Best books for kids about the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic rocked the world and everyone in it and still lingers as I write this. For children it radically changed everything about their lives and many of them, at this point, may not even remember the world before. It changed how they go to school, how much they, if ever, can see their friends. When they finally were able to go into school  they had to wear face masks for hours each day. So much has changed that it’s not surprising a wealth of children’s books hit the market to help children understand and cope with this new world we all live in.

These are some of the best books out there that address the pandemic in different and engaging ways for kids. While there are many more I think these six capture some of the issues kids have been faced with or project new and different perspectives through the lens of the pandemic.

Louie and The Dictator by Lisa Bournelis

Louie is a nine year old boy who feels a powerful urge to listen to a very controlling voice in his head that he calls “The Dictator”. As the story unfolds it becomes clear that Louie has Obessive-Compulsive Disorder and the pandemic builds even more anxiety in his life as his mother leaves for work each day at the hospital. Told with imagination and from a child’s inventive perspective (he calls the doctor who helps him “The Mind Wizard”) Louie is able to get a handle on the Dictator that controls his life.
This YA novel tells the story of an incredibly brave boy and helps kids understand the struggle of mental illness while addressing the problems of the pandemic that we all faced. A vivid and exciting book for kids.

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The Gift From Little Raccoon, A Pandemic Tale by Carolyn Watson Dubisch

Little Raccoon has a problem. He wants to get a gift for his friend, the girl. He’s been so worried about her staying inside at home all day long. This charming picture book tells a sweet story about caring for others during the pandemic. The illustrations are really lovely, rendered in watercolor and bring to life this simple story of animals finding gifts for the little girl who comes out to feed them each day. They notice her absence from the school bus stop and see her sitting by her computer for class. A reminder of life during lockdown for us all.

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Tick and Legs: Christmas is Canceled by Jessica Collaco, Illustrated by Sara Luna

Tick and Legs are faced with all the canceled gatherings that we all remember so vividly during the first two years of the pandemic. No travel for Christmas. No trick or treating for Halloween. Tick and Legs make their own fun together. In bright and simple illustrations by Sara Luna this little story addresses one of the more overlooked aspects of the pandemic years that forced us to creatively express holidays and special occasions with good humor and a little sadness as we reflected on past years. I really do like this book and think children will really connect with the message, which is to make the best of each moment.

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Our New Different World by M Zapata

A short rhyming story that runs through COVID basics as we remember it. Wash your hands and sing a song. Wear your mask to stay safe. The simple stylized art helps convey all that you need to know to get through our new challenge. I particularly liked when our main character drew chalk messages on the driveway to all his friends. I think that was unique and special for children during lockdown and something kids everywhere will remember doing. Overall a great little picture book that touched on all we needed to know, simplified for toddlers and small children.

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Hotel Flamingo- Life in Lockdown by Alex Milway

There is a virus sweeping through the world and Anna and all the animals on staff at the Hotel Flamingo shutter the doors and begin life in lockdown. Together they pitch in, Hilary the hippo sits down and stitches up some masks for everyone, eventually. She forgets to make them other sizes than hippo size. As the stores run dry of supplies Madam Le Pig raids her restaurant storage for food supplies. Soon she is called upon by the King to start a food delivery service. The many challenges of the pandemic are faced head on by this crew of animals at the hotel. This is a wonderful beginning reader book, with really charming little illustrations throughout. Kids will really connect to this story and challenges of life at the Hotel Flamingo.

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The Princess in Black and the Case of the Coronavirus by Shannon and Dean Hale

The Princess in Black is a superhero who needs your help to defeat a virus. This vividly illustrated comic book story is full of advice on what we all need to do to defeat our new foe. A cute little story by Shannon and Dean Hale -the creators of the Princess in Black kids comic series. Much of the same instructions are here, wash your hands, keep your distance, wear a mask…. But hey, it’s a comic so definitely one of the more entertaining of the PSA’s out there!

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