The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it a whole new set of anxieties. And if it’s been a scary time for us adults, it can only be yet more frightening for children. Several writers and illustrators around the world have put together children’s books to make sense of it for young people. And best of all, most of the books are free to access and read.
Several books about the virus have been published.
Athol Williams, lecturer at the University of Cape Town along with illustrator management consultant Taryn Lock work together on the Oaky picture book series. When the coronavirus hit, Williams and Lock worked on a special Oaky and the Virus book. The book is accompanied by a YouTube video which is a special song for children. The book is available for download and in many different languages.
Research communication specialists Jive Media Africa along with the United Nations have put together a series of comics titled Hay’khona. The comics address a number of issues including the correct manner of washing hands and the importance of social distancing. It’s also available in many languages.
Special mention: former Daily Vox cartoonist, Nath Ngubane and Daily Vox co-founder Azad Essa have worked on a story, Duma Says. The book is specifically focused on bringing information to the most vulnerable children living in informal settlements. Featuring Duma, his sister Zihle and their friends, the book centers on the children as they try to make sense of the pandemic. The book which has been endorsed by the department of health and basic education is available in many languages. It is free to download.
From Rwanda Nabu, a team and community who believe that access to literacy is a foundational right have created a set of books. The books all aim to reinforce the important public health messages around the virus, while at the same reassuring children and combatting any feelings of anxiety. The books are all available to download and they’re available in several different languages. Check them out here.
Ubuntu Children’s story is from Algeria. Published in May 202, the book is centered around Ayo who has a lot of questions around the coronavirus. Her parents help her answer some of these questions such as why she isn’t allowed to go to school and why she can’t visit her grandmother. Check out the story here.
United States of America
Samantha Harris, Devon Scott and Harriet Rodis have penned a book, Why We Stay Home. Harris and Scott are medical students from California. Using their knowledge, their story features siblings Suzie and Miller. Miller, the older sibling explains to Suzie why they are staying home from school. The book is available in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.
A Message from Corona by Charity Tedder and Leighton Noyes is an informative read for young children. It can be read to young children or self-read by ages six-seven. The book and complementary interactive puzzles are free to download. People are free to donate and contribute to the book with funds raised from donations will support the health service in the UK.
Other books from the UK are: Staying Home, Coronavirus: a book for children, and ?The Book of Hopes: Words and Pictures to Comfort, Inspire and Entertain Children in Lockdown.
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