Although the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted many lives, it has created avenues for many to unearth their creativity. Egypt Bush is one such person. The New Yorker with Trinidad heritage ran out of bedtime stories when her library was forced to close amid the pandemic and this inspired her to write her own stories at just five years old.
Before the pandemic, Egypt frequented the Cambria Heights branch of the Queens Public Library where she usually checks out about 10 to 14 books Her father, Rahiem would read these books for her and her brother as bedtime stories before the pandemic struck.
Fortunately for her, she had about 10 to 12 books before the lockdown in March. However, after reading the set of books she borrowed, she wanted something different. That was when Raheim suggested she writes her own stories.
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“My dad had to read all the books over and over and over again and then he told me, ‘Why don’t you come up with your own book?’” Egypt said.
She went on and told him an elaborate story from her imagination which was intriguing to him. The next day, they tried it again and he began writing them. That was how the “Egypt’s Everyday Superheroes” series was born, with Egypt as the main character.
Her family jumped on board to help the series come to life. Shaleem Bush, her mother, who works in the communications industry enlisted the services of a graphic designer to bring visuals to Egypt’s stories.
A review of diversity in publishing children’s books in 2018 revealed that only 10 percent of children’s books portrayed an African-American character.
“There aren’t that many places where she can see kids that look like herself,” said Shaleem. “It’s about empowerment.”
Egypt has so far published a series of books; “Superhero Town,” “Superhero Family,” “Superhero School” and one coloring and activity book, “Egypt’s Everyday Superheroes Coloring and Activity Books” in her “Egypt’s Everyday Superheroes” series.
Egypt’s superheroes were birthed from the everyday people doing extraordinary things especially during this pandemic including doctors, nurses, EMTs and bus drivers like her father, Raheim. Her whole family features in her books, and she makes sure to keep them entertaining and educational.
Adults sometimes downplay the intelligence of their wards, but Egypt is proof that children are not oblivious to the effects of the pandemic.
“We think that as adults kids aren’t really paying attention and it’s crazy that they absorb way more than you realize,” Rahiem said.
Now six years old, Egypt’s maiden book, “Superhero Town”, centers on COVID-19 from the point of view of a child.
“Hi, my name is Egypt. There is a new icky super germ that everyone is afraid of and the people in my town are turning to superheroes to fight it,” she read in an interview.
While attending school remotely, she has had a virtual read along of her books with her class.
“Seeing her interact with these kids is really special,” said Shaleem. “They all say, ‘I want to write a book, too!’”
When asked how many books she intends to write, the ambitious author said one hundred and admitted she has her work cut out for her. “It’s going to take a lot of work, but I will not give up,” she said.