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Faced with telling toddler daughter she can't hug her grandparents, Stanford doctor pens children's book

Book sales to benefit nonprofit providing personal protective equipment to health care workers

How do you explain to a toddler that she can't hug her grandparents right now?

Like many parents of young kids these days navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes it has wrought, Dr. Ben Lindquist, who works as an emergency room doctor at Stanford Hospital and lives in Menlo Park, struggled to answer that question. So he wrote a book.

Kiley, his 2-year-old daughter, now has words like "mask" and "germ" in her vocabulary, and she's learning how to use hand sanitizer, with supervision.

But her whole world is flipped upside down right now, he said in an interview.

In early March, before the shelter-in-place orders took effect and before it was known how widely that people without symptoms could still spread the coronavirus, Lindquist said he and his wife, Alese, took Kiley to visit Ben's parents.

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They took extra precautions, and both grandparents and grandkid alike had to refrain from their usual ways of showing affection.

Lindquist said he decided to put some rhymes together to help the toddler understand.

Initially, he'd envisioned the book as an extended family project, which people would contribute photos to, but then his sister, a graphic designer, put him in touch with the artist who ended up illustrating the book, Jena Holliday.

Normally it would take months to come up with the illustrations, but, he said, Holliday completed the illustrations for this book in only a couple of weeks. The illustrations were based on photographs of Lindquist's daughter.

Shortly thereafter, they self-published the book, "I Love You When You're Close and When You're Far Away" through Amazon. Proceeds are being donated to the nonprofit at getusppe.org, which provides personal protective equipment to health care workers nationwide. So far, the effort has generated about $1,000, Lindquist said.

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Early readers of the book, he said, have told him the story and illustrations resonate with their own experiences.

One of the rhymes in the book is the couplet, "I love you when you're close and when you're far away. / I love you when we're holding hands, and when across the street I stay."

The illustrations for the first line show a child and her grandmother holding hands, then the child waving from inside a house to her grandparents across the street.

The imagery has resonated with people who now have to maintain space from their extended family members and friends by visiting in socially distant ways, waving to each other through windows, backyards or cars, he said.

And the story's lesson carries resonance beyond the coronavirus pandemic, he added. For households with family members who suffer from illnesses that compromise their immune systems, the message that they're still loved even when hugs and physical contact are off-limits is a powerful one.

"It was a fun way to describe to her (Kiley) that her loved ones deeply care for her, even though they can't show it in the way they previously were able," he said.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

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Kate Bradshaw writes for The Almanac, the sister publication of PaloAltoOnline.com.

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Faced with telling toddler daughter she can't hug her grandparents, Stanford doctor pens children's book

Book sales to benefit nonprofit providing personal protective equipment to health care workers

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Tue, May 19, 2020, 1:48 pm

How do you explain to a toddler that she can't hug her grandparents right now?

Like many parents of young kids these days navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes it has wrought, Dr. Ben Lindquist, who works as an emergency room doctor at Stanford Hospital and lives in Menlo Park, struggled to answer that question. So he wrote a book.

Kiley, his 2-year-old daughter, now has words like "mask" and "germ" in her vocabulary, and she's learning how to use hand sanitizer, with supervision.

But her whole world is flipped upside down right now, he said in an interview.

In early March, before the shelter-in-place orders took effect and before it was known how widely that people without symptoms could still spread the coronavirus, Lindquist said he and his wife, Alese, took Kiley to visit Ben's parents.

They took extra precautions, and both grandparents and grandkid alike had to refrain from their usual ways of showing affection.

Lindquist said he decided to put some rhymes together to help the toddler understand.

Initially, he'd envisioned the book as an extended family project, which people would contribute photos to, but then his sister, a graphic designer, put him in touch with the artist who ended up illustrating the book, Jena Holliday.

Normally it would take months to come up with the illustrations, but, he said, Holliday completed the illustrations for this book in only a couple of weeks. The illustrations were based on photographs of Lindquist's daughter.

Shortly thereafter, they self-published the book, "I Love You When You're Close and When You're Far Away" through Amazon. Proceeds are being donated to the nonprofit at getusppe.org, which provides personal protective equipment to health care workers nationwide. So far, the effort has generated about $1,000, Lindquist said.

Early readers of the book, he said, have told him the story and illustrations resonate with their own experiences.

One of the rhymes in the book is the couplet, "I love you when you're close and when you're far away. / I love you when we're holding hands, and when across the street I stay."

The illustrations for the first line show a child and her grandmother holding hands, then the child waving from inside a house to her grandparents across the street.

The imagery has resonated with people who now have to maintain space from their extended family members and friends by visiting in socially distant ways, waving to each other through windows, backyards or cars, he said.

And the story's lesson carries resonance beyond the coronavirus pandemic, he added. For households with family members who suffer from illnesses that compromise their immune systems, the message that they're still loved even when hugs and physical contact are off-limits is a powerful one.

"It was a fun way to describe to her (Kiley) that her loved ones deeply care for her, even though they can't show it in the way they previously were able," he said.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

E miller
Palo Alto Orchards
on May 20, 2020 at 10:48 am
E miller, Palo Alto Orchards
on May 20, 2020 at 10:48 am
Like this comment

Where can I buy this book? Price?


Sl3
Evergreen Park
on May 20, 2020 at 11:16 am
Sl3, Evergreen Park
on May 20, 2020 at 11:16 am
Like this comment

Re: E Miller,

"Shortly thereafter, they self-published the book, "I Love You When You're Close and When You're Far Away" through Amazon." See paragraph 10 in the PA Online story. The link takes you right to the book. It doesn't seem to work here in the comment box where I am typing.


Palo Alto Nana
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 20, 2020 at 11:39 am
Palo Alto Nana, Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 20, 2020 at 11:39 am
Like this comment

Just ordered the book via Amazon. I'm sending it to my 4 year old grandson, who wonders if we can see each other "when the bad germs go away".


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