With schools shut and families on lockdown indoors, the coronavirus crisis can be confusing for kids – and that’s why Grufallo illustrator Axel Scheffler has teamed up with experts to create a free book to explain it.
Coronavirus: A Book for Children aims to answer all the burning questions that kids aged five to nine years old will have been pestering parents with over the last few weeks.
The book draws on the knowledge of Professor Graham Medley of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to answer what the virus is, how you catch it, the measures used to tackle it and more to put kids’ minds at rest.
Helping children understand what is going on is an important step in helping them cope and making them part of the story
Scheffler adds the drawings to the digital book, which publisher Nosy Crow has made free to download now.
Staff from the publisher penned the book and also consulted with two head teachers and a child psychologist to help break down the global crisis for youngsters.
Scheffler insisted that it was vital that children “had access to good and reliable information”.
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The Gruffalo penciller said: “I asked myself what I could do as a children’s illustrator to inform, as well as entertain, my readers here and abroad. So I was glad when my publisher, Nosy Crow, asked me to illustrate this question-and-answer book about the coronavirus.
“I think it is extremely important for children and families to have access to good and reliable information in this unprecedented crisis, and I hope that the popularity of the books I’ve done with Julia Donaldson will ensure that this digital book will reach many children who are now slightly older, but might still remember our picture books.”
Professor Medley added: “This pandemic is changing children’s lives across the globe and will have a lasting impact on us all. Helping children understand what is going on is an important step in helping them cope and making them part of the story – this is something that we are all going through, not something being done to them. This book puts children in the picture rather just watching it happen, and in a way that makes the scary parts easier to cope with.”
The book is available free of charge now for anyone who wants to read it. But Nosy Crow is asking for those who are available to make a donation to help NHS workers battling the coronavirus if they find the book useful.
Kate Wilson, Nosy Crow managing director, said: “We were very aware that many parents and carers are struggling to explain the current extraordinary situation to children, many of whom are frightened and confused. We thought that the best thing we could do would be to use our skills to produce a free book to explain and, where possible, reassure children.”
It’s not the first time that children’s books have grappled with difficult subjects. Last year The Big Issue spoke to Kate Milner, who used the genre to introduce kids to foodbanks with It’s a No-Money Day.
You can download Coronavirus: A Book for Children here