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I wanted to write a book for all the children across the world that would make them realise that no matter how lonely it is to be stuck at home, that we are all so brave to live in this new world," says Laena. 

"Not being able to play with our friends and stay home is only for a short while. By staying home or by wearing our masks, we are helping the world get better from this terrible virus".

A percentage of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the SOS Children’s Villages South Africa for their Covid-19 appeal.

Submitted to Parent24 by Miss Mae Books. 

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