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Wednesday Apr 15 2020
Web Desk

COVID-19: Illustrious books answer children’s questions about mysterious contagion

Web Desk
An illustration from “My Hero Is You” a children’s storybook about COVID-19, illustrated by Helen Patuck.

With almost everything standing at halt amid the coronavirus lockdown, publishers and nonprofits around the world are releasing new children’s books free of charge, with an aim to impart education about coronavirus to house-bound children while answering their curious questions about the mysterious contagion.

According to a news report published in The New York Times, books are being made available as downloads and through free e-reading platforms like World Reader, a nonprofit that provides e-books to disadvantaged readers in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Central and South America.

The group’s growing collection of coronavirus-themed titles includes picture books about the importance of hand washing, illustrated stories and a graphic novel about children trying to cope during the pandemic, as well as straightforward reference materials about COVID-19.

Also read: Social distancing may be needed until 2022 to stop the spread of coronavirus: study

One of the books, named ‘My Hero Is You’, which is targeting 6- to 11-year-olds, was developed in collaboration with multiple humanitarian organisations, including the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Children’s Fund and Save the Children, the publication added.

In “My Hero Is You,” an illustrated book by Helen Patuck, a girl named Sara lies in bed at night, feeling scared and helpless. She misses seeing friends and going to school. As she drifts off, a dragon appears, and they fly all over the world together on a shared mission: teaching children how to keep themselves and their families safe from the novel coronavirus.

“Sometimes the most important thing we can do as friends is protect each other,” the dragon tells a group of children. “Even if that means staying away from each other for a while.”

Also read: Misery, pain and grief as stranded British-Pakistanis appeal for help

With countries across the globe on lockdown and public life at a standstill, more than 1.5 billion children are out of school, many of them cast into educational limbo, according to a United Nations agency.

The pandemic has made it even harder for children in poor communities to access books, even as children in wealthier households adapt to online schools. As the crisis drags on, some fear that the education gap could widen permanently.

The initiatives like these, are an attempt to bridge the gap with effective learning techniques that children can practice while staying at their homes and spending a constructive time with their family.