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And the People Stayed Home

by Kitty O'Meara

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And the People Stayed Home is a picture book for children (and readers of all ages) by Kitty O’Meara, featuring her hopeful and widely circulated prose poem about the coronavirus pandemic. The poem suggests there is meaning to be found in our experience of the pandemic and conveys an optimistic message about the possibility of profound healing for people and the planet.

As Seen In

The Oprah Magazine

“The Most Famous Poem of the Pandemic Is Becoming a Picture Book for Readers of All Ages”

Now Streaming on Vooks

About the Book

Kitty O’Meara’s prose poem about the coronavirus pandemic and its profound message to look within ourselves to effect healing for people and the planet has struck a chord globally. Originally posted to the author’s private Facebook page on Friday, March 13, 2020, it quickly became a viral phenomenon.

The piece has been so widely shared through social media, news media, and by influencers such as Deepak Chopra and Bella Hadid that O’Meara, a former teacher and chaplain, has been called “the poet laureate of the pandemic.”

For O’Meara, one of the best outcomes of the poem has been the domino effect it has had in terms of catalyzing the creation of scores of new works of art, including short films, songs, music videos, spoken word videos, dances, compositions, and more. Among the many highlights are a music solo created by composer John Corigliano that was premiered by Renée Fleming in the online event We Are Here: A Celebration of Resilience, Resistance, and Hope, and a performance of an original composition based on the poem by the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus.

"The response has been overwhelmingly positive and humbling," O'Meara says. "There have been so many astonishing, touching, and global connections made because of the vision this poem presents and affirms."

Robust press coverage in the U.S. and abroad has included interviews on NPR, feature articles in many newspapers and online outlets, and countless references to the wildly popular piece. Additionally, the poem is included in the poetry anthology Together in a Sudden Strangeness: America’s Poets Respond to the Pandemic, edited by Alice Quinn (Alfred A. Knopf).

There has been a great deal of misinformation about the poem’s authorship, much of it confusing Kitty O’Meara with a 19th-century Irish-French writer with a similar name. In fact, Kitty O’Meara is alive and well and lives outside Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband, Phillip, and their five rescue dogs and three cats. And the People Stayed Home is O’Meara’s first print book; she has previously published two e-books for middle readers with LIONap.

The 32-page book is illustrated by award-winning illustrator Stefano Di Cristofaro and art directed by Jefferson Quintana of Ilona Creative Studio. In addition to the hardcover version, Tra Publishing is partnering with Vooks to create a read-along, animated version of the book that will be available as part of Vooks’s streaming library of animated storybooks for kids. Tra is also producing an e-book version of the title.

Published by Tra Publishing
November 10, 2020
Hardcover | $18.99
For ages 4–8 | and all ages
32 Pages | 9.25 x 12 in.

From Kitty O'Meara

What People Are Saying

"Thank you, Kitty O'Meara, for showing us promise amid the panic, and for pointing out that at this very moment, this very day, we can seize the opportunity to restore wholeness to our world."—Sy Montgomery, bestselling author of The Good Good Pig and The Soul of an Octopus

"A stunning and peaceful offering of introspection and hope...a pandemic must-have!"—The Children's Book Review

“It captured the kind of optimism people need right now.”—Esquire (UK)

“One of the most popular pandemic poems to date was authored by Kitty O'Meara…the emotion she shared resonated through a prism of social media remixes, showing up in images on Instagram, in YouTube videos, reposted on Twitter and beyond. It was translated into dozens of languages and even turned into song.”—To the Best of Our Knowledge (NPR)