A Toddler’s Coronavirus Questions Inspired Her Pediatrician Mom To Write A Book

Dr. Keila Rodríguez says reading to children is always important, but the benefits could be especially helpful during difficult times.

By Laura RiceNovember 16, 2020 11:24 am, , ,

Dr. Keila Rodríguez is a pediatrician and an assistant professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She told the Texas Standard she starting writing “When the World is Sick” after her daughter asked, “Who is that?” when her parents told her the coronavirus would prevent her from visiting her grandma.

“She was the test pilot. Every time she sees it, she says, ‘Hey, that’s me.’ And that’s also important – seeing yourself in a book or somebody who looks like you.”


“I was also thinking a lot about all the young kids I was seeing in the office. They kept coming in with things that were pretty vague, pretty nonspecific and new to them. So things like abdominal pain, difficulty sleeping, new behavioral changes which seem to boil down to difficulty dealing with these new life changes. I think it’s really easy to forget sometimes the really little ones, but they do understand and absorb so much more than we think they do.”


“So it’s just been like a little resource and maybe a little bit of, I guess, a validation for kids that they’re not the only ones that are scared or that are going through this.”


Image of the front cover of "When the World is Sick."“The act of sitting your child in your lap and reading them a story and having them hear your voice, it just contributes significantly to something … their language development, their comprehension, their empathy, even their feelings of being loved. And it really builds that parent-child bond. … They just may not have the language to explain what they’re feeling or put their finger on it. And they just know things are weird and different. But just that process of sitting with them and reading to them and teaching them these things, I think reading to your kids right now is really, really important.”



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