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Posted by Nosy Crow, April 20, 2020

Actor Hugh Bonneville voices audio for Nosy Crow’s coronavirus book for children

Nosy Crow is pleased to announce that Paddington and Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville has voiced the free audiobook for its recently released free ebook for children about the coronavirus, illustrated by best-selling Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler.

The audiobook is now live; you can listen to the audio for free on Soundcloud here, and below. It is also available to download for free through the Cloudaloud audiobook app, which can be found on the App Store here.

Nosy Crow produced the audiobook with Strathmore Publishing, and both Strathmore and Bonneville gave their time for free.

It will also be available to download for free from Audible and as a free audio-enhanced iBook edition from the Apple Books store at a later date.

On Monday 6th April afternoon Nosy Crow issued a digital book FREE for anyone to read on screen or print out, about the coronavirus and the measures taken to control it.  It has been written by staff within the publishing company with expert input from Professor Graham Medley of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine who acted as a consultant, and advice from two head teachers and a child psychologist.

In just the first 24 hours the digital book was accessed over 100,000 times directly from the Nosy Crow website. Since then, the pdf has been downloaded from/read on the website over 650,000 times. This number does not include ebook downloads and other third parties who have made the book available; Nosy Crow estimates that total downloads now surpass 1 million.

Nosy Crow is also working with publishers in different countries around the world to develop free international editions; to date, the book is being translated into 38 languages (including US English), with updated localised information (their own equivalent of Childline, for instance). Nosy Crow’s only condition for giving the book to these publishers is that they will make the book available free of charge and as widely as possible, mirroring what we’ve done in the UK.

Kate Wilson, Managing Director of Nosy Crow, said:

“We have just been overwhelmed with the response to our book.  As a relatively small, independent publisher we have just never seen this level of activity on our website or through our social media channels.

We were very aware that many parents and carers are struggling to explain the current extraordinary situation to children, many of whom are frightened and confused. We thought that the best thing we could do would be to use our skills to produce a free book – accessible to everyone – to explain and, where possible, reassure children and there has been astonishing levels of demand, both here in the UK and worldwide.”

Axel Scheffler, illustrator of The Gruffalo, said:

“I asked myself what I could do as an children’s illustrator to inform, as well as entertain, my readers here and abroad.  So I was glad when my publisher, Nosy Crow, asked me to illustrate this question-and-answer book about the coronavirus. I think it is extremely important for children and families to have access to good and reliable information in this unprecedented crisis, and I hope that the popularity of the books I’ve done with Julia Donaldson will ensure that this digital book will reach many children who are now slightly older, but might still remember our picture books.”

Professor Graham Medley, Professor of Infectious Disease Modelling at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said:

“This pandemic is changing children’s lives across the globe and will have a lasting impact on us all. Helping children understand what is going on is an important step in helping them cope and making them part of the story – this is something that we are all going through, not something being done to them. This book puts children IN the picture rather just watching it happen, and in a way that makes the scary parts easier to cope with.”

The book answers key questions in simple language appropriate for 5 to 9 year olds:

  • What is the coronavirus?
  • How do you catch the coronavirus?
  • What happens if you catch the coronavirus?
  • Why are people worried about catching the coronavirus?
  • Is there a cure for the coronavirus?
  • Why are some places we normally go to closed?
  • What can I do to help?
  • What’s going to happen next?

Nosy Crow wants to make sure that this book is accessible to every child and family and so the book is offered totally free of charge to anyone who wants to read it.  However, the company suggests, at the back of the book, that families might make a donation to help our health service if they find the book useful: https://www.nhscharitiestogether.co.uk/.

You can download a PDF copy of the book here, and also read it below: