children, COVID, e-book, vaccine



  1. Bayless, Katy R. BSN, MA


Abstract: As parents are forced to become experts of a new virus, it is helpful to know there are resources to help navigate the conversation with children. There are now countless e-books for all ages explaining the virus, illness, social distancing, and even the vaccine. Below are suggestions for especially helpful and fun e-books to aid parents in having these conversations.


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As a nurse raising my own children, and being the unofficial COVID-19 reference for family and friends, I wish I had started looking at online resources a full year and half ago. Instead, I stumbled onto a litany of wonderful resources long after my children have been vaccinated and returned to school, as we are edging back into a normalcy (if there is such a thing).


Discovering a website of compiled resources available for children, teens, parents, and professionals hosted by the Association of Child Life Professionals was like finding gold. As mental health concerns (such as depression and anxiety) are often referenced as reasons we must reopen schools and get back to "normal" (Safai, 2020), resources provided by child life specialists will sensibly be the most helpful for children. A description of the association explains they are "trained professionals with expertise in helping infants, children, youth, and families cope with the stress and uncertainty of illness, injury and treatment" (Association of Child Life Professionals, n.d.). The compilation of resources attempts to address anxiety and coping skills, both explaining COVID-19 while simultaneously easing the minds of children. Some are downright empowering.


After reviewing 12 resources, one produced by the American Psychological Association stood out as a particularly fantastic resource: A Kid's Guide to Coronavirus (Growe and & Burch, n.d.). This thorough e-book is 18 informative pages with great illustrations helping to visually cement the information provided. Being that this e-book is produced by psychologists, it is empowering while promoting self-reflection about life during the pandemic. Readers are encouraged to consider how they are doing, what actions they can take to stay healthy, and how to safely maintain relationships. This e-book also asks readers what information they already know about illnesses in general and what they know about COVID-19 specifically. A Kid's Guide to Coronavirus offers concrete suggestions for coping and staying safe, such as "write funny jokes on the sidewalk" to pass the time during shelter in place or "stay away from crowded places" to limit exposure (Growe & Burch, n.d.).


A second favorite resource comes from the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles: Careless Corny: A Cautionary Tale (Horne et al., n.d.). This 35-page story is appropriate for children but less so for teens. Careless Corny is a big green blob of a germ (virus), traveling the world, leaving bits of green blob everywhere he goes. This is a story of a little girl learning how to manage her exposure to Careless Corny after he visits her house; some of the information she learns from her teacher via Zoom. It is informative and empowering (spoiler alert: she wins!). This children's story is followed by five pages of helpful information for adults including suggestions for how to handle conversations about COVID-19, how to answer frequently asked questions by children, and a page of quarantine "tips and tricks."


For teens, "The Ultimate Kids' Guide to the New Coronavirus" is the most appropriate on the list (Live Science Staff, 2020). This guide explains the origins of the virus and extensively covers pathophysiology. It also covers topics such as "will my school close" and "will I be able to see my friends." There is no mention of the vaccine, so it is a tiny bit outdated but still a worthy read. As knowledge is power, this will empower teens by helping to dispel unfounded concerns and incorrect information.


In the e-book, Kelly Gets a Vaccine: How We Beat Coronavirus, the COVID vaccine is explained (Block & Block, 2020). This 25-page e-booklet tells a story of young siblings, one who is eager to get her shot and one who is not. The story appears to be appropriate for younger children, except the information provided is so in depth it could lose their attention. The story has great information for older children, teens, and even adults who have vaccine hesitancy. While explaining the safety of the vaccine, it reminds the young boy (the sibling fearful of the vaccine) that parents are free to choose whether to vaccinate their children, and some parents are fearful and refuse.


Parents do not need to take on the added stress of trying to explain COVID-19 to their children without assistance. There are many reliable and well-written e-books available to help with the conversation. They are creative and have great illustrations making the conversation fun, not serious and exhausting to already exhausted parents. These e-books help normalize our children's experiences, while reminding them of their power and abilities.




Association of Child Life Professionals. (n.d.). COVID-19 resources. [Context Link]


Block L., Block A. E. (2020). Kelly gets a vaccine: How we beat coronavirus. Blockstar Publications.[Context Link]


Growe R., Burch J. M. (n.d.). A kid's guide to coronavirus. Magination Press.[Context Link]


Horne K., Shields E., Albers N. F. (n.d.). Careless corny: A cautionary tale. Children's Hospital Los Angeles.[Context Link]


Live Science Staff. (2020). The ultimate kids' guide to the new coronavirus. Live Science.[Context Link]


Safai Y. (2020). Should schools reopen for student's mental health? Experts weigh in; mental health experts say school is important for kid's developmental health. ABC News.[Context Link]