Project Summary

Frankie & Cleo is a grant funded project in which I am adapting a 1922 classic children’s book, The Velveteen Rabbit, to reach a younger generation.

During the 1800’s, there was a worldwide pandemic of scarlet fever with high mortality rates. Patients with the rash were forced to isolate, and quarantine notices were placed in the windows of their homes.
While quarantine did help stop the spread, there were still epidemics into the 1900’s. In the 1920’s, bacteriologists
found the cause of the disease and by 1940 antibiotics were introduced.

In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic halted our world. Worldwide quarantines took place, and this has had a long-lasting effect on today’s youth. Children, in their critical development stages, lost routine, formal education, and socialization. Children who had school as a haven lost their safe space.

The Velveteen Rabbit is about the rabbit discovering his place in the world, a lesson on self-worth. Frankie & Cleo is about a girl and a cat, but the lesson remains the same. Cleo the cat feels inferior to all of Frankie’s high-tech gadgets, but throughout the story she discovers her self-worth.
I find it important to give this story back to our children, in a language and setting that is familiar to them. Until 2020 it was easy to see pandemics as moments in history, but experiencing a pandemic firsthand was eye opening. While we were all forced to adapt to a new world, our children took the brunt of it.
This story restores magic in an otherwise hopeless place.