If you're struggling with how to talk about the coronavirus with your young children, illustrator Axel Scheffler and author Julia Donaldson are here to help. Not only is Julia Donaldson presenting a weekly broadcast on Facebook and Scheffler has lent his hand to creating an informational ebook about coronavirus for kids, but together they've created a series of story pages featuring Gruffalo characters practising social distancing too!
Who Are Julia Donaldson And Axel Scheffler?
Donaldson and Scheffler are the author and illustrator respectively of all your favourite bestselling children's books, including The Gruffalo, Stick Man and A Squash and a Squeeze. They've been working together for over twenty years, and in this midst of all this chaos, they're providing some comfort in the form of more joint projects and solo works to help entertain and educate young children.
Julia Donaldson's Weekly Livestream
Every Thursday at 4pm you can find Julia Donaldson on a video broadcast on The Gruffalo's official Facebook page, where she'll be singing songs, reading stories and more. She usually sings with her husband Malcolm and invites special guests, including Axel Scheffler and other children's authors. Ten thousand people tuned in last week, so you'll even be able to make friends in the comments!
The Gruffalo Reimagined
Together, Donaldson and Scheffler have created a series of stories in order to help children adjust to their new lockdown way of life. They've put familiar characters like the Gruffalo and Zog in twelve new scenes, showing how everyone is behaving during this time. You'll see the Gruffalo and her child staying in their cave, and the Room on the Broom characters making sure there's plenty of space between them. The aim is to help parents explain to youngsters all the new rules that are now in place to keep everybody safe.
Axel Scheffler's Free Coronavirus Ebook
Scheffler has illustrated an informational book specifically to answer primary school-age children's questions about coronavirus, and to learn how to stay safe during this confusing time.
Over a hundred thousand people have already downloaded the ebook, which you can access here on publisher Nosy Crow's website. Nosy Crow consulted two headteachers, a child psychologist and expert Professor Graham Medley from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine for advice on how best to present the facts. Because of this expert input, parents can be confident that their children are reading reliable information with proven facts. It's set to be translated into at least fifteen languages, making it accessible to people all over the world.
How Will This Help?
There's definitely a worry amongst families that children, as brilliantly adaptable as they are, may feel they're being pushed to the back, and they could be struggling with the fact that all of this is happening around them and they have no control over it. Both Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler believe that if their new books and stories can help children understand what's going on, by putting them back in the picture they will realise that they do have some control, and that we are all the main characters in this strange story.