HINSDALE, Ill. (CBS) — As we all prepare for Illinois to re-open fully, ponder this – we’ve lived through the pandemic and now have stories to tell for the rest of our lives.

Hundreds of children in Hinsdale are now sharing their stories. CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas on Monday showed us how they are helping to document a remarkable period.

READ MORE: Oak Park And River Forest High School Ban On Activities Due To COVID Outbreak Sparks Outrage

Their words range from poignant to poetic.

“It was a time of chaos and confusion,” read eighth grader Harice Smajkic.

“The sun faded away and darkness slowly covered the sky,” said eighth grader Nate Lin.

Some of the thoughts are positive.

“We love our essential workers. They deserve some burgers,” read seventh grader Greta Dannhausen-Brun.

But others are painful.

“Going through each day hoping we aren’t next; hoping we won’t have to say goodbye,” said seventh grader Aanya Shah.

READ MORE: Parents Of Michigan School Shooter Arrested And Charged After Manhunt

A book tells the story of 2020 through the eyes of 240 kids – all from Hinsdale’s District 181. They wrote and drew the book over the past six months with the help of teachers like Nancy Gadzala.

“We are concerned right now about the mental health of the children with COVID and what a better way to express themselves than with art,” Gadzala said.

The kids tell stories of cancelled sporting events, more time at home with their families, masks, and social distancing. Whether they realized it or not they were living through history.

That is why the district has teamed with the Hinsdale Historical Society to create an exhibit based on the book.

“They’re going to have this when they’re 30 years old, and they’ll be able look at back at it and say, ‘Look what I did during this trying time,’” said sixth grader Heather Scott.

Next fall, every student in 181 could be back in person.

“Months later, we learn the vaccine is on its way,” read Harice. “When it finally comes, it’s a really good day.”

And of course, these kids will be happy to leave this pandemic in the past – a story for the history books, and a story they helped write.

MORE NEWS: 12 Family Members Diagnosed With COVID-19 After Attending Milwaukee Wedding, 5 With Omicron Variant

The exhibit will be at Immanuel Hall in Hinsdale starting June 16. As for the books, they’re being sold for $25 each.

Tim McNicholas