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Haley Cranman: New Author Publishes a Book About the Pandemic for Children

Haley Cranman: New Author Publishes a Book About the Pandemic for Children

Story by Katrice Williams

Photography by Leidy Lester

 

“I didn’t know it then, but the school year was going to be different. Have you ever heard of the word pandemic? Me neither,” says seven-year-old Collins, the main character in Haley Cranman’s children’s book The Pandemic and Me: A Child’s Perspective which was released by Mascot Books Publishing Company on November 1.

Whether labeling it as remote, online or virtual learning, it was all a new way of describing school during the coronavirus pandemic. There were a lot of opinions about education expressed by the big people in the world—parents, teachers, school administrators and even government officials. But what about the children? How did they feel about their world abruptly turning upside down?

Haley Cranman brilliantly captures the then new reality faced by many small children, revealing it through the perspective of her son Collins as he adjusts to online learning.

 “I wanted the child to have a voice. We never really heard much about how the kids were coping,” she says.

 Haley, a Savannah native, has been married to her husband Michael for 11 years. They are the proud parents of three: daughter Hannah and sons Collins and Jaxon. Haley, an educator at Life Springs Christian Academy, recently obtained her educational studies degree.

The Start

While growing up, Haley never enjoyed reading or writing much at all. However, that eventually changed. “I started reading to my kids when they were born; then the writing came. Now, I love reading and I love writing. I love everything about it. I said long ago that I wanted to write a book,” she says.

 It was during the pandemic that Haley’s writing talents came to fruition. During the spring semester of 2020, most schools transitioned to remote learning to ensure students’ health and safety. Haley and other educators became homebound as well.

 Early on during online learning, Haley began observing Collins as he learned. She often jotted down notes after noticing what worked best for his learning—rooms he felt most comfortable in, what worked most to reduce distractions or ways she could complement his teacher’s instruction.

A Book is Born

Those notes, along with Collins’ overall experiences, all came together—Haley soon found herself staring at a rough draft. She enlisted the critique of one of her own professors at the time, Wenonah Gildon, to whom she sent a draft. Haley later reached out to Mascot Books.

“Mascot critiqued and edited it—it went through four or five drafts. Mascot did a lot of the legwork and helped me walk through how the story needed to roll. They were fantastic,” Haley says.

Moreover, Haley and Michael were impressed with Nidhom Illustrations; they were surprised with how much the young boy in the story resembled their son Collins.

“We went through hundreds of illustrators before going with Nidhom. It looks just like him,” she adds.

The couple was thrilled to see the final product for the first time. As Haley thumbed through every page, she was delighted.

Adapting to Online Learning

As her book reveals, Haley persisted to help Collins combat the challenges that came with being ripped from his structured school atmosphere and friends.

Like many kids, Collins did not readily adjust to the drastic changes that came with online learning. Haley knew the necessity of keeping Collins, her first-grader, on track academically. What is more, Collins, like herself, had been diagnosed with ADHD at age five.

Haley has always refused for Collins to be characterized by ADHD. In fact, she does not mention it at all in her book.

“I don’t want him to be defined by ADHD. I tell him that his brain just works differently, and different is amazing; he may have to work hard, but it’s going to be that much more worth it,” she says.

The story does, however, hint at it by mentioning certain behaviors of young Collins, such as him having difficulty sitting still or getting easily distracted at times; he did benefit from consistent changes in surroundings. Some hints from the story include: “The next day, Mommy gave me some Play-Doh to play with while I listened to my teacher. I did not even realize I had started to pay attention.” In another instance, Collins mentions, “Soon Mom started letting me choose where to do my learning for the day. ‘A new view can help,’ she said.” Haley strived to ensure that Collins was paying attention to his teacher on the computer screen; the two reviewed the lesson at the close of each school day.

Collins’ teacher, LuAnne Cromley, made online learning a wonderful experience for him, and he began to better adjust to it.

“She understood him and made learning fun. Collins began to thrive academically. He eventually began to enjoy online learning,” Haley says. Collins concluded his online learning with a strong A average.

Appreciation

Haley is grateful for the love and support of her husband Michael—her encourager and biggest fan. He has believed in her, taking pride in supporting her dreams, whether scheduling meetings and interviews or handling book signings.

“I’m really blessed. He has been great. He’s been taking the reins with everything involving the book,” she says.

Further, Michael thinks the world of his wife. “I can’t be more proud. It’s a major accomplishment. She amazes me every day. It’s a good book—a relevant book and a relevant topic,” he says.

Haley appreciates everyone who has championed her efforts. She remembers two of her biggest inspirations—her grandparents Edward and Gloria Collins.

“I wouldn’t be the person I am without my grandparents. They poured a lot of love and faith into me, along with values and respect,” she comments. Collins is named in honor of them.

Besides finding a nice little nook at home to read a good book, Haley is a book store fanatic, often in search of an interesting page-turner. She enjoys playing video games with her kids, and she likes traveling.

The Pandemic and Me: A Child’s Perspective can be purchased online at Amazon, Target, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.

Haley has already had several book signings. She is planning for additional engagements and related events.

The future is promising for the new author.

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