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35 Books To Help Young Kids Make Sense Of The Pandemic And Its Isolating Effects

Explaining things to kids in terms they understand plays a huge role in allaying any fears or worries, and books are a huge help. Books to explain COVID and the lockdown.

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Explaining things to kids in terms they understand plays a huge role in allaying any fears or worries, and books are a huge help. Books to explain COVID and the lockdown.

The world as we know it changed almost overnight in March 2020, and we were locked into our own homes. It wasn’t easy for anyone. And just as we thought things were changing for the better in early 2021, everything went downhill. Especially for us in India, when the 2nd wave of COVID hit. And hit hard.

And the biggest casualty, in my humble opinion are children, not just those who lost parents and caretakers.

Children are not meant to sit at home, closeted in relative safety, in front of screens either for education or for entertainment while their beleaguered parents attend office meetings! Children are meant to go out and play. To be free birds and learn from simple pleasures of running around, climbing, digging in sandpits, chatting with friends, playing impromptu games, going for playdates or fun activities,… my list could go on. Even older kids in their tweens or teens aren’t meant to be sequestered away from their friends and gangs and just socializing, even if so many seem to be sharing a hip bone with their phones these days.

Our children are, and will be the greatest casualties of this forced house arrest. This is certain to stunt their lives in ways we cannot even begin to imagine. How do we even help them make sense of the world as it seems to be for some more years at least?

(Yes, I am a pessimist. At least a realist with a medical background, and I don’t think COVID is going away in a hurry.)

Being a bookish person, of course I looked online for help. And I came across these gems. Some of these are expensive, but there are some more affordable. I would highly recommend these to anyone and everyone above the age of 5. Yes, adults too, can read, enjoy, and benefit from picture books.

Understanding the pandemic, lockdown, and social distancing

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by Tomos Roberts (Author), Nomoco (Illustrator)

A post-pandemic bedtime tale that has captured the hearts of millions. First performed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Tomos Roberts’ Inspiring poem, with its message of hope and resilience, has been viewed over 60 million times and translated into over 20 languages worldwide.

Buy it here.

In The Year 2020

by Dani Quattrone (Author), Ash Agnite (Illustrator)

A fictional children’s book that takes place in Lucia, an animal world , where the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic serves as a catalyst to bring everyone together to work on eradicating the virus and solving many of the other pressing issues that our world is facing.

Buy it here, free on Kindle Unlimited.

When the World Went Quiet

by Tia Martina (Author), Kelly Ulrich (Illustrator)

During the global pandemic in early 2020, stories of wildlife showing up in unexpected places began to emerge. From foxes cavorting in gardens to geese sunbathing in Israel, these stories invited us to take pause, gaze with wonder, and enjoy the whimsy of seeing creatures explore what was previously primarily a human habitat.

Buy it here.

Outside, Inside

by LeUyen Pham (Author)

Something strange happened in 2020, just before the seasons changed. Everyone who was outside, went inside. Outside, it was quieter and different. Inside, we laughed, we cried, we baked, we exercised, we kept in touch… and we grew. We remembered to protect the ones we love and love the ones who protect us. We watched with admiration and respect as key workers risked their own wellbeing to help others. We knew that the seasons would change, and spring would come again.

Buy it here.

Friends Behind Walls

by Harshikaa Udasi (Author)

Putti is spending his summer vacation in Deolali and he thinks life is going to be fun with his new friend Inu. But with their parents FORBIDDING them from playing with each other, the two kids are flabbergasted. Flab-ber-gas-ted. Means shocked. Nothing to do with food and farts.

Now the two of them have decided to find out why.

Buy it here.

Why Did the Whole World Stop?

by Heather Black (Author)

Children ask a lot of questions. Some are easy to answer, others are tricky, especially when it comes to a social distancing, disrupted schedules, and a viral pandemic. This book relates to the changes that the Covid-19 outbreak brought to many people, both children and adults, around the world.

Buy it here.

When the World Closed

by E E Thorgaard (Author), J Shapiro (Illustrator)

Empowers children aged 5-9 years to navigate their feelings and reignite their imaginations during the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns, lockdowns, and quarantines.

Buy it here.

When The World Went Dark

by Jane De Suza (Author)

Feel the almost-nine-year-old Swara’s heart break as she loses her favourite person ever, Pitter Paati. Swara pursues clues to find her, but stumbles upon a crime instead. VExpectedly, no one believes her. Will Swara and her VAnnoying friends from the detective squad find the Ruth of the Matter in time?

Told with humour and sparkle, this compassionate story is about finding light in the darkest times of our lives. It packs in an intriguing mystery and even a good belly laugh. (Wait, is it OK to laugh?)

Buy it here.

