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Back in January 2020, COVID-19 was just something on the news, happening in a far-away country.  We knew about it, we sympathized with Wuhan, but it seemed like just another flu-type illness.  By February, it was hitting closer to home: a coworker’s sister, who lives in Italy, was under lockdown and the WHO had declared the outbreak a global public health emergency.  Mass cancellations of public events and the closure of schools followed, and by mid-March COVID-19 was officially a global pandemic, sparking lockdowns all over the world.  Even as we head into summer now, restrictions remain in place for many people, including social distancing measures and the requirement of face coverings.

 

So what exactly is COVID-19?  In broadest terms, it’s a coronavirus, part of a large family of viruses named for their spiky appearance.  According to the CDC, there are four main sub-groupings of coronaviruses – alpha, beta, gamma, and delta – and seven types that affect humans.  229E and NL63, both alpha coronaviruses, and OC43 and HKU1, beta coronaviruses, are the most common and usually cause mild respiratory symptoms.  The three remaining coronaviruses, however, are the dangerous ones, evolving from infecting animals to infecting humans.  These three are MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2, aka COVID-19.

 

Which is a lot of science to try to explain to kids who haven’t been in school, or seen friends and family, since the lockdown began. Add to this a number of new terms that have been introduced to our lexicon, including social distancing and flattening the curve, and it’s a glut of information to take in even for an adult.  To help kids understand these terms, and COVID-19 as a whole, ABDO Kids is releasing two series: The Coronavirus, aimed at grades 2 and under, and Core Library Guide to COVID-19, for kids in grades 4-8.  The Coronavirus series includes information on the virus itself as well as information on staying connected, maintaining healthy habits, and distance learning.

 

The Core Library Guide series goes more in-depth for older kids.  Understanding COVID-19 examines why the virus is so dangerous, and what steps scientists and medical professionals have been taking to combat it.  Flattening the Curve explains this and other measures people can take to help stop the spread of the disease, or at least slow it down to help keep hospitals from being overwhelmed.  Other books in the series include Front-Line Heroes and The Economic Impact of COVID-19.

 

Beyond avoiding social activities and large groups, some ways that everyone can help slow the spread include proper hygiene and face coverings.  COVID-19 is destroyed by the simple act of washing your hands with soap and water.  Teaching kids hygiene has always been important, but especially so now.  To aid in this, check out How Does Soap Clean Your Hands? by Madeline J. Hayes and Srimalie Bassani.  For more of an overview of germs and diseases, The Germ Lab by Richard Platt and John Kelly offers plenty of fun facts and great illustrations.

 

All these sudden changes and dire warnings can cause anxiety even in kids (and adults) not prone to worry.  This is understandable, but parents will likely want to help their kids feel more confident and reassured.  In October, Vancouver author-illustrator Scot Ritchie will release Follow Your Breath!: a First Look at Mindfulness.  An introduction to mindfulness, the book will help kids learn how best to manage stress and remain calm even when upset.  Other upcoming books to help kids manage their feelings include The Worry (Less) Book by Rachel Brian, Mindfulness For Children by Sarah Rudell Beach, and Puppy In My Head by Canadian author Elise Gravel.

 

To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, our YouTube Channel,  and now on Issuu. We also encourage you to subscribe to the weekly Green Memo, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.

 

Stay safe!

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