Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Children’s Literature Book Recommendations

By Suzy Leopold

    All across the globe the world has changed. Life is difficult to navigate during a global pandemic that includes many restrictions. Everyone is acquiring new knowledge and understanding of how we can be safe, happy, and even do our part.

Children’s books can play a powerful role in helping 

kids navigate life’s challenges.

—Caroline Bologna, Huff Post

    During this unprecedented time, many picture books were published to offer information and comfort to readers of all ages. These books include fiction and nonfiction picture books, middle grade, early readers, and more. 

    Additional children’s literature continues to be published and will soon be available for children of all ages. These timely books provide an  understanding of the world around us concerning the current situation with global health issues. 

    Many recently picture books offer facts and information about viruses and germs. Children’s mental and emotional needs are addressed, such as anxiety, stress, and separation from family and friends. These books support our youth to understand they are not alone in their feelings and how they can do their part—hand washing, social distancing, and mask wearing.

    As Mr. Fred Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

    This first picture book recommendation is, COVID-19 HELPERS: A Story for Kids about the Coronavirus and the People Helping during the 2020 Pandemic is written by Beth Baker and illustrated by Kary Lee. It is published by Blair, November 2020. 

    This book provides comforting words for readers, ages 5-11, and includes positive, honest information. 

    And just like Mr. Rogers, encourages children to “look for the helpers.”
    Keeping the City Going, is written and illustrated by Brian Floca, made its debut in April 2021. The book is a heartfelt thank you to all essential workers during the stay at home orders of the pandemic and is written for ages 4-8. Back matter includes an author’s note.

    The publisher, Atheneum Books for Young Readers states, “An ode to the essential workers keeping the country operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Caldecott Medal Winner, Brian Floca’s words and illustrations speak to the reader while everyone is sheltering in place.

    Author, Kate Messner conducted interviews with Dr. Fauci to create the picture book narrative, Dr. Fauci: How a Boy from Brooklyn Became America’s Doctor. The book is illustrated by Alexandra Bye and published by Simon and Schuster, June 2021. 

    The story is about America’s loved doctor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

    This picture book biography is written for ages 4-8, and includes Dr. Fauci’s role of working with seven presidents. A timeline, facts, and more are included in the back matter.

    Written by Theresa Trinder and illustrated by Grant Snider, There is a Rainbow, is published by Chronicle Books, January 2021. The heart warming message is filled with hope for young readers, ages 3-5. The illustrations are vibrant and expressive.

    The following excerpt shares the uplifting message that makes the book perfect for a read aloud:

On the other side of the window, there is a neighbor.
On the other side of sadness, is a hug.
And on the other side of a storm, there is a rainbow.

    The fifth and final recommendation is a nonfiction book written by Suzanne Slade; illustrated by Elisa Paganelli. June Almeida, Virus Detective! The Woman Who Discovered the First Human Coronavirus is published by Sleeping Bear Press and released in March 2021. This biography is written for 6-9 year olds.
    June was 34 years old when she discovered the first human coronavirus. Her work continues to support researchers today. Sharing a book trailer of this Scottish internationally renowned virologist and woman pioneer.

    Many helpers are doing their part during this unfamiliar and sometimes scary time. As a parent, a grandparent, an educator, a story teller, and a children’s book writer I want to do my part to put these books in the hands of children and students. 

    Perhaps you, too, have read and shared recently published books about the COVID-19 pandemic health crisis with young readers. Share additional children’s literature titles that are timely and relevant during the global pandemic.

    Let’s all do our part to offer reassurance and let children know they are safe. Read to them. Listen to them. Hug on them.

To be eligible for a give away, share a title, including the author and illustrator of a recently published book that addresses the COVID-19 theme. Write it in the comment section. I will paint a watercolor bookmark for one lucky winner—US only. The winner will be announced on the GROG Blog on May 19th.

Additional resources and links for parents and teachers: 

School Library Journal

New York City School Library System

The Today Show on NBC

Helping Children Cope, NASP


  1. great list of books today, Suzy. Thanks!

    1. Thank you, Sue!

      Hope some readers, writers, and parents discover new titles.

      Prairie Sue

  2. Wow, I'm amazed by the number of COVID related titles that came out so quickly. Thanks for sharing!

    1. There are numerous books with the themes about the global pandemic, The following title is quiet, calm and simple. The author doesn’t even write the words *pandemic* or *virus*.

      Written and illustrated by LeUyen Pham
      Roaring Book Press, January 2021

      Since you write and appreciate poems and lyrical pieces, just thought you may like this book.

  3. I think that mantra and these books help keep adults and kids from despairing at all of things that are going wrong in this world. Helping right a wrong definitely keeps the focus on the positive.

    1. Children’s literature is more than just a story. Readers of all ages can grow and learn by reading fiction and nonfiction picture books.