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 prose poem about the global coronavirus pandemic. The poem suggests there is meaning to be found in our experience of the coronavirus and conveys an optimistic message about the possibility of profound healing for people and the planet. Written by O’Meara in March 2020, the piece immediately went viral. It has been so widely shared through social media, news media, and by influencers such as Deepak Chopra that O’Meara, a former teacher and chaplain and currently a spiritual director, has been called “the poet laureate of the pandemic.”

The poem has resonated with people nationally and internationally in profound and sometimes surprising ways. In addition to going viral, it has already been translated into multiple languages, been the subject of many videos, and inspired musicians in countries across the globe to set it to music.


*Silver medalist, Florida Authors & Publishers Association President's Book Awards


“In Kitty O’Meara's book, And the People Stayed Home, she offers us wisdom that can help during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. She is challenging us to grow—to look inside, to listen deeply, to allow ourselves to think differently, and ultimately, to create new ways of living on the planet."—Deepak Chopra, MD, author, Metahuman

"Kitty has managed to take such a complex historic moment and craft an eloquent, heartwarming reflection that will resonate with generations to come. In a time when we all need to believe something good can come out of something so devastating, Kitty’s words give us pause and hope. Combined with the warm illustrations depicting life, this book offers the reader encouragement for a brighter tomorrow."—Kate Winslet, Academy Award-winning actress

“Kitty O'Meara is the poet laureate of the pandemic…The poem has become shorthand for a silver-linings perspective during the coronavirus outbreak—the hope that something good can come out of this collective state of ‘together, apart.’ ”—O, The Oprah Magazine

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

“A communal beacon of hope.” Washington Post

"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

“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)

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

“Images of nature healing show the author’s vision of hope for the future…The accessible prose and beautiful images make this a natural selection for young readers, but older ones may appreciate the work’s deeper meaning.”—Kirkus Reviews

 “A perfectly illustrated version of a poem that continues to be relevant.”—School Library Journal

“Quietly, tenderly and with irresistible, lighthearted wisdom, Kitty O’Meara’s words call us to the revolutionary choices that could save not only ourselves but the planet. At this painful moment in history, each page, each phrase, each delight-filled image is a spell to ignite the possibility of rebirth.”—Kim Rosen, author, Saved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words

“And the People Stayed Home is a deeply reflective poem that offers a hopeful and helpful message for people of all ages during this challenging time. It encourages everyone to think about…this difficult moment and to use it for good—to heal ourselves and those we love, and to consider how we might come together as one to heal the world.”—Dr. Judy Ho, neuropsychologist, author, and television and podcast host

"A calming, optimistic read, and a salve for children trying their best to navigate this time." ––Smithsonian Magazine. Ten Best Children’s Books of 2020


"I'm passionate about the Earth's gifts and our responsibility to tend and honor them, and I also believe the need to pursue our own healing and growth is an ongoing process."—Kitty O'Meara

Kitty O’Meara is a former teacher and chaplain who lives near Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband, Phillip, and their five rescue dogs and two 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. O’Meara has had a rich and varied career that includes many years of teaching middle school writing and literature. Most recently, she worked as a hospice and hospital chaplain and has extensive certifications in that and related fields. 

Stefano Di Cristofaro is an award-winning illustrator. He has illustrated the children’s books Conejo y Conejo, Guachipira va de viaje, and La Sayona y otros cuentos de espantosConejo y Conejo was awarded the 2019 People's Choice Award from the Golden Pinwheel Young Illustrators Competition at the Shanghai International Children's Book Fair and a 2019 Best Children's Books by Banco del Libro. Guachipira va de viaje was selected as one of the 2017 White Ravens books by the Internationale Jugendbibliothek (International Youth Library) in Munich. 

Paul Pereda is an illustrator who has primarily worked in video game development and trading card games with clients such as Disney, Nickelodeon, Atari, and MTV. Born in Venezuela, he now lives in Madrid. He has been passionate about drawing since he was a child; his mother carried drawing supplies everywhere they went to keep him busy and calm.

By coming together, we can help kids continue to learn while out of school and help families get through this you can support Save the Children’s critical work in the United States by making a donation to the organization when you pre-order And The People Stayed Home based on the poem by Kitty O’Meara.

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Publication Date | November 10, 2020 | Trade edition

Hardcover » Smyth Sewn Binding

32 Pages

Color Illustrations Throughout

9.25 x 12 in.

$18.99 ($25.99 CAN)


Reading Age: 4 - 8 years

This book has been translated into the following languages:

German, Australian, Korean