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This free digital book answers kids’ questions about covid-19

by Celia Storey | April 15, 2020 at 5:22 p.m.

A new picture book from Nosy Crow and Candlewick Press will help adults struggling to answer children’s repeated questions about why the world has turned upside down.

Coronavirus: A Book for Children is free for the downloading. A shortcut link is at

Its digital pages provide a reassuring orientation, explaining what the virus is and why it is a serious problem. The book elegantly conveys information that is difficult to deliver without causing terror, such as the fact that some people are going to hospitals and need help to breathe. The book doesn’t exaggerate or minimize, but it also isn't bleak or lacking in humor.

It explains restrictions that young brains have trouble accepting under any circumstances — why they can’t play with their friends, why they have to wash their hands, why adults might be short-tempered, what adults might be worried about.

Best, it gives kids a gift: the truth that they have several positive and important contributions to make. They truly can help humanity protect our most vulnerable members from covid-19.

The final page of the book includes websites of resources in the United States that readers could find useful.

Coronavirus: A Book for Children was created by a volunteers who are writers and editors for Nosy Crow, an imprint of the independent publishing house Candlewick Press in the United Kingdom. They took expert advice from Graham Medley, a professor of infectious disease modeling at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; Sara Haynes, headteacher at Arnhem Wharf Primary School in London; Alex Lundie, deputy headteacher at the primary school; Monica Forty, headteacher of Ben Jonson Primary School in London; and Dr. Sarah Carman, a National Health Service clinical psychologist specializing in child and adolescent mental health and neurodevelopment.

The illustrator, Axel Scheffler, wrote and illustrated two children’s series but is best known for his work in Julia Donaldson’s best-seller The Gruffalo.

The creators are Elizabeth Jenner, a writer and editor specializing in children’s nonfiction who has worked in publishing for 15 years at Nosy Crow in London. Kate Wilson is managing director and founder of the publisher. Nia Roberts has worked in children’s publishing for more than 20 years, most recently as head of design at Nosy Crow.


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