While most of us were bingeing Netflix or baking bread during lockdown, one Waiheke woman was turning her worry about the pandemic into an idea.

Early childhood teacher Donna Smith was worried about how her kids would adjust to the "new normal" when schools and daycare centres reopened in lockdown level 3.

So the Waiheke-based teacher of more than 20 years came up with a creative way to talk to her kids at Piritahi Childcare about Covid-19.

"I was quite concerned when it was announced that childcare was going back in level 3. You know, it was going to be a new normal for them. I wanted to address their anxiety," Smith told the Herald.

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Now her first children's book "Covid-19 Hits the World" has nearly sold out, with 170 of 200 copies sold in just four weeks to buyers from as far afield as the UK, Australia and Ireland.

Illustrated by local artist No'oroa Te Hira Anguna, the book tells the story of "an adventurous little virus, who didn't want to stay at home".

Smith says the kids "totally love it".

"It definitely hit the mark. There's no anxiety with the children now. They've become amazing at washing their hands."

Donna Smith says both the kids and their parents love the book. Photo / Supplied
Donna Smith says both the kids and their parents love the book. Photo / Supplied

Smith says she's "a bit overwhelmed" by all the positive feedback and messages from other teachers and parents.

Mum Holly Dean says her 4-year-old son "absolutely loves" his teacher's book.

"Not only as he was involved in feeding into the characters, but also the story, characters and new confidence in how to deal with Covid," Dean says.

"He's been very worried about Covid-19 getting into our house and having to keep the door shut, worried about death, etc - the book has completely eased all that worry."

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Smith says it's thanks to her 9-year-old grandson Neo that it's almost sold out, as she'd originally planned to release it just to family and friends of Piritahi Childcare.

Released just four weeks ago, the books have almost sold out already. Photo / Supplied
Released just four weeks ago, the books have almost sold out already. Photo / Supplied

But after she'd finished reading it to her grandson for the first time, he told her "Nanny, you have got to launch this book to the world".

And so she did, launching a website where people can purchase the book.


"Just knowing that it's helping children, that's really cool for me," Smith says.

She says the book has kids inspired - they've even been making "Covid traps" in the sandpit at daycare.

"It's through play that they process what's going on in the world."

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Smith is already planning on a reprint for new orders.