Jamlo Walks

by Samina Mishra (Author)

The world has stood still. The streets lie empty and schools are closed. All work has dried up and people keep whispering the word ‘corona’ all the time. Jamlo walks down a long and hot road, alongside hundreds of other men and women and children whom Tara sees on TV. Jamlo walks as Rahul watches the streets turn quiet.

Jamlo walks and walks in a world that needs to be kind and just and equal.

Buy it here.

The Day My Kids Stayed Home

by Adam M Wallace (Author), Adam Riong (Illustrator), Valentina T Segovia (Editor)

Things are scarier when we don’t understand them. The first half of the book is a kid’s book that tells the story of two puppies learning about COVID-19; the second half is meant for adults and is a short explanation of what is happening and what we can do about it.

Buy it here.

Together: Living Life During COVID-19

by Kevin Poplawski (Author), Michael Rausch (Illustrator)

Olivia’s parents told her she doesn’t have to go to school. Woohoo! But, she soon finds out it is because of a new virus called COVID-19 and she is confused as to why she can’t go to school, visit friends or see her grandma. She must understand why and figure out the best way to get through this tough time!

Buy it here.

The Day the Lines Changed

by Kelley Donner (Author) 

Without ever saying “Coronavirus” or “Pandemic,” The Day the Lines Changed explains what it means to live through a viral outbreak and gives children a much needed, optimistic view of the future. Through the use of ripped paper and basic shapes, Kelley Donner takes a frightening and complicated pandemic and turns it into an uplifting, easily understandable story about the life of a green line…

Buy it here, free on Kindle Unlimited.

The Unwelcome Stranger: COVID-19

by Drew Edwards (Author), Taylor Tomu (Author), Nandi Fernandez (Illustrator)

During these unprecedented times, it’s difficult to explain how our current circumstances affect individuals from diverse backgrounds. This book is a great resource to illustrate our current complex and unique circumstances.

Buy it here.

What is Coronavirus and COVID-19?

Germ Academy

by Rea Malhotra Mukhtyar (Author)

Covie’s the baddest of the baddies. Trained by evil masterminds at The Germ Academy, he won’t stop causing havoc until he’s the World’s Best Infection and nothing’s coming in his way! …or so he thinks.

Enter The Soap Squad.

Buy it here.

V For Vaccine: A One-shot Introduction to Vaccines!

by HarperCollins India (Editor)

What is a vaccine? How is it made? Does it hurt to get a vaccine?

Find out the answers to these questions and more in V for Vaccine – your one-shot introduction to vaccination! Learn more about who invented the first vaccine, whether animals can get vaccines too, and other ways to build immunity and stay healthy. You can even create your very own vaccine card!

Buy it here.

COVID-19 For Kids

by Catherine Cheung (Author), Elvin Too (Author), Christy Johnson (Illustrator)

Answer the most important questions children have: What is COVID-19 and why is it such a big deal? How can I catch the coronavirus? What happens if I get it? What can I do to reduce my risk of getting infected? What is my role in reducing its spread?

Buy it here.

Coronavirus: a Book for Children

by Elizabeth Jenner (Author), Kate Wilson (Author), Nia Roberts (Author), Axel Scheffler (Illustrator) 

The book answers key questions in simple language appropriate for 5 to 9 year olds: What is the coronavirus? How do you catch the coronavirus? What happens if you catch the coronavirus? Why are people worried about catching the coronavirus? Is there a cure for the coronavirus? Why are some places we normally go to closed? What can I do to help? What’s going to happen next?

Buy it here and the read the free, updated 2021 Kindle edition here.

When Virona the Corona Came to Town

by Hailey Glynn (Author)

Readers follow the main character, MaryEllen, through a story that details experiences during the Corona Virus pandemic. The goal of this story is to shed light on a time of uncertainty and fear in a child-friendly way.

Buy it here, free on Kindle Unlimited.

Dealing with online school and life

Good Morning, Zoom

by Lindsay Rechler (Author), June Park (Illustrator)

Good Morning Zoom takes the reader on a lyrical journey through our ‘new normal’. From ‘Zoom school’, to watching doctors and nurses on TV, to building pillow forts and talking to loved ones from a distance, this poignant book reminds us that there are still things to enjoy and be excited about in these unprecedented times.

Buy it here.

Good Night, Zoom: A Pandemic Parody

by Amber Ankowski (Illustrator), Sammy Ankowski (Illustrator), Andy Ankowski (Author)

Goodnight Zoom is the faithful parody of an illustrated children’s classic for anyone who knows what it’s like living in lockdown. Funny, relatable and honest, award-winning ad man and parenting author Andy Ankowski’s take on life during the coronavirus quarantine serves as a time capsule for the moment the world was asked to stay at home, and the new normal that soon followed.

Buy it here.

