Dr. Li Wenliang, who blew the whistle for the emergence novel coronavirus in Wuhan is now a protagonist of an illustrated children’s storybook by New York Times bestselling author Francesca Cavallo. Through the book, the author seeks to address the conspiracy theories and the rise of anti-Asian racism rampant after the outbreak.
In 2019, when the first cases of the SARS-COVI-2 started to show up in December in China’s Wuhan. Doctor Li was the one who started to raise concerns over the emergence of a new virus and it’s potential to spread rapidly.
The doctor on Dec 30 privately warned his peers about a possible outbreak of an illness resembling SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and suggested to protect themselves.
However, the doctor was accused of spreading misinformation and by the Chinese authorities, and Dr. Li Wenliang, 35, later died of the new virus on 7th February.
“Doctor Li became a universal symbol of the importance of science and of freedom. In many other countries, doctors and scientists’ warnings were ignored. That is what makes Doctor Li’s story so relevant for all of us,” Cavallo, also author of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series says in a statement.
Doctor Li and the crown-wearing virus, the name of the book by Cavallo was first released on her website as a short story. Soon, the story garnered 40,000 downloads and got translated into 32 languages by volunteers.
“Unfortunate that the President is using this crisis to sow division among different ethnic groups”
Seeing the developments and attention, the makers have launched crowdfunding in the popular public funding platform Kickstarter, offering a more elaborate, illustrated, hardcover version of the book. The book will reportedly have original artworks by scientific illustrator, Claudia Flandoli and will be published by Undercats, Inc.
Within 20-hours of launch 30% of the $50,000-milestone has been reached. Backers have until 06/26 to pre-order the Kickstarter limited-edition in three available languages- English, Italian and Simplified Chinese. By October 2020, backers will get their copy of the exclusive edition of Doctor Li and the crown-wearing virus.
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“It’s unfortunate that the President is using this crisis to sow division among different ethnic groups.” Cavallo says, “Children deserve to be protected from narratives that are rooted in xenophobia, ignorance, and fear. Doctor Li and the crown-wearing virus is an origin story of coronavirus based on facts.”
Access the campaign here to get your copy. Don’t forget to share this article and spread the good news.
(Cover Image courtesy of Undercats, Inc. via press release)