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Castine
Originally published in Castine Patriot, September 3, 2020 and Island Ad-Vantages, September 3, 2020 and The Weekly Packet, September 3, 2020
Children defeat coronavirus in new book

Corona Island

Three courageous children successfully evade a personification of the coronavirus in the latest book published by Penobscot Books, Stonington.

Penobscot Bay Press file photo

Three courageous children successfully evade a personification of the coronavirus in the latest book published by Penobscot Books, Stonington.

Corona Island, by Johanna Sweet of Castine, empowers children during this difficult time of the pandemic and teaches them to confront conflict and rise above it.

Sweet notes in a news release from the publishing company that a virus personification “doesn’t promote the idea that once contracted, this sickness can be beaten by three feisty kids. I see the story as preventative in the way the children behave and support one another, as well as their community.” The book provides study questions to help understand the story and room for kids to write their own COVID-19 chapter.

Jane, Silas and Asa, going stir crazy with the restrictions put on them due to the coronavirus, accidentally set off on what will be quite the adventure. Whisked away by boat to a mysterious island, they encounter a strange little man who tries to entice them to stay with the things each loves the most. When Jane comes to the realization that the strange little man represents the virus, the children must work together—through kindness, courage, and their support of one another—to escape his reach and get themselves home again.

Sweet wrote Corona Island as a chapter-a-day story to read via Zoom to her grandchildren, who just happen to be Jane, Silas, Asa and their baby sister Nabby.

Sweet has taught writing and literature at high school and middle school levels and more recently at Maine Maritime Academy. Her poems have appeared in a variety of publications, and her articles have been published in the English Journal, the National Council for Teachers of English magazine. Corona Island is her first children’s book.

Corona Island was originally published in booklet form as a supplement to Penobscot Bay Press newspapers in Hancock County only. The new book is 8.5” x 11”, 46 pages, and staple-bound. It is available at penbaypress.me, through Penobscot Bay Press offices in Stonington and Blue Hill, or by calling 374-2341.