Lots of children’s book writers, illustrators, and publishers have seen the need to explain COVID-19 to children and stepped up with some really brilliant, free children’s books about the coronavirus. Since Marian is only two, we’ve just been telling her that we can’t go to school/zoo/playground/the library because people are sick and we’re waiting for them to feel better. She misses going to these places, but she’s young enough not to be too bothered by it all, though lately we have had some tantrums about not going places, and I’m sad that my mom is missing so much of her twos. I cannot imagine the stress this is causing for older children, and I feel so much for children and their parents. We are all going through hard times right now.
These 9 free children’s books about the coronavirus help explain the virus as well as provide emotional support for children.
9 Free Children’s Books About The Coronavirus
Coronavirus: A Book for Children by Elizabeth Jenner, Kate Wilson, and Nia Roberts, Illustrated by Axel Scheffler
For kids ages 5-10, this is an incredibly informative book with fun illustrations from the famous Axel Scheffler, who illustrated The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom. The book answers all the main questions children might have about the virus, and I know a lot of adults that need to read this, too! Nosy Crow, the publisher, consulted expert immunologists, child psychologists, and educators when creating this book. This is my favorite on the list, and the most informative. But it could be a stressful read for some children.
My Hero is You: How Kids Can Fight COVID-19 by IASC (Inter-Agency Standing Committee)
The Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (phew) interviewed 1,700 children, caregivers, and parents from around the world about their experiences with COVID-19, and this book developed from that research. For the same ages as the Nosy Crow book, this one takes a more fictional, imagination-based approach, which makes it a good companion read, as it’s a bit more uplifting in its approach. It’s available in many, many languages.
I love this quick, simple comic explaining COVID-19. It’s accessible and a great starting point for talking about it with kids. The comic was created from interviews with experts. It’s also available in Spanish and Chinese and can be printed out into a mini-zine.
The House We Sheltered In by Freeman Ng
The House We Shelter In is based on the rhyme “The House That Jack Built.” To read it, click on the little house icons, or listen to the author reading it. You can even print it out and assemble it into a mini picture book. Each stanza builds off of the everyday activities that have become the new norm, like cleaning doorknobs, washing hands more often, having video chats, and, of course, sheltering in. It’s a lovely book and one of the best read-alouds on this list.
King Covid and the Kids Who Cared by Nicole Rim
Available in both English and Spanish in two versions–one for kids 4-6 and another for kids 7-9–King Covid and the Kids Who Cared is an informative picture book where good, preventative habits become superpowers. The pages haven’t been colored in, so these could also be great coloring pages. Nicole Rim has also written a Christian version in English.
Careless Corny: A Cautionary Tale by Kyle Horne, Erin Shields, and Nicole Albers
The Los Angeles Children’s Hospital put together a team to write this colorful picture book. In Careless Corny, the coronavirus is imagined quite literally as a slime monster, who is careless about letting his slime coat everything. The little girl protagonist is constantly having to wash her hands and clean up to make sure she doesn’t get sick.
A Kids Book about COVID-19 by Malia Jones
Available in both English and Spanish, A Kids Book about COVID-19 is an informative book for children ages 6-10. It answers all the basic questions about COVID-19. The author is a social epidemiologist. I really enjoyed the graphic presentation of this one. It’s part of the A Kids Book About series, where experts explain all the basic principles of a topic for kids accompanied by cool infographics and graphic design.
Written by a large group of collaborators, each page of this picture book differs visually from the next, but they’re united by rhythm and by the similar theme of how frustrating it can be for children to stay at home. It deals with the emotional impact of this very big change, and you can also listen to it on YouTube.
First Aid for Feelings: A Workbook to Help Kids Cope During the Coronavirus Pandemic by Denise Daniels
This 16-page workbook written by an RN and journalist and published by Scholastic is an excellent way for children ages 6-10 to examine their feelings. It even has a certificate at the end! It’s available in both English and Spanish.