A BABYSITTER’S timely book on Santa Claus’ Covid precaution has proven a hit with children and parents alike.
Santa’s Magic Mask is a picture book about a group of children who worry what social distancing and restricted house visits mean for the most magical time of year.
The book, available to buy online now, is written by Blarney woman Anna O’Connor and illustrated by Danny Foley.
Anna - a Quercus Talented Scholar studying English at UCC - reveals the book was the result of concerned kids in her care.
‘I wrote the story after the kids I babysit expressed their worries about Santa calling. I’ve always loved writing, so this seemed like a natural way to ease their minds. The book is written in a similar tone to The Night Before Christmas and so is a new twist to a very traditional tale,’ said Anna.
‘This book really is something that is needed right now. This year has been so hard for everybody, but children have been particularly hard hit. They are really smart, so they know what’s going on - they know Santa travels and visits houses which are two things that we’re not allowed to do,’ she said.
Anna received her scholarship in recognition of her activism.
‘One of my main areas of activism is within the arts, more specifically through writing. Stories and words are one way in which I hope to make a difference in the world. I wouldn’t be me without my writing,’ she explained.
The book has received unanimous praise since publication. ‘The response so far has been amazing - we have even had to sign all the copies as so many were asking us to which was such an awkward and surreal experience! Kids love it and many parents have told me that their little ones are now excited for Santa’s visit instead of being worried that he won’t be able to call.
One child that I babysit declared it ‘better than his favourite Christmas story’ and I later overheard him reassuring a younger child that Santa would be calling because he had his magic mask,’ Anna said.
‘Danny and I met at Activate Youth Theatre at Graffiti Theatre and there we learned a lot about writing and art. Danny drew amazing black and white illustrations using Indian Ink for the book and brought the story to life so beautifully.’