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Santa's shielding, so will Christmas be cancelled?

Published: 23 November 2020 at 15:13

Kelley Donner

Children’s book by ARU student explains how a clever elf helps to save the day

Christmas has been saved this year – not by a nationwide lockdown or a new vaccine, but by a very clever elf.

That’s the basis of a new children’s picture book called A Very Corona Christmas, written and illustrated by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) student Kelley Donner.

Kelley is currently studying for a Masters in Illustration and Book Arts at Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge campus, and the story for A Very Corona Christmas was inspired by conversations with her sons Jonas, Lukas, and Max.

After world leaders cancel Christmas due to COVID-19, Santa decides he has no choice but to furlough his elves until the pandemic is over. But then a bright, young elf brings Santa a letter from a little girl that changes everything.

Aimed at children aged between three and eight, the book combines Kelley’s watercolour illustrations with a healthy dose of humour, as Santa’s North Pole HQ gears up to get Christmas back on track during a pandemic.

Kelley, who is originally from Kansas in the United States and now lives in Trumpington, Cambridge, said:

“My kids and I began talking about what life would be like at the North Pole and how Santa would respond to COVID-19. 

“We figured Santa, being older, would likely be sheltering at home and the elves would have to come up with creative ways to watch children from afar, such as watching kids on Zoom lessons. 

“My sons, ages 6, 9, and 11, helped me a lot with the story ideas and we had a lot of good laughs coming up with illustrations, such as the sleigh with built-in ‘Santa-tizer’ spray. 

“There is so much uncertainty and anxiety right now, so I thought it would be helpful to talk about COVID-19 in a way that’s both engaging and reassuring for children.  I also included a few little jokes for parents that most children won’t even catch, because I think it’s important that parents enjoy this book as much as kids do.” 

Kelley has written several children’s stories including this year’s bestselling The Day the Lines Changed, which explains to small children what a pandemic is and was featured in The Washington Post and Business Insider.

More information about Kelley and her work is on her website, www.KelleyDonner.com, and the book is available via Amazon