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A mother's COVID-19 children's book parodies go viral

New York City mother of two Stefanie Trilling is aiming to bring a little joy to the world during the pandemic by parodying classic children's book covers. A lawyer by training with no artistic background, her paintings have gone viral on social media. NewsHour Weekend's Megan Thompson spoke to Trilling to learn more.

AIRED: May 17, 2020 | 0:03:49
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>> Sreenivasan: DURING THIS

PERIOD OF SHELTERING IN PLACE,

SOME OF US HAVE BEEN ABLE TO

PICK UP OLD HOBBIES OR MAYBE TRY

SOMETHING NEW.

NEWSHOUR WEEKEND'S MEGHAN

THOMPSON BRINGS US THIS STORY OF

A MOM IN MANHATTAN WHO

DISCOVERED A NEW ARTISTIC TALENT

WHILE ALSO BRINGING SOME SMILES

TO HER FOLLOWERS ON SOCIAL

MEDIA.

>> Reporter: BACK IN MARCH, WHEN

STEFANIE TRILLING'S FAMILY WAS

NEWLY CONFINED TO THEIR

APARTMENT IN MANHATTAN, HER

YOUNG DAUGHTER SHIRA HAD A LOT

OF QUESTIONS.

>> WE LIVE IN VERY CLOSE

PROXIMITY TO FOUR MAJOR

MANHATTAN HOSPITALS.

AND IN LATE MARCH, WE'D HEAR

SIRENS ALL THE TIME.

AND MY FIVE-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER'S

IN KINDERGARTEN.

AND SHE WOULD OFTEN ASK US,

WELL, WE HEAR SIRENS OUTSIDE.

WE SEE AMBULANCES.

DOES THAT MEAN SOMEONE INSIDE

THE AMBULANCE HAS CORONAVIRUS?

ARE THEY GOING TO BE OKAY?

AND THESE ARE REALLY TOUGH

QUESTIONS.

SO, WE WERE SITTING THERE AND,

TO ALLEVIATE THE STRESS, I

BROUGHT OUT THE REALLY HIGH

VALUE FUN ACTIVITIES-- THE PAINT

SET.

>> Reporter: TRILLING, A LAWYER

BY TRAINING WHO WORKS IN

COMMUNICATIONS, PICKED UP A

BRUSH, TOO.

>> SO, I JUST STARTED PAINTING

CHARACTERS FROM THE FIRST BOOK I

SAW, WHICH WAS "ELEPHANT AND

PIGGY BIGGIE," BY MO WILLEMS.

AND I STARTED PAINTING CARTOONS

OF CORONAVIRUSES INTO THE

PICTURE.

>> Reporter: SHE POSTED HER

PAINTING ONLINE, AND PEOPLE

STARTED ASKING FOR MORE.

SOON SHE WAS PAINTING ALL KINDS

OF CHILDREN'S BOOK COVERS

RE-IMAGINED FOR PANDEMIC TIMES.

>> I THINK I'VE GOTTEN THE

LARGEST RESPONSE FROM "GOOD

NIGHT ZOOM," WHICH IS A PARODY

OF "GOODNIGHT MOON."

AND "OH, THE PLACES YOU WON'T

GO," WHICH IS A DR. SEUSS

PARODY.

THOSE HAVE BEEN MY TWO BIGGEST

HITS.

PEOPLE ALSO REALLY LIKE

"ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE,

HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD

2020."

>> Reporter: TRILLING CALLS THE

PROJECT, "CHILDREN'S BOOKS FOR

PANDEMICS."

THERE'S "MASKS FOR SALE," "THE

POKY LITTLE VACCINE," AND "WHAT

DO PEOPLE DO ALL DAY AT HOME."

IN TRILLING'S WORLD, YOU DON'T

PAT THE BUNNY.

FROG AND TOAD ARE SOCIAL

DISTANCING.

THE LITTLE ENGINE IS CARRYING

P.P.E.

AND THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS HAS

LANDED DEEP INSIDE SOMEONE'S

NOSE.

TRILLING POSTS A NEW BOOK COVER

EACH DAY, AND THE RESPONSE HAS

BEEN TREMENDOUS.

NEARLY 15 MILLION PEOPLE HAVE

SEEN HER WORK ON FACEBOOK ALONE.

>> THE INTEREST GREW

EXPONENTIALLY AND IT REALLY PUT

CONTEXT TO WHAT "GOING VIRAL"

REALLY MEANS.

>> Reporter: YOU'RE LITERALLY

GOING VIRAL.

>> NO PUN INTENDED, BUT YES.

I'VE GOTTEN SUCH SUPPORT FROM

PEOPLE I'VE NEVER MET TELLING ME

THAT IT'S REALLY BRINGING THEM A

SENSE OF JOY AND GIVING THEM

SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO

WHEN WHAT'S COMING NEXT IS SO

UNCERTAIN.

MOST OF US CAN'T LEAVE OUR

HOMES.

MOST OF US CAN'T SEE OUR LOVED

ONES.

MOST OF US ARE HAVING TROUBLE

BUYING YEAST AND TOILET PAPER

AND CLEANING PRODUCTS.

AND THE FACT THAT WHAT I'M DOING

IS SO UNIVERSAL IS WHAT'S

RESONATING WITH PEOPLE.

>> Reporter: TRILLING IS WORKING

TO PARTNER WITH A NONPROFIT TO

FIGURE OUT HOW TO SELL THE

PRINTS AND DONATE THE PROCEEDS

TO CHARITY.

DO YOU HAVE A BACKGROUND AS AN

ARTIST, ARE YOU TRAINED AS AN

ARTIST?

HAVE YOU STUDIED PAINTING OR

DRAWING?

>> I HAVE NO ART EXPERIENCE.

I'VE NEVER PAINTED BEFORE.

THIS WAS-- THIS WAS JUST A LARK.

SO THIS HAS REALLY BEEN A WILD

RIDE FOR ME, AND I'M LEARNING A

LOT AS I GO.

>> Reporter: AND YOU'RE DOING

ALL OF THIS WHILE PARENTING FULL

TIME AND WORKING FULL TIME,

RIGHT?

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

WHAT I'M DOING IS AT NIGHT,

AFTER EVERYONE ELSE GOES TO

SLEEP, I SIT DOWN WITH MY PAINTS

AND MY PENCIL AND MY PAPER AND I

GET TO WORK.

WE MAY BE SOCIALLY DISTANT RIGHT

NOW, BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN WE

NEED TO BE APART.

WE'RE ALL GOING THROUGH

DIFFERENT THINGS IN SIMILAR

CIRCUMSTANCES.

AND THIS IS BRINGING US

TOGETHER.