UNC doctor, son create children's book for families of healthcare workers

Eastern North Carolina native Dr. Kenton Dover grew up with both of his parents working in the healthcare field. Noe, he created a children's book to start conversations.

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Rick Armstrong
, producer

Certain jobs require more sacrifice than the average career. That's especially true for healthcare workers and their families as they work during the COVID-19 virus.

The pandemic is not what inspired UNC pulmonologist and critical care specialist Dr. Kenton Dover to write a children's book, but he said it certainly gave the project more importance. Dover wrote two versions, "Where did Mommy Go?" and "Where did Daddy Go?," specifically with the children of healthcare workers in mind.

When Dover was young, he had that same question about his own dad, a rural pediatrician in eastern North Carolina.

UNC doctor, son create children's book for families of healthcare workers

“My father would leave before I was awake or go in the middle of the night and often come home when I was asleep,” Dover said.

In Dover's book, a child wonders, "Did he go to a movie? Or to a monster truck show?" The illustrations -- all done by 6-year-old Levi Dover -- add to the book, which sets forth a series of questions a young child may ask in an effort to understand why their parent may be gone for a longer than normal period of time for their healthcare job.

“He asked me to draw the pictures in the book," Levi said about his father. "Well, I really asked to do it, but he said yes.”

As a child, Dover said he didn't worry much about what risks his own dad faced. At age 69, his father still sees patients. “I worry a little bit more about him now than I ever did when I was a kid,” Dover said.

The author’s two books, written with children in mind, never mention the COVID-19 pandemic, but they're entering the literary market through Amazon and Kindle at a time when just about everyone has the viral threat on their minds.

"We're just seeing more and more of it as part of the news, and it's just more of our conversation,” said Dover.

Dover said starting conversations between parents and children is what this venture is about. “I think even working with Levi in putting this book together and kind of talking through things, he realized more of what I do every day," Dover said.

All proceeds from the sale of the books will go toward local coronavirus relief efforts.