Although children around the world are so far less severely affected by covid-19, their lives are being upset by the virus in other ways. Millions of school-goers have suddenly been forced to reckon with virtual classrooms. Social distancing norms demand that they stay home, away from friends, loved ones, playgrounds. Their daily regimen is made tougher by injunctions to wash hands, sneeze and cough into tissues or elbows, and rebukes for touching the face. As parental patience wears thin and children are at their wits’ end, these four books, published speedily in the last few days and available to download for free, may keep children and their caregivers usefully occupied and entertained.
Available in five Indian languages on https://storyweaver.org.in
Coronavirus—A Book For Children (Nosy Crow): Illustrated by Axel Scheffler, this elegantly designed book is distributed by HarperCollins in India. Written with the advice of Graham Medley, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, two teachers, and a child psychologist, it gives a detailed introduction to the novel coronavirus. From explaining what a virus is to the modes of transmission to how a vaccine can help fix the problem—this is an excellent handbook for caregivers struggling to give meaningful answers to the questions their wards are hurling at them 24×7.
Available on https://harpercollins.co.in/product/coronavirus-a-book-for-children/
The Mystery Of The Missing Soap (Katha): Written by Geeta Dharmarajan, with art by Suddhasattwa Basu and Charbak Dipta, this is a hygiene manual-cum-DIY safety kit-cum-adventure story. The land of Dakshinpur, ruled by the kind sarpanch (leader) Jayant, is in dire straits as the residents have run out of soap. It is part of a conspiracy hatched by the evil GermaAsura, who wants his Coronavirus Army to attack Dakshinpur. Their goal is to establish the reign of Tobakchi, the wicked Asura, over the people. Can the supergirls of Dakshinpur come to the rescue and create soaps at home?
Visit https://books.katha.org to know the answer
My Hero Is You—How Kids Can Fight COVID-19! (WHO et al): A global effort by over 50 humanitarian organizations (from the World Health Organization to the UN Children’s Fund to Save the Children), this heartwarming project is based on a survey of 1,700 children, parents, caregivers and teachers. It tells the story of the pandemic through a fairy tale aimed at children between the ages of 6-11, written and illustrated by Helen Patuck. Told through the point of view of a girl called Sara, the story explains the measures needed to control covid-19 but goes beyond, engaging with the psychological costs of the pandemic on children. There is also a gentle dragon called Ario who may be a comforting presence for readers.
Available on https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/09-04-2020-children-s-story-book-released-to-help-children-and-young-people-cope-with-covid-19
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