Virtual Learning Dragon

by Steve Herman (Author)

You have a pet dragon. But what happens if one day schools are closed due to the virus pandemic, and your dragon has to do virtual / distance learning? What if virtual learning is too hard for him? What if he doesn’t want to do his virtual classwork? What if he’s easily distracted, or if he goes to the kitchen too often?

What should you do?

Buy it here.

The Very Tired and Hungry Pandemic Mommy

by Humor Heals Us (Author) 

A bedtime book for parents who live in the real world, where balancing remote working and distance learning with the kids offer its own challenges.

Buy it here.

School Is Different This Year And That’s OK!

by Julie Bair (Author), Susan Leininger (Author), Claudio Icuza (Illustrator) 

Navigating through both in-school and remote-learning experiences in a way that both children and parents can relate.

Buy it here.

Mask up, stay home, and stay safe!

Dragon’s Mask

by Steve Herman (Author)

Remember that dragon you have? How do you teach your dragon to wear a mask to help prevent the spread of germs and viruses during the pandemic?

Buy it here.

When I Wear My Mask

by Tali Carmi (Author), Dani Silas (Translator)

Just like countless children around the world, little Abigail misses her Grandma and Grandpa. Finally, one day, she can visit Grandma and Grandpa at last! But on one condition – she has to cover her face with a mask.

Abigail has many masks and when she wears them, she can imagine herself to be anything she wants.

Buy it here, free on Kindle Unlimited.

A Little SPOT Stays Home: A Story About Viruses And Safe Distancing

by Diane Alber (Author)

Why do we have to stay home ? What is safe distancing? Why can’t we see our friends? How can we stay safe?

A story that is easy to understand and provides education, gratitude, and hope. It empowers young children, to take action and helps them to understand viruses and why remaining home and safe distancing is both important and necessary right now.

Buy it here, free on Kindle Unlimited.

Goodnight COVID-19: A Pandemic Parody Edition

by Rachael Ellison (Author), Kimberly Bradford (Illustrator)

Sometimes a little laughter is just what we need during a global pandemic. Goodnight COVID-19 brings humor to the unique shared experience of families with young children during this unprecedented and crazy time.

Buy it here, free on Kindle Unlimited.

When We Stayed Home

by Lmft Tara Fass (Author), Judith Proffer (Author), Yoko Matsuoka (Author)

With whimsical illustrations and relatable prose, When We Stayed Home helps young children navigate all of their great big feelings and cheer themselves on during the upheaval of pandemic, honouring their role as the “super-helpers” they are by washing their hands, wearing masks, social distancing and staying home.

Buy it here.

Billie and the Brilliant Bubble

by Tara Travieso (Author), Bazma Ahmad (Illustrator) 

Billie and the Brilliant Bubble simplifies the concept of social distancing to help families teach their children the importance of social distancing.

Buy it here.

Germs vs Soap

by Didi Dragon (Author), Hannah Robinett (Illustrator) 

Getting kids to wash their hands is no easy task. To kids, handwashing can seem annoying, boring, and even pointless-their hands don’t look dirty! Enter Germs vs. Soap

Buy it here.

Giving hugs and hoping for the best

I Love You

by Michael Ross (Author), Bruno Iradukunda (Illustrator)

Helps children cope with the emotional impact of not being able to visit their elderly relatives. Touching on the the global nature of COVID-19 it helps kids understand that this situation is affecting children all over the world no matter their age, skin colour or the language that they speak.

Buy it here.

If You Can’t Bear Hug, Air Hug

by Katie Sedmak (Author)

An uplifting book of rhymes for children that explores the creative ways animals might show affection while socially distancing and delivers a reassuring message of love and resilience.

Buy it here, free on Kindle Unlimited.

Windows

by Patrick Guest (Author), Jonathan Bentley (Illustrator)

Perfect for children of all ages, this heartfelt story opens the curtains on the story of how we can all feel together even when we are far apart.

Buy it here.

While We Can’t Hug

by Eoin McLaughlin (Author), Polly Dunbar (Illustrator) 

The bestselling and heart-warming picture book that shows us ways to be affectionate while social distancing, from the team behind The Hug.

Buy it here, or for Rs 99 on Kindle.

And the People Stayed Home

by Kitty O’Meara (Author)

O’Meara’s thoughtful poem about the pandemic, quarantine, and the future suggests there is meaning to be found in our shared experience of the coronavirus and conveys an optimistic message about the possibility of profound healing for people and the planet. Her words encourage us to look within, listen deeply, and connect with ourselves and the earth in order to heal.

Buy it here.

Header image source: Wavebreakmedia from Getty Images Free with Canva Pro and book covers from Amazon

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About the Author

sandhya renukamba

In her role as the Senior Editor & Community Manager at Women's Web, Sandhya Renukamba is fortunate to associate every day with a whole lot of smart and fabulous writers and readers. A doctor read more...

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