Austin mother writes superhero book to help children cope with quarantine


AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s a story of fiction based on our current reality.

“I stayed up all night, a couple of nights and here we are,” local author Natori Blue said.

Author Natori Blue holds her first published book (KXAN Photo/Todd Bailey)

A young kid lives a normal life until a teenage supervillain shows up.

“He can’t do the things he’s normally done. The barbershop is closed, the school situation — he’s getting frustrated with having to do the work on his own… He also has a family member who has gotten sick with COVID-19 and he’s having to deal with not being able to visit.”

That’s the premise of the 32-page picture book “Calib and Quaran-Teen.”

Blue, also a teacher and mother of two, sought literature for her kids to help them cope with their new circumstance: a pandemic quarantine.

Her son inspired her.

He said: “‘No, it’s the only time I get to spend time with William.'”

“[William] is one of his best friends, my godson, and I was like, ‘This is really affecting them. Like this is bothering them quite a bit,'” Blue said.

The UT Austin grad couldn’t find any books so she wrote her own. It’s all meant to ease coronavirus conversations with our children who may not quite understand what’s going on, Blue said.

The protagonist Calib (KXAN Photo/Todd Bailey)

“As an adult, sometimes we can feel like, if we’re handling it, the kids are okay. Right? They’re like, we got it covered. We’re doing it, we’re doing what we need to do. They’re just kind of following along. But they really feel a lot of the same stressors that we do. They’re taking in these things that they see going on around them and their families, and so it’s a big deal to really consider their feelings and consider how much it may be affecting them and talk them through it because they need that outlet.”

It comes down to mental health, a topic a lot of parents don’t talk with their children about, Blue said.

“I think it’s even more so important, right, that we talk about that kind of thing and I think that this book kind of creates the environment or that platform to have those types of conversations with kids… I mean this is a fictional superhero tale but it also explores the reality of their new world.”

The supervillain Quaran-Teen (KXAN Photo/Todd Bailey)

The book has also touched the hearts of adults.

“I think what’s most surprising, I was thinking like, ‘Kids, okay kids are gonna read this and they’re gonna be able to, you know, this is gonna resonate with them and it’s gonna help them,’ but I have parents telling me, ‘This is even helping me, this is helping with my child of course, but this is helping me as a parent to see what other parents are dealing with,’ and I wasn’t necessarily thinking that initially when I was writing it, but I have people who are single, I have couples who don’t have children that are purchasing it and are just saying, ‘I just wanted this for me because it just grabs my attention so much cause this is it, this is what’s happening, this is what I’m seeing and dealing with.”

Blue released the book at the beginning of September. It can be purchased in many forms, including a video edition narrated by her. You can view a snippet of that version from the author’s Facebook post below:

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