June 16, 2024
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‘Cayleb’s Magical Adventure’ Shares the Positive Side Of Kids’ Screen Time

Since last March, technology has been central to our lives, for better and for worse. While stuck at home, screen time skyrockets—from bingeing shows to virtual work and school meetings—the list goes on. While the exorbitant amount of screen time has many concerned, Kira and Andrew Wigod recognize the positive side of technology. They even decided to write about it. Inspired by their son, Cayleb, and his FaceTime sessions with his grandparents, Kira and Andrew published a children’s book called “Cayleb’s Magical Adventures: Stuck in a Cave.”

The book takes readers through Cayleb’s adventure building an imaginary cave with pillows and blankets. When the cave collapses, Cayleb must rescue everyone stuck inside. In real life, Cayleb loves creating cave-like forts and taking his grandparents—through FaceTime, of course—inside his cave. This was the primary inspiration for the story.

Technology is a major theme in the book. Kira acknowledged the difficulty in setting a balance of screen use in families, especially during a global pandemic. With much public discourse over all the negative parts of technology, Kira thought that a major positive aspect was being overlooked: Technology helps us connect with others when interacting in-person is not an option.

This idea hits close to home for the Wigods, who live in Fair Lawn, while Cayleb’s grandparents are in Montreal. The pandemic forced their family visits to become virtual. “We tried really hard to stay in touch,” Kira said. It turns out that FaceTime is all Cayleb needs to feel like he is really there with his grandparents. “He would take the phone and disappear. and they would play together as if they were really here.”

Cayleb, who is 3 years old, sometimes takes his virtual grandparents into the passenger seat of his mini-car or plops them right down right next to him and continues playing as if there was no screen between them. Through these virtual meetups, Kira said they are able to maintain their bond. “There is something special about kids and their resiliency and how they can make the most out of a situation.”

“Cayleb’s Magical Adventures,” which took several months to put together, is self-published through Amazon’s publishing services. Kira and Andrew found an illustrator named Brandon Weiner through the website Upwork, which connects people to freelance talent. The authors like that through self-publishing they can retain control of the project and will likely continue the self-publishing route with their future books. The two experienced a steep learning curve publishing their first book, but now have the tools to publish future books easier and faster.

Kira and Andrew are already working on the second story set around a space adventure. It will introduce a new character named Charley, Cayleb’s baby sister and the Wigod’s second child. The grandparents will remain a central part of the upcoming books.

“Cayleb’s Magical Adventures: Stuck in a Cave” is available to purchase in paperback and e-book format through Amazon. Readers can follow the authors on Facebook and Instagram @caylebsmagicaladventures.

By Ayelet Ehrenkranz

 

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