For Sofie Meehan’s fifth birthday, cars rolled down a Bay Ridge street at 5p.m., honking five times.
Car parades are now the new normal for some birthday celebrations, to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Sofie’s real life moment is now depicted in a new book called “This is Not Forever.” It’s dedicated to children living through the pandemic.
"My name is Sofie. I live in New York City. This is me celebrating my birthday this year. You may ask why are you wearing a mask? Or why are you celebrating outside with balloons on a car? I am here to explain,” an excerpt reads.
The book was written, illustrated and narrated by Sofie’s mom, Kristen Meehan, an art teacher at P.S. 264 in Bay Ridge with three young children of her own.
"The kids have a lot of questions,” said Kristen Meehan. “Sofie, mostly because she's five. But even Lucas who's three. He talks about ‘oh, we can't go here because of the virus. When the virus is over we can go see grandma and grandpa.’"
The first-time author offers explanations for some of the new routines children face from social distancing to remote learning.
"That evening my mom and dad told me that schools would be closing because of a virus, coronavirus. Or COVID-19 is what they called it on television,” reads one excerpt.
"It made me cry as I was writing it,” said Meehan. “These things are hard to talk about with little kids. Like you want to give them the information so that they know what's happening, how to stay safe. But you don't want to scare them at the same time."
The book also highlights the inspirational: the daily “Clap for Heroes” moment celebrating healthcare workers and those on the frontlines.
"My family and I go out on the terrace and clap for the superheroes,” reads one excerpt. “We play music really loudly and all of our neighbors come out to clap and cheer too. This makes us all feel hopeful. That means feeling good about the future. We can feel hopeful because this is not forever."
Meehan first shared the book with her Bay Ridge students and is now listing it online. “This is Not Forever” is available as an e-book or a paperback on Amazon and through Meehan's website thisisnotforever.com, with all the proceeds going to the Robin Hood Foundation.