ST. LOUIS — Christen Jeschke’s sister was terrified of cicadas as a child, however, Jeschke was quite the opposite at just six years old. Inspired to ease fears of children and adults about insects, she went on to write a children’s book.

This comes as billions of the 13-year cicadas in Brood XIX are expected to return to the region in May. Parts of the country will also experience both the annual cicadas and the return of the 17-year cicadas in Brood XIII.

The children’s book “Cicadas Don’t Bug Me” is one of a few of its kind. It incorporates rhymes, facts and actual photos of cicadas.

“Photographs of actual cicadas are very important because then children can see what they’re meeting outside,” Jeschke said.

“They know what the cicadas look like. They know that cicadas have five eyes; they can identify their wings; and I think that’s very exciting, but important for children.”

Jeschke is no stranger to the writing process, being a lifelong writer and the vice president of a publishing company.                                                                                   

“I decided to write in a rhyming style so that children would easily remember it. The book is teasing in tone, but it teaches children about cicadas and then it also gives them fun cicada facts,” she said.

“They learn throughout the journey of the book about cicadas, but also about why they don’t need to be afraid of the cicadas.”

Jeschke created the book a few years ago, after a failed attempt at preparing her own children about cicadas. In 2021, Jeschke and her children moved from Nixa, Mo., to Washington D.C., right before the return of the Brood X cicadas in the eastern part of the U.S.

“They ended up being just terrified when I told them about it,” she said. “They were talking about wanting to fortify the home and mentioned Medieval weaponry, and all of these other things because they were scared.”

Since the launch of the book, Jeschke said the response has been “overwhelmingly wonderful.”

“Many parents have told me that children have memorized the book and say lines from it all around their house,” she said. “Or that their children were scared initially and are not scared now.”

Some parents have told Jeschke they had always been afraid of cicadas and after reading the book, they began to interact with the insects.

“Parents themselves have never been educated about cicadas,” Jeschke said. “They kind of pass that anxiety to their children. This book has been able to open up a dialogue and discussion between parents and children to promote fascination instead of fear.”

While putting the book together, Jeschke said she learned many new facts herself.

“One thing that I found funny and interesting is that cicadas are popular as a specialty or novelty food item,” she said. “Although that doesn’t sound like something that I would want to sample, it is very interesting. They even make cicada ice cream.”

Jeschke also mentioned people have eaten fried cicadas and have dipped them in chocolate.

To learn more about cicadas, the children’s book can be purchased on Amazon and through the Barnes & Noble website