Through the eyes of a child ...

Eight-year-old Karolee writes an account of the fallout from the earthquakes

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Through the eyes of a child ...At press time, one of the most widely shared reports in local social media circles was the “Picture Book of What Happened in the Earthquake,” by Karolee Bertrand, age 8.

According to Karolee’s mother, Danielle, Karolee originally submitted her work to a drawing contest on Facebook. Within the first day, it had been liked, commented on, shared and viewed thousands of times.

“She has an unusual story behind this,” said Danielle.

Following the 6.4- and 7.1-magnitude earthquakes, the Trona community was largely without power and water for the first few days. Karolee’s father, Robert, was helping deliver water to Trona. Karolee and her mother followed behind to pick him up after the delivery.

During that trip, Karolee got a first-hand look at some of the destruction caused by the quakes — smashed foundations, crumbling walls, cracks in the road, downed power lines. The fallout is carefully documented in her 16-page booklet, complete with illustrations.

“I didn’t even know about some of that until I saw her book,” said Danielle.

“The way she looks at the story, compared to an adult, is like a whole other world … I think it’s the sweetest thing ever.”

Nearly every scene from the book also has an acknowledgment — in the form of a thank-you or an illustration — of the first responders who attended the emergencies.

“That meant a lot to me,” said Danielle. “Our first responders hold our world together.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, when asked what she wants to be when she grows up Karolee responds “An artist … or a cop.”

Karolee wants to use her local fame for a good cause. She has turned one of the most touching images from the book into a sticker, which she hoped to sell to raise funds for those most impacted from the quakes.

Fortunately, the Bertrand family found a sponsor for the stickers. They are printing them en masse to sell for the fund-raising concert at the fairgrounds this weekend. (See related story: http://www.news-ridgecrest.com/news/story.pl?id=0000010315).

Karolee’s book can be viewed (among other places) on the News Review’s Facebook page (https://tinyurl.com/yxskaqlg).

Pictured: Karolee Bertrand proudly holds a fund-raising sticker based on one of the illustrations in her book — Photo by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2019-08-02