Thirteen-year-old Quinn and her friends can’t believe their luck when spring break is extended an extra two weeks—even if it’s because of some virus. But when the impact of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic becomes apparent, everyone, not just the students, has to learn to adjust to their new reality. Quinn’s father is an ER doctor and has to self-isolate to protect his family from the virus. Isaac’s mother is the chief of police and now has to enforce new physical-distancing bylaws. Reese can’t visit her grandmother in her care home anymore. And their entire school has moved to online classes. Sacrifices have to be made to keep everyone safe, but there’s more to life than rules and scary news reports. In an effort to find some good in all this uncertainty, Quinn comes up with an idea that she hopes will bring the entire community together.
Don’t Stand So Close to Me is a new middle-grade novel by multi-award-winning author Eric Walters. It is currently available as an ebook in multiple digital formats (PDF, EPUB) and with multiple licensing options: individual, classroom and school. A print edition will be released in Fall 2020.
Click here to purchase the ebook or pre-order the print edition now!
Read the latest news and reviews about Don’t Stand So Close to Me:
The Toronto Star: How prolific Canadian author Eric Walters published a pandemic book for school kids in just 41 days
Eric Walters had an idea on April 22. Forty-one days later, that idea is a book.
Quill & Quire: Eric Walters’s new pandemic novel took 41 days to write, edit, and publish
With school visits cancelled, libraries closed, and literary events moved online, what’s a writer to do with all their free hours? Write a new book – and get it into readers’ hands fast.
49th Shelf: COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Eric Walters’ New Book Explores the “Now Normal”
Please enjoy this interview with Eric Walters, written by York Region District School Board Teacher-Librarian Geoffrey Ruggero.
CanLit for Little Canadians: Don’t Stand So Close to Me review
In a novel for right now, Eric Walters has found a way to reassure, inform, educate and entertain about life during the COVID-19 pandemic, and all within the safety of a new digital book for middle grade readers.
Canadian School Libraries: New eBook by Eric Walters Raises Funds for CSL
[Don’t Stand So Close to Me] reflects the current experience of many young people today while offering lessons about understanding the pandemic and instilling hope and optimism.
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre: Written, published and released during a pandemic: Eric Walters defies traditional publishing norms to create a book for young people living through the COVID-19 era.
Full press release for Don’t Stand So Close to Me.
Guelph Today: Guelph author’s latest book aims to help kids understand COVID-19
A Guelph author says his new book helps kids to navigate their way through the COVID-19 pandemic in a hopeful and positive way.
Watch and listen:
VoicEd Canada: Eric Walters and the Orca team on In Conversation with Stephen Hurley
CTV News: Guelph author pens new novel focusing on the life of pre-teens during the pandemic
“I realized there was a lot of confusion, a lot of anxiety,” [Walters] says. “I thought there was a real need for a book to help them understand the realities they’re in.”
More videos: Check out the trailer for Don’t Stand So Close to Me, an episode of Joel A. Sutherland’s Someone’s Good Books featuring a live interview with Eric Walters, and a video of Eric reading the first chapter of Don’t Stand So Close to Me for Bibliovideo’s Stay Home, Read Together series, below:
Here’s what readers have to say about Don’t Stand So Close to Me:
“Quinn, Isaac and Reese embody what many are feeling in these challenging times, where normal has taken on many different definitions. Reading about anxieties, uncertainties, fears for the unknown somehow allow me as the reader to exhale both figuratively and literarily my own feelings . . . and also to see hope in different guises. Conversations, real conversations have become an important thread for many, and this narrative showcases that brilliantly. Thank you, Eric for writing this much needed, sensitive portrayal of a reality we all are struggling to adapt to.” – Karen Upper, librarian
“It was a must. I cried. They were all happy emotional tears, but then I have been doing that a lot lately. It is actually very therapeutic. And then I cried again… Loved how the story left one feeling good and hopeful. Just like how one feels when the sun bursts out from behind a rainy day cloud.” – Joanne Richards
“Timely, relatable, and inspiring, I think this book is an excellent resource for teacher to use in the classroom to generate discussion. It touches on many aspects of the pandemic and its impact on teens.” – Kathie MacIsaac, librarian
“A timely reminder of the incredible ways communities have come together in this difficult time. Thank you @EricRWalters and @orcabook for this heartwarming story about hope, optimism and kindness.” – Jesse Longthorne, teacher/librarian
“Just finished reading Don’t Stand So Close To Me by @EricRWalters I need tissues now! I just loved the ending! I need to see if I can get it for my class in September. Just a beautiful story in this uncertain time.” – Valerine Jean, teacher
“I got it for my 9-year-old as soon as I heard. She dropped what she’d been reading & got through Don’t Stand So Close To Me within a couple of hours! She loved it! A timely and much needed relatable read to make them feel less alone during this incomprehensive time Thank you” – Driving Ms. Desi @SSanober, parent
Eric Walters began writing as a way to get his fifth-grade students interested in reading and writing. A Member of the Order of Canada, he has now published more than 100 novels and picture books. He is a tireless presenter, speaking to over 100,000 students per year in schools across the country. He also has a master of social work degree and was employed in a hospital emergency department for 18 years, which included working in mask, gloves and scrubs during the SARS outbreak.
Walters lives in Guelph, Ontario. A portion of the proceeds from Don’t Stand So Close to Me will be donated to Guelph’s Lakeside Hope House.