Nine-year-old Houston boy writes a book about his Harvey experience to help other kids cope with their emotions about the tragic storm.
Article By Taylor Kerr, Houston Family Magazine
The images of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation are still ingrained in the minds of our nation— and our kids. The deadly and damaging storm impacted the lives of more than 13 million people, and took a toll on every man, woman, and child.
Landon Hayek, a fourth grader from the Timarron area of the Woodlands, struggled not once, but twice. with devastating flooding.
“We moved here from California six years ago. In 2016, our home flooded during the Memorial Day floods about three inches and flooded again during Harvey with 18-21 inches,” said Jenn Hayek, Landon’s mom. Jenn said the family escaped in a hurry with what they could carry and took refuge with family. “About three days after Harvey, my son started worrying about going back to the house and wondering if the flooding would happen again.”
Rather than letting her son internalize his anxieties, Jenn encouraged her son to write down and draw pictures of his feelings about the experience, so he could confront the situation head on.
“The first day we could, we got right to work ripping the first floor of our house apart,” Jenn said. “But what happened that day was incredible! Strangers, neighbors, and school families all came to help. We are still in the process of rebuilding our first floor, and are hoping to be back in by Christmas, but the process is moving slowly, as there are so many people in the same boat as us.”
Landon and Jenn are living with her mom while her husband lives on the second floor of what used to be their home. She says it’s tough being apart, but they spend the weekends together, and their family bond remains strong.
Once Landon started putting his words into pictures, Jenn realized how therapeutic it was for them both. Landon and Jenn wanted other children to be able to alleviate their fears and share their feelings as well, so they decided to turn the pictures into a children’s book— They Called Him Harvey.
Through the lens of a nine- year- old’s eyes, They Called Him
Harvey is a heartwarming story about both coping with tragedy and the power of
friendship and community.
Colorful illustrations, rhyme, and repetition engage young readers in hopes that the book might spark healthy conversation, and allow them to process trauma in a relatable way. Landon and Jenn believe that no child
should ever feel alone, especially after going through such a devastating event. Whether you personally experienced the devastation of Harvey or not, this book truly hits home.
Landon recently read his book to classmates, Jenn explained. “They
had a Q&A session and a book signing. I was so very proud of him. One
classmate asked Landon why he wanted to make the book, and Landon said,
“to spread love and joy.”
And that is the true spirit behind They Called Him Harvey — a resolution to share the goodwill and joy that those volunteers offered Landon and his family.
They Called Him Harvey is now available as an eBook in the Kindle Store, as well as paperback on Amazon. A portion of the proceeds will go towards Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Several book signings are planned in the Houston area in coming months. Next month, Landon and Jenn will be at The Woodlands Children Museum on January 5th at 11am.
This incredible mother-son duo reminds us that no matter what tragedy you face, you never have to face it alone.