COVID-19 children's book - Birdie and the Virus
New children’s book helps kids deal with their feelings and fears around the coronavirus.
Parents who are unsure of how to tackle the topic of the coronavirus (COVID-19) can turn to the Birdie and the Virus children’s book to help their kids cope with the global pandemic.
The free online book (available here) is the latest addition to the Birdie’s Tree series of illustrated storybooks created by Children’s Health Queensland to help young children process their emotions during unusual events.
The book follows Birdie and her friend Mr Frog as they face challenges of a virus spreading in their community. After Mr Frog becomes sick, the book takes children on a journey of recovery from testing for the virus and treatment.
Birdie and the Virus also reinforces the importance of staying home, hand washing and keeping connected with friends during isolation.
Children’s Health Queensland senior psychologist and co-author, Dr Andrea Baldwin said children could experience higher levels of disturbance and anxiety than adults as they don’t fully understand the events going on around them.
“Young children feel secure when their world is ordered and predictable,” Dr Baldwin said.
“They need that sense of security to explore and learn, grow and develop in healthy ways. Disruption and uncertainty make it hard for families to maintain routines and help children feel that the world makes sense.”
Dr Baldwin said every child would deal with the pandemic differently, but they often picked up on their parents’ emotions.
“When the family is experiencing stresses like job insecurity, financial worries or family members becoming ill, young children will be affected at a crucial stage of brain development,” she said.
“This can have long-term as well as immediate impacts on their emotional wellbeing.”
“One child may cope quite easily with the pandemic, while another will need reassurance, age-appropriate answers to their questions, and lots of support.
“Reading a story like Birdie and the Virus with a caring adult can help a young child work through the distressing experiences and big feelings of these difficult times.”
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said the book was an important tool to help support our youngest Queenslanders during this unprecedented time.
“Whether you’re a health professional, early childhood educator, parent or carer, this book is a useful tool to help connect with young children about COVID-19,” Mr Miles said.
“Together, we can ensure Queensland kids get the support they need as we work towards rebuilding from this pandemic.”
Birdie and the Virus can be read online for free in English, Farsi, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean. An animated reading of the book, including a handwashing song, can also be accessed.
The Birdie’s Tree website also includes interactive games for children and information sheets for parents, carers and educators.