As we go into our second year of living in a pandemic, we are more fully equipped to understand how isolation and lockdown measures increase anxiety around COVID-19. We know it can be especially hard for children to understand what is happening.
They may have questions about why they can’t go outside, why they haven’t seen their friends or grandparents, or why they have to change their behaviour to protect themselves and their family.
A number of books have been published to help children understand the situation and their role in slowing the spread of the virus. Three of these books are highlights below, and the International Children’s Palliative Care Network has a further list in the COVID-19 section of their website.
The Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (IASC MHPSS RG), has published My Hero is You, Storybook for Children on COVID-19. The Reference Group surveyed children, parents, teachers and caregivers in 104 countries to assess children’s mental health and psychosocial needs during the COVID-19 outbreak. They developed the book based on the results of this survey.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, have produced a Coronavirus colouring book to help children understand the virus. The colouring book also helps to open the conversation between parents and caregivers and their children, as the children bring their finished pictures to show them.
Children’s author and illustrator, Ana Gomez, has created a beautiful book titled The Story of the Oyster and the Butterfly: The Coronavirus and Me. In this book, information for children about COVID-19 is presented in a beautifully illustrated and engaging story. It provides space and prompts for children to draw, write, talk about or act their feelings in a constructive way.
These books and others like them help to address psychosocial themes that children may be dealing with in an accessible, fun, and even beautiful way. You can download the books for free using the links above, or visit the COVID-19 resources page on the ICPCN website.
Image: Cover page of The Story of the Oyster and the Butterfly: The Coronavirus and Me by Ana Gomez
This article was originally published in ehospice in April 2020.