Reading List from “Writers Reading during the Pandemic: A Panel with Joyce Carol Oates, Edmund White, and Sheila Kohler”
5 November 2020
Gifts for book-lovers
4 December 2020

New routines, germs, disappointment, and anxiety: Picture books for reading together right now

We know many of you are wondering what to read with your children right now as you navigate new routines, new restrictions to daily life, and health guidelines. The picture books here are a great jumping-off point for discussions about staying in touch with loved ones, dealing with anxiety, and about the Covid-19 virus and the spread of germs in general.

While We Can’t Hug by Eoin McLaughlin, illustrated by Polly Dunbar

Timely and comforting tale shows simple, direct ways for children to connect with friends and family even across distances. Tortoise and Hedgehog learn that “there are lots of ways to show someone you love them,” from sending letters, to dancing the same dances, to air kisses, and songs sung to one another.

Saturday by Oge Mora

In this picture book with collage art illustrations by Caldecott Honoree Mora, Ava and her mother have planned a very special Saturday together, but they must learn to deal with disappointment as things go awry right from the start. At they encounter one unpleasant surprise after another, they stop, pause, close their eyes, breathe deeply, and move on. At the end of a long day, it’s Ava who reminds her mother of the most important part of their Saturdays: being together. The story offers a life lesson that both parents and children can appreciate.

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, illustrated by Ruth Harper

Similarly to Mora’s Saturday, which offers a solution to dealing with disappointment in the form of a story anyone can enjoy, this classic picture book about Chester Raccoon presents a way for Chester to connect with his mother when they’re apart, and offers a way for parents to reassure toddlers and small children coping with separation-anxiety.

Put Your Worries Away by Gill Hasson, illustrated by Sarah Jennings

This informative picture book outlines some very real symptoms of anxiety in children (although adults may recognize a few too), and offers concrete suggestions for ways to cope.

Monster Dance by by Eva Lou, illustrated by Guy Gilchrist

Monster Dance is a timely story to read with children who are struggling with recent changes to their routines, and covers the efforts we can all make each day to help health care workers, and to avoid the spread of the virus.

Germs Make Me Sick by Melvin Berger, illustrated by Marylin Hafner

This informational book for children explains the differences between viruses and bacteria in a conversational tone, and also addresses the fact that many germs. This book for new readers is perfect for the child who is curious about germs, how they can make us sick, and how our bodies work to fight them off and keep us healthy.

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