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Storybook helps Covid children stay hopeful

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My Hero Is You 2021: How Kids Can Hope with Covid-19! draws on the daily realities of millions of children since the beginning of the pandemic. / Photograph courtesy of UN

A new book published recently aims to help children stay hopeful and positive during the Covid-19 pandemic. The story is a sequel to the immensely successful My Hero Is You: How Kids Can Fight Covid-19!, published in April 2020.

Both books have been released by a collaboration of 60 organizations working in the humanitarian sector, including the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the MHPSS Collaborative for Children & Families in Adversity hosted by Save the Children.

My Hero Is You 2021: How Kids Can Hope with Covid-19! draws on the daily realities of millions of children since the beginning of the pandemic. For many, the pandemic continues to disrupt their education, recreation and time with friends, family and teachers.

The story — aimed primarily at children aged six to 11 years — sees the return of Ario, a fantasy creature who travels the world helping children to find hope in the future and joy in simple pleasures. Together with old and new friends, Ario addresses the fears, frustrations and concerns children are facing in the current phase of the pandemic and explores the various coping mechanisms that they can use when faced with difficult emotions like fear, grief, anger and sadness.

The new story drew from responses to a survey of more than 5,000 children, parents, caregivers and teachers from around the world who described the challenges they continue to face in the second year of the pandemic.

The book is currently available in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swahili. Its predecessor is now available in more than 140 languages, including sign language and Braille, and in more than 50 adaptations, in animated video, read-aloud, theater, activity books and audio formats. Examples include an adaptation for Native Americans, a coloring book for children in Syria, and an animation developed by a team led by Stanford Medicine in the USA.

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