BENTON — It goes without saying the threat of the coronavirus pandemic remains front and center — its effects still being felt across the region and the nation.
Indeed vaccines are on their way, but the fear of uncertainty dominates big and small communities alike.
It’s a scary and confusing time for everyone, especially for young children.
One young writer used her unique skill and talent to give children the courage to talk with their parents about what they are going through.
After publishing her first book, “Unique Eugene,” Ashton Brophy, 15, continued the story of her titular character with “Unique Eugene in Quarantine.”
Brian Brophy, Ashton’s father, illustrates his daughter’s books, and said she wanted to tackle what children are going through, and how they might get through it.
“What they’re feeling right now is going to be difficult because there’s no precedence to what’s happening in our world right now,” Brian said. “Kids don’t have anybody to relate to about it.”
“Unique Eugene in Quarantine” was published in May 2020 and is available on barnesandnoble.com for $9.99. The first book in the series, “Unique Eugene,” was published in June 2019 and is also available.
Ashton said she had always dreamed of being a writer ever since she picked up the first Harry Potter book in third grade. Now a high school sophomore, her family works as a team to bring her stories to life. For Ashton, having her work published was “kind of indescribable.”
“It’s such a giddy feeling, but there’s so many emotions that come with it, (like) sadness that the writing process is over,” she said.
Seeing her hard work inspired young children and even some schoolmates. Ashton now visits other schools in the region, giving presentations on her work, and donating copies of her book to school systems.
She also plans to launch a YouTube channel in a few months with content that would be similar to “Reading Rainbow.”
While she intends to continue writing books, possibly even “clean, teenage fiction,” she said she has aspirations to attend law school and to major in Spanish. Her goal is to be an attorney, and perhaps even a judge someday.
However, Unique Eugene readers won’t be left behind. Ashton has already written a third book titled “Unique Eugene is Never Mean,” which is currently in the editing process. The book will see the titular character meet a new girl with unique disabilities, and learn how to interact with her.
She said she hopes the book will launch by the end of 2021.