Kansas City 12-year-old co-writes book to help kids talk about COVID-19 pandemic

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A 12-year-old Kansas City girl is helping other children express their feelings when it comes to life during a pandemic by sharing her story through a new book.

At 12, Lauryn Coleman can now say she’s a published author.

“My mom asked me if I wanted to write an article to enter to be in a book,” Lauryn said.

The 6th grader from Pembroke Hill Middle School was selected to write for a newly released book called, “Kids Journal Through COVID-19, United Kids Speak.”

“This is their emotional vaccination,” explained Laval Belle, author of the book, which features young authors from across the country, ages 7 to 13. Students represent each state, sharing their personal stories and experiences about life during the pandemic.

“It’s been difficult because I lost a family member to COVID, and I went back to school, and there were a lot of different things,” Lauryn said.

It was her great-aunt who passed away from COVID, she said, and the pandemic changed everything for her family.

“We definitely don’t hang out as much as a family,” the 12-year-old said.

Belle said, as a parent, he was inspired to author the book to give children a voice, as many times kids are overlooked emotionally.  He also said this book will serve as a piece of their history to document this time.

“For our children, the COVID virus is their 9/11, it’s their Hiroshima, it’s their World War II,” he said.

As part of history, people will get to read from Jeanna Pink Floyd, the daughter of George Floyd, as she writes about the pandemic and how her father’s death changed the world.

For Lauryn, and students like her, it’s an outlet to express their feelings.

“I think it was pretty helpful because it just helped me get everything out,” she said. “I could just write everything down on paper, how I was feeling so I just wrote that down.”

Belle said suicide rates have drastically gone up since the start of the pandemic, and he wants the book to give kids a way to talk about their feelings.

“It’s also giving them a platform to express themselves, kids sharing the message with kids, written by kids, for kids,” Belle explained.

He hopes parents can use the book as a tool to help them talk with their children.

“I think writing together, talking together, saying, ‘Hey maybe we can do a book together, maybe we can write a story about COVID,’ it just incites communication,” Belle said.

This week Lauryn was recognized for her accomplishment by city council members and Mayor Quinton Lucas.

Interested in getting a free copy of the book? Stop by the drive-thru book signing featuring young author Lauryn Coleman on Saturday, March 27, from 5-7 p.m. at Boone Tabernacle Church of God in Christ at 1317 E. 12th Street. One hundred books will be handed out for free.

Find more information on how to purchase the book here.

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