Free books to help children cope with coronavirus

Children''s author and Berwick mum Michelle Vasiliu.

By Melissa Grant

How do you have an age-appropriate conversation with your child about coronavirus to help them cope during the pandemic?

Books are a fantastic resource to help explain difficult topics, but age-appropriate ones on COVID-19 can be hard to come by.

That’s why award-winning children’s author Michelle Vasiliu has collated a list of books that are useful to teach children about the virus.

Michelle’s daughter Isabel, a St Margarets Year 10 student, and son Ben, a former Berwick Grammar student, help put the list together.

The books help children identify and process difficult emotions they may be feeling at this unprecedented time.

The coronavirus outbreak has had a huge impact on the lives of children – they have been unable to go to school, play sport or see their friends, and some have seen their parents lose employment.

There’s also the fear of the virus itself and the unknown of what else it may bring.

Michelle has uploaded the list of COVID-19 books on her website and is now on a mission to share it with as many people as possible.

“Eleven books are there … they have all been generously donated by authors all over the world,” she said.

“I could devote two weeks to looking for books. But for a parent trying to homeschool, and whatever else, they don’t have the time.

“My area of expertise is I’m an author, so I put the list out there.

“So many people say ‘thank-you for this, it’s so good’. Now I’m desperately trying to share it with as many people as I can.”

Michelle says each book features simple language that explains what coronavirus is and why we have to practice good hygiene and social distancing.

She says the books also go through the emotions children may be feeling.

“They talk about the feelings – that it’s OK to be sad, angry, upset, whatever. And they always had that hope at the end, trying to alleviate the fears.”

The books featured on Michelle’s list include links as the authors and publishers have given permission for them to be read online or downloaded at no cost.

  • Coronavirus A book for children: A digital book for primary school aged children that explains coronavirus and the measures being taken to control it. It answers questions such as what is coronavirus, how do you catch coronavirus and what happens if you get coronavirus.  The book has had input from experts including a child psychologist and is illustrated by Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo). Click HERE to access the book.
  • My Hero is You: How kids can fight COVID-19! This one explains how children can protect themselves, their families and friends from coronavirus. It also explains how to manage difficult emotions when confronted with a new and rapidly changing reality. Aimed at kids aged 6-11 years. To read it, click HERE.
  • Dave the Dog is worried about coronavirus: A book about an owl called Nurse Dotty who explains coronavirus to Dave the Dog. It’s written by Molly Watts, an intensive care nurse in the UK who wanted to give children “information without fear”. She actually wrote the book after a nightshift. To read it, click HERE
  • Learn about the coronavirus: This colouring book has been designed to help children understand and cope with the pandemic. It was created by staff at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Originally they made the colouring book for kids at the hospital, but it’s now available online for download. To open it, click HERE

To see the list of books, visit