We are in month 9 of Covid-19 and I think all of us are ready to kick it to the curb. If only it was that easy! Early on, people started writing books to help get kids of all ages through this pandemic. The bulk around about wearing masks, but there are also a number about germs and about anxiety. There are probably many more out there, but here are a few that I have found.
We Wear Masks is a simple picture book that shows all of the different reasons that people wear masks – protection from fumes and dust, air when flying or diving, performances, etc. The point, which is explained about half-way through, is that masks are not hard to wear and they have a variety of uses. This picture book works as a way to normalize the idea of wearing masks. As it blatantly explains at the end of the book, wearing a mask means that you care about the people around you. Thank you to NetGalley and Orca Press for a digital review copy, all opinions are my own. (Ages 4-8)
With rollicking, rhyming fun, Do Not Let Your Dragon Spread Germs shines by having the kids be in charge and being the ones to teach their dragons how to behave. This is a very fun way to make our new normal truly normal. To keep ourselves and others protected, the kids in this story tell their dragons, and their readers, to wash their hands, stop touching their faces, and wear a mask! The dragons have comical reactions to keep the story silly and upbeat. Gassman also touches on the social and emotional aspects of the Covid virus. Children are struggling with a ton of anxiety right now and the dragons are a way to have those fears heard. When the kids have finished explaining everything to their dragons, the dragons express that talking about germs and new rules is scaring them. To help soothe nerves, our healthy leaders say that all of these precautions help the dragons and their friends stay healthy so that they can continue to have fun. A great, upbeat story that touches on a lot of aspects. Thank you to NetGalley and Capstone Editions for a digital review copy of this title that releases on 1/21/21, all opinions are my own. (Ages 4-8)
One big frustration to kids and adults everywhere is quarantining. It’s boring. It feel like the same day over and over again. We miss our friends. Covid-19 Helpers addresses that frustration by showing kids that they are helpers who are fighting Covid simply by staying home. We are introduced to many essential workers from healthcare workers to garbage collectors and truck drivers. This is one of the few books that also tries to explain Covid to young readers. One great spread is of air droplets spreading and it illustrates how the droplets are concentrated around groups but that “when fewer people get together, fewer droplets fill the air.” This book was sponsored by Emory Global Health Institute and the story itself won 1st place out of 260 entries for a children’s book about Covid. There is also back matter about Covid-19 with facts and ways to avoid getting it. Thank you to NetGalley and Blair Publishing for a digital review copy, all opinions are my own. (Ages 4-8)
Another early book written to help normalize mask wearing is Lucy’s Mask. In this book, Lucy is stuck at home and bored. She wants her mom to play with her, but mom is busy making Lucy a mask. This sparks Lucy’s imagination about all of the different kinds of masks that people can wear and the adventures that you can have. When done with the mask, her mom explains that this is a special kind of mask that makes Lucy a special kind of superhero, one who can help save herself and others from germs.
The quarantine has been a growing experience for all of us and I think it has come to make us respect and value some of our essential workers more than before. That newfound respect has even inspired a book – Sincerely, Emerson: A Girl, Her Letter, and the Helpers All Around Us. Emerson Weber, an eleven year old girl in South Dakota, wrote a thank you letter to her mail man, it got shared with many more in the postal service, and the whole thing went viral with the girl receiving tons of thank you letters from postal workers across the country. I haven’t been able to see this book yet as it is being published December 8th, but it has gotten a great deal of press and looks great. It is a reminder to all of us to thank the people who make everything possible but do so quietly and often behind the scenes. Imagine what it would be like without postal carriers, UPS drivers, line cooks, and everyone who keeps our grocery stores stocked.
Middle grade readers will enjoy The Case of the Covid Crisis by Dr. Penny Noyce. This book is a part of a series called the Galactic Academy of Sciences, which aims to use literature to explain scientific issues and information. The story follows Mae and Clinton, two middle schoolers and special recruits of the academy. The two travel through space and time to learn more about epidemics and about Covid. “From Africa to Colonial America to Bangladesh, studying measles, capturing bats, tracking the 1918 flu and more, this is an action-packed and informative adventure in the math and science of epidemics.” Their final interview is with Dr. Fauci himself. What is great about this book is how it makes studying these epidemics interesting and kids can have similar “aha” moments along with Clinton and Mae. I wasn’t sure of this one when I first started reading it, but once the pair went back in time and learned about other epidemics I was fascinated. This is a great resource for middle grade readers. Thank you to Dr. Noyce and Tumblehome Books for a review copy, all opinions are my own. (Age 8-12)
Tweens and teens will enjoy The Only Book a Kid Needs to Read About Coronavirus Ever. This book, written by Dr. S.G. Jack, looks to be the first in a series of books about the human body written in a somewhat tongue in cheek fashion. Full of comical cartoons, interesting facts, and written in a style that is appealing to a teen audience, this is a great resource for kids to learn some of the more scientific details about the Coronavirus and viruses in general. (Age 12+)