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Covid-19 Books for Children

cover artWith no kids in the house for a long time, I can only imagine how difficult it is for parents with small children in these days. The first day my friend’s kids were back in school last week, I got a text saying TIME TO CHAT. Did that mean it’s time, I have time, or asking me if I have time? All of the above, as I found out.

It must have been quite a challenge to keep the kids occupied at home for over a year while encouraging (and begging) them to do homework and explaining (and apologizing for) the situation. I believe more questions are bound to come from now on. I don’t envy teachers either, who would teach classes online to the entire family (kids, mommy, daddy, grandma, grandpa, the dog, the cat, and the occasional goldfish, as my elementary school teacher sister pointed out the other day). Now they will have to answer questions about the pandemic, too, in the classroom.

Despite struggling just as much as any other sector, the publishing industry rose to the occasion to help. Not only did many publishers commission experts to write on pandemic-related topics, but some made their published titles geared toward children freely downloadable.

cover artOne of the children’s books I recently discovered, Coronavirus and Covid: A book for children about the pandemic, written by Elizabeth Jenner, Nia Roberts, Kate Wilson & Axel Scheffler, is actually an already-revised edition. It was published by an independent children’s publishing company in the United Kingdom, Nosy Crow, with a focus on books for children aged from 0 to 12. Interestingly, it was not the English-language edition that caught my attention, but the one translated into my native Hungarian and published on the same day as the revised English version – and then, thanks to a Hungarian librarians’ Facebook group, popularized widely .

The impressive list of its international editions includes other versions of English, such as US English and Indian English along with several nearby languages, which points out the significance of “localization” vs. “translation.” Each and every version of this book, similarly to to software localization, had to consider multiple local factors other than the language. A true challenge in this world of challenges.

What I especially loved about the Hungarian edition is that the translator and editor really went out of their way to make the downloadable pdf meaningful and relevant to Hungarian audiences, children and parents alike. At the end of the book there is a list of curated Hungarian Covid-19 resources for children and adults, including helplines, both secular and religious.

Although Rutgers University Libraries do not focus on collecting children’s books, there is a small, representative sample in the International Youth Literature Collection at Alexander Library, which might be of interest to Rutgers parents of young children.

A few free resources on Covid-19 we liked are as follows.

  • An article from Huffington Post offers a selection of 37 children’s books related to Covid-19 from the perspective of their target audiences. These titles represent a wide variety of audiences, topics, questions, and answers, a great resource for any parent to any situation.
  • Books to Help Kids Cope with COVID-19 from the American Psychology Association features two titles: A Kid’s Guide to Coronavirus written by Rebecca Growe, MSW, LCSW, and Julia Martin Burch, PhD (Free download in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian) and Unstuck! 10 Things to Do to Stay Safe and Sane During the Pandemic written by Bonnie Zucker, PsyD (Free download in English and Spanish).
  • A collection of free eBooks in multiple languages for children about the Coronavirus from the New York City School Library System is actually organized in a LibGuide, which also invites authors of open access books to contribute.
  • A new children’s book entitled Dr. Fauci: How a Boy from Brooklyn Became America’s Doctor, written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Alexandra Bye, is scheduled for release on June 29, 2021.

Finally, the COVID-19 Information Resources guide from our colleagues at RBHS is a comprehensive resource for adults.