Jessica Mahon was pregnant last year when her bosses, as a precaution, sent her home in March 2020 to avoid coming into any possible contact with COVID-19.
Mahon said a co-worker had asked her if she could write a children’s book to help explain to kids what paramedics do. So days after being sent home, the New Castle County Paramedic corporal decided she would write a book.
“Might as well do something that the world needs,” Mahon said.
By June of that year, Mahon had written, “Joel Meets the Paramedics,” a 24-page book geared towards young children.
The book, available on Amazon.com, follows a kid named Joel who one day gets into a bind at recess and paramedics take him to the hospital. On the ride, the young man learns what happens inside of an ambulance.
“A lot of people have reached out to me, that I don’t even know, and tell me ‘My kid loved it,’ ” she said. “I just think that’s cute.”
Mahon said she wants children to know there’s more to being paramedics or emergency medical technicians than riding in an ambulance.
“There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes,” she said. “I wanted them to see from start to beginning. I want them to get a full idea of what we do,” Mahon added.
While there are childrens books that explain what other first responders do, there aren’t too many – if any – that tell kids what paramedics do, said Senior Sgt. Abigail E. Haas, a New Castle County Paramedic spokeswoman.
Earlier in her career, Haas said some children would confuse paramedics with police.
“A lot of times you would hear a kid saying, ‘Don’t arrest them’, or, ‘Are you going to arrest them?’ ” she said.
So the book can help be a vehicle for parents to explain to children the differences, she said.
There’s also the hope the book helps children feel more comfortable with paramedics.
“We want them to be at ease with us with what we’re doing to them, with what we’re doing to their family members more importantly because more often, we’re not going to a child,” Haas said. “We’re going to their grandparents, their parents, their older siblings and we want them to know that we’re there to help, that we’re there to fix the problem and not add to a problem.”
Mahon said she would like to follow “Joel Meets the Paramedics” with other children’s books using the main character as he meets emergency dispatchers, firefighters and others in public safety and health care.
“I feel like those fields get missed a lot,” she said. “I just think it would be cool that kids just know more in-depth overall about different careers.”
Contact Esteban Parra at (302) 324-2299, firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @eparra3.