Author Educates With Bernie Burn
By Mathew Wasserman
Kids touch everything they can get their hands on. They are learning about
the world, and even at that age they know that touch is the most dependable
sense. If an infant touches a piece of grass it's harmless.
If a child grabs the leg of a passerby, it's no big deal. But, as Christopher and
Sarah Cruz learned, if a one-year-old girl touches burning hot stove, that
sense of touch is dangerous.
So what can parents do about dangers that lurk in everyday kitchen and
household appliances? The oven that burns like a fiery furnace. The red
hot coils of the toaster. The heated metal that warms the house on those
cold Rhode Island nights. Or the pan that was just removed from the top of
the stove. BERNIE BURN. All of those are BERNIE BURN.
At least that's what Sarah calls it in her children's book, Bernie Burn.
She wrote and illustrated the book, her husband, Chris, created it and
together they published it as the first book in their own new company,
Little Boots Publishing.
The idea for the book came when their one-year-old daughter, Rae, burned the
palm of her hand on the front of the kitchen stove. Sarah was busy cooking.
She turned her back on Rae for one second and then found her touching the
hot stove. She took her to the hospital and luckily the girl was fine. "If
you take your eyes off a child for one second you never know what they'll
do," said Sarah. After this, Sarah began researching these types of
injuries and found that they happen all too often. She wanted to find a way
to make young children avoid these areas where hot things would be, hence
She did a little experiment with her daughter and her younger brother, in
which she called all the hot items in the house BERNIE BURN. Rae caught on
and began telling her brother about all the things in the house that were
When Sarah saw how well it worked for her kids, she decided to let other
kids in on the secret by writing a book about BERNIE BURN. BERNIE BURN is
an evil-looking fire character that jumps out from behind all the things in
a house that are hot. The idea throughout the book is for kids to watch out
for BERNIE BURN because, "He's hot. He's not cool."
The book was recently printed and now Sarah is promoting burn awareness by
visiting young children in schools and going through the story with them.
As she tells the story she provides real life examples to go along with it.
"With the way the kids react, I think it could really reach them," said Sarah.
"The book is designed for children ages six months to four years as well as
their parents", said Sarah. "It has generated a lot of interest because it
focuses on early burn prevention education when most burn prevention
programs focus on kids age four and older."
After taking three years to complete the book, Sarah and Christopher are
more than satisfied with it. "I'm proud of it," said Christopher. "Even
though we published it on our own I think it could go on the shelf next to
any other children's book."
Sarah and Christopher chose to publish it themselves after several
publishing companies wrote them that they liked the book, but wouldn't know
how to market it.
Now the Cruz's are marketing the book on their own and reaching a lot of