Five-year-old Novella Knight of Fairbanks wants to be “a helper” when she grows up. So she decided to make a video telling people how to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
Her compassionate “I’m serious” approach caught the eye of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and logged 17,000 views in two days, including by Trudeau, members of the Canadian parliament, and others from around the world.
Novella’s name is a combination of Nova and Ella, and she goes by the shortened version “Nova,” according to her mother, Rebecca Knight.
Her grandmother lives in Canada, and this all started because Nova happened to watch a video of Trudeau thanking children for their courage and perseverance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“She just sat up a little bit taller and got a big smile on her face,” Knight said. “She said, ‘Mom, I’m gonna watch that video every day so I can remember what to do.”
Nova then decided she wanted to make a video of her own. She has a little experience at this, thanks to her uncle. “He travels a lot and eats weird” foods,” Knight said. The uncle helped his preschooler niece start making her own videos of food she eats so that they could share videos.
Nova asked her mother to send the virus video to everyone she knows. Her message in the 40-second video is very serious.
“I’m sorry if you can’t go to your play dates,” she says in the video. “Don’t go anywhere. And wash your hands. I’m serious.”
Watching the video every day is a good reminder, she points out.
“I’m really, really serious, so you should do this video every single day. That will keep your body safe.”
Nova’s grandmother tweeted her granddaughter’s video as a reply to the prime minister’s tweet urging children to stay home and got an immediate response.
“What a great reminder,’ Justin Trudeau wrote back to Nova’s grandmother. “Thanks for sharing this video, Cindy. Please let your granddaughter know I’m glad she’s helping to spread the word. I hope everyone listens to her advice and remembers to wash their hands and stay home. Because she’s right — that’s how we’ll all stay safe.”
Others responded, too, including representatives from the World Health Organization.
When Knight shared some of the responses with Nova, the 5-year-old “felt so proud of herself,” she said, telling her mother, “Look at all the people I’m helping.”
So she decided to make a second video.
“I need to do one more,” she told her mother. “I think they don’t know how serious I am.”
In her second video, she demonstrates how to correctly wash your hands. The water must be “not too hot, not too cold.”
Sven Spengemann, a member of Canada’s Parliament, saw the video and wrote, “YES! Nova, thank you so much for this awesome and very helpful video. Everyone please, #WashYourHands and let’s work to make sure people around the world have access to hand washing facilities.”
“She has a really big compassionate heart,” her mother said.
Nova is starting to zero in on her future career. Now, she may work on becoming an emergency room doctor.
“She says she wants to help in emergencies.”
Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris