Children’s book helps allay fears surrounding the arrival of cicadas

The children’s book helped children overcome their fear of cicadas the last time they invaded the area. Decades later, the book still has an impact.

WASHINGTON – The cicadas are here and these giant insects can scare young children.

Kita Murdock and Patsy Helmetag decided to write a children’s book seventeen years ago called Cecile Cigale.

“Cecily has been underground for 17 years, patiently waiting. Her mother told her that there would be a day when she would know all is well and she can go up,” said Patsy Helmetag.

The idea for the book came about on a long drive while she was thinking about ways to comfort their young daughter who was afraid of bugs at the time.

“My two-year-old daughter at the time was really scared of bugs, any type of bug,” said Kita Murdock.

Eevee is no longer a toddler and is now a 19-year-old college student.

“It’s kind of interesting to look back on your life through those years of cicada cycles. It really hit us back then and what a difference it’s been 17 years,” said Kita Murdock.

The mother-daughter duo decided to write a children’s book 17 years ago to help allay their own family’s fears.

“So we knew the emergence of cicadas was coming to DC and that worried us a bit and I told my mom I wish there was a way to make it fun and less scary,” said Kita Murdock.

Almost two decades later, the book’s message continues to reach families in more than one way.

“Certainly 17 years ago, we didn’t predict all of the changes that would happen just before this emergence. We certainly didn’t predict the pandemic and I think that also made the story even more poignant this time around. and it resonates even more with people in a way that of course we could not have foreseen 17 years ago, ”said Kita Murdock.

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As we all come out of the harsh winter, they said the lessons from the book still hold true all those years later.

“I feel like a message of hope and also something that we really want people to take away from this book, it’s just that the cicadas are really a miracle that they come out. They are peaceful creatures and we want to that people respect and appreciate them and just enjoy this miracle of nature, ”said Kita Murdock.

Knowing that the cicadas were returning this year, they spent part of the pandemic re-illustrating the children’s book.

“I had those winter months to do a lot of things I couldn’t find time for before, so I took my time and re-illustrated Cecily,” said Patsy Helmetag.

To find Cecily Cicada, Click here.

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