Within a few short months, a new multisyllabic word has been added to every child’s vocabulary. It’s likely kids hear the term “coronavirus” at least a dozen times a day, but how firmly do they grasp what it is? We know there is nothing quite as active as a child’s imagination, and typically, that’s a great thing. But when it comes to trying to understand a scary and mysterious event like a pandemic—and the reason their little worlds have been flipped upside down—it’s best to arm kids with the facts, instead of letting those little imaginations run wild. That’s why we are so thankful for the talented children’s book authors and illustrators who have stepped up to produce age-appropriate (and free!) downloadable e-books that explain COVID-19 to kids in a way they can grasp. We have rounded up our favorite resources here—many of which are filled with simple, straightforward facts that even adults will find refreshing considering the deluge of ever-changing info coming at us from news and social media all day. So, snuggle up with your fam and read through one of these books today.
A Kids Book About COVID-19 by Malia Jones
We are big fans of the “A Kids Book About” series, which was launched back in October of 2019 and covers topics including Depression, Feminism, Divorce, Racism, Belonging, and more. The books’ clean and modern style paired with frank and accessible language for kids is perfect for tackling the topic of COVID-19. This e-book is written by Malia Jones, an academic and a researcher based in Madison, Wisconsin, where she works as a social epidemiologist studying how infectious diseases spread in human populations. She understands deeply how easy it is for a virus like COVID-19 to spread and what it takes to slow it down and stop it. In this free e-book she focuses on simple but important topics like how germs work, the difference between coronavirus and influenza, and why washing hands is so very important. Download the free e-book right here.
Rainbows In Windows by Yumi
This sweet book is about acknowledging the sadness we feel being stuck in our homes away from our friends, and one creative way we can combat it. It’s perfect for toddlers and young kids, and opens with a simple explanation of why we must stay inside for now, that it will not be forever, and how in the meantime we can show our friends and neighbors love from afar by making rainbows and hanging them in our windows. Bonus: The video version of the book is narrated by Oscar-winning actor Donald Sutherland. Download the free e-book right here.
Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus by NPR
This cute and quirky comic was created by the smart folks at NPR after they interviewed experts including Tara Powell at the University of Illinois School of Social Work, Joy Osofsky at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, and Krystal Lewis at the National Institute of Mental Health. It’s a little more in depth, and great for school-aged kids. It explains the basic facts about the virus, why hand washing is so important, and why, if we have questions, we should ask experts or a trusted adult versus believing rumors or gossip from our friends. We also love that there is an option to print it out, and that it comes in Spanish and Chinese. Download the free e-comic right here.
The Princess in Black and the Case of the Coronavirus by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, and LeUyen Pham
A cast of talented kids’ book authors and illustrators from Candlewick Press have teamed up to bring you this comic starring the Princess in Black, and how she (and you!) can help defeat coronavirus. Your superpowers are: washing hands to your favorite song, cancelling all playdates except the ones with your pet pig, and keeping enough space between you and people who don’t reside in your own kingdom. Download the free e-comic right here.
Learn About The Coronavirus Coloring Book & Activity Book by St. Judes
The children’s health experts at St. Judes came up with a pair of books to help their patients and all kids better understand COVID-19. The subtle language of both books is aimed at kids who are already receiving regular treatment at hospitals and may notice changes in protocol, but the helpful info is relevant to anyone. There is a coloring book and an activity book, complete with word searches, match-up games, and more. Download the free e-books right here and here.
Coronavirus: A Book for Children by Kate Wilson, Elizabeth Jenner, Nia Roberts, and illustrated by Axel Scheffler
Engagingly illustrated by Axel Scheffler, this approachable and timely book helps answer common questions, providing children aged 5-10 and their parents with clear and accessible explanations about the coronavirus and its effects—both from a health perspective and the impact it has on a family’s day-to-day life. With input from expert consultant Professor Graham Medley of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, as well as advice from teachers and child psychologists, this is a practical and informative resource to help explain the changes we are currently all experiencing. The book is free to read and download, but Nosy Crow would like to encourage readers to make a donation to NHS Charities Together if they are able. Download the free e-book right here.
What is a Pandemic? And How Can You Stay Safe? by Naomi O’Brien & LaNesha Tabb
This 18-page e-book was created by two teachers and features explanations about pandemics in general (including some historical perspective) and this coronavirus specifically. It’s a great resource for kindergarteners through third-graders and comes with three activities: a create-your-own poster template, a feelings check-in worksheet, and a songwriting exercise to accompany hand-washing. It’s free to download at the educators’ site Teachers Pay Teachers, but anyone can create a free account. Download the free e-book right here.
What Happens When the Coronavirus Changes EVERYTHING? A Book to Talk to Kids About COVID-19 by Sara Olsher
Author and illustrator Sara Olsher has tackled tough topics for kids in the past (divorce, cancer), all inspired by her own life experiences and her passion to help kids navigate through difficult times. Her latest book and accompanying interactive daily chart explains the science of the novel coronavirus and creates a visual routine that helps kids feel safe amidst all the change. Stinkerpants and her stuffed giraffe Stuart explain the basic science of a virus and how social distancing affects a kid’s day-to-day life. The accompanying illustrated calendar can be used to explain how staying home affects a child’s daily routine. You can download the free e-book right here.
Coronavirus: Protect Yourself And Stand Against Racism by Facing History and Ourselves
This resource is not technically an e-book, but more of a free digital outline that parents and teachers can use to teach and foster discussion around the connection between racism and and health crises—an incredibly important issue right now. Racist scapegoating during health crises is not new, and we can use this moment in time to teach some relevant history and introduce tools for fighting hate. This unique and important teaching guide outlines the known facts about COVID-19 and gives students the opportunity to explore instances of discrimination related to this novel strain of coronavirus. Providing kids with factually correct information and opportunities to reflect on the consequences of discrimination makes them less likely to participate in coronavirus-inspired racism and encourages them to challenge such othering if, or when, they encounter it. You can access the full teaching guide right here.
TIME for Kids
Trusted news magazine TIME has long created kids’ editions that are popular in classrooms around the world, and their exhaustive issues dedicated to the coronavirus go deeper than almost anything else we have seen on the subject for kids. Even better, they have two different versions for different age groups: Grades 3 – 4 and 5 – 6. Topics include the government response to the pandemic, school responses, and the economic impact. You can view the full issues for free here and here.
BrainPop Video & Activities
Digital learning website BrainPop was founded by pediatric immunologist Avraham Kadar to help kids understand difficult health subjects, so it’s no surprise it is a wealth of information on the topic of COVID-19. On the Coronavirus landing page you will find a 5-minute animated video, vocabulary flashcards, a quiz, relevant history, and more. You can find it all right here.
Did we miss one of your favorite kids’ books about coronavirus? Be sure to fill us in down in the comments!
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