We are so delighted that Coronavirus: A Book for Children about Covid-19 has been shortlisted for the Best of Lockdown book award. The other books on the shortlist are Dear NHS: 100 Stories to Say Thank You, edited by Adam Kay (Orion); Andy Serkis’ reading of The Hobbit (HarperCollins); Edinburgh Unlocked: Over 20 Acts from the Fringe that Never Was (Penguin Random House); and the We Love Romance app (Mills & Boon).
Nosy Crow published Coronavirus: A book for children about Covid-19 as a free digital book for children on April 6 2020 under a creative commons licence – a first, we think, for trade publishing. So far, it’s been viewed or downloaded 1.4m times via the Nosy Crow website but it’s also hosted on many other sites. And has been translated into 62 languages, including 3 different sign languages.
We updated it on 23 July, when Nosy Crow also published a not-for-profit £1.99 print version, with £1 from each copy going to the NHS, selling 23.5k copies in two months.
The project was conceived on March 17 (3 weeks before publication). It was written in-house by Elizabeth Jenner, Nia Roberts and me and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Professor Graham Medley at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine acted as scientific consultant. Two headteachers and a child psychologist associated with the Evelina Children’s Hospital acted as advisors.
Both Axel Scheffler and I were widely interviewed by online, traditional press, regional and national UK, Australian and US TV and Radio.
School Library Journal gave the book a starred review: “A diverse cast, a global stage, practical and expert advice, along with friendly, accessible illustrations by Scheffler make this free digital download a must-have in the home or collection of everyone on the planet… This is a generous, straightforward, and necessary text; by showing people of all races, every age, all abilities or challenges… An elegant, effective work. Download this now, read it immediately, share it with everyone you know. An educated citizenry is our best hope.”
One of the 4-star+ customer reviews on Amazon (the book has 94% 4-star plus reviews) says: “Worded for a child to understand easily. The familiarity of Axel Scheffler’s illustrations help to get the message across in a gentle and comforting way. Would definitely recommend as a way to explain the current situation to children.”
And Professor Medley tweeted: “TFW you spend a few hours discussing draft manuscripts and it turns out to be, perhaps, the most significant thing you ever did.”
You can read the updated edition of Coronavirus: A Book for Children About Covid-19 below, and download it as a PDF here.