Multi-Language Website Offers Free Picture Books on COVID-19 for Children of the World

 May 23, 2020

Screen capture of Life Tree Books [chinadaily.com.cn]

 

"When those monsters came, nobody noticed. Dad is a doctor. He calls them 'novel coronavirus,'" the picture book Ten Tips to Fight Monsters opens through a child's perspective.

Ever since the title became available online at the beginning of April, its easy-to-read language and warm illustrations have helped children across China learn about how the virus spreads, all the while offering scientific protection measures.

Aside from readers from China, more and more young readers (and their parents) around the world are benefiting from the philanthropic website Life Tree Books, initiated by Zhang Mingzhou, president of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People). Eleven original works by China, selected by a jury of experts, translated into 13 languages, including Japanese, French and Russian, are available for readers to enjoy, all free of charge.

The website is part of Zhang's philanthropic program called "Picture Books about COVID-19 for Children Around the World," which he launched on February 29 to help youngsters fight against the pandemic through reading picture books on the coronavirus.

"Ever since the pandemic, quite a number of children have been forced to remain indoors. There is a shortage of information (on the pandemic) suitable for children to understand. Negative emotions including not knowing, fear, loneliness and anxiety are surrounding and troubling them," Zhang said.

He pleaded for publishers to donate publishing rights of books on the novel coronavirus and invited adept translators to translate these works into foreign languages.

In just a few days, Zhang received donated copyrights from more than 50 publishing houses, authors and illustrators from China, and more than 300 volunteer translators who are able to work with more than 10 languages.

"We then spent about a month to launch the website. It is the collaborated fruit of translators, web designers, programmers and legal experts," Zhang said.

"Scientific knowledge is integrated with literature, so children can read an interesting story and learn about science in a natural fashion," Liu Lei, deputy editor in chief of Qingdao Publishing Group, said. "The themes may differ but the love is the same. These selected 11 books are bringing forward warmth to children of the world."

The 11 works selected cover a wide range of subjects, from how to protect ourselves from the virus, selfless contributions of medical and social workers, to a brief history of viruses and the prospect of life after the winning the war against the pandemic. Zhang says the conveying of these information could not have been possible without the effort of hundreds of translators.

"They worked very productively and effectively. In order to respect the reading habits of different cultures and provide the best possible visual result, many translators worked many late nights with their designers," Zhang added.

There were many global supports as well. Brazilian illustrator Roger Mello, laureate of 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Awards, designed the poster and logo for Life Tree Books. The translation of Iranian writer Ali-Asghar Seyyedabadi's Hannah, Our Hero is underway, which teaches children how to take care of themselves during the pandemic.

Publishers from Malaysia, Pakistan and Mongolia have expressed the willingness to translate these works into Malay, Urdu and Mongolian. Moreover, leading digital library service providers and contents sharing providers have incorporated these works into libraries from more than 70 countries for readers to enjoy.

"The world is still fighting a tough war against the coronavirus, and our 'Picture Books about COVID-19 for Children around the World' is still ongoing. We hope to transmit knowledge on the disease and positive spirit through these great picture books. We also hope that more and more children can learn about the coronavirus through our recommended books, the protection measures taken and the strength exhibited in fighting against it. We want our children to grow up healthy and happy," Zhang said.

Visit the website at www.lifetreebooks.org.cn

Language now available online are Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Farsi, Japanese, Korean and Thai and Fahsi. Languages to be available include Sinhalese, Tamil, Nepalese, Mongolian, Malay, Portuguese, Dutch and Swahili.

Recommended Books

[For China Daily]

 

Ten Tips to Fight Monsters

Author: Dong Ruihan

Description: Dad leaves 10 tips to help us fight the virus. Who will win the battle? The story will gently teach children how to prevent the disease in a language that they can easily understand. It will help kids remain calm in this the epidemic, and encourage them to help family members to prevent the disease.

[For China Daily]

 

Waiting for Dad to Come Home

Author: Chen Ying

Description: The book pays a tribute to the front line medical workers for their fighting spirit in battle against COVID-19 who are heroes in harm's way with strong sense of social responsibility, depicting the familial affection and love supporting them. Besides, the book combines the basic knowledge of COVID-19 in a story of how a doctor's family fights against the virus. The emotional resonance with readers may promote them to increase their self-protection awareness and take protective actions. The book touches readers with storylines and characters having strong sense of social responsibility, trying to plant that responsible seed in their mind.

[For China Daily]

 

A Brief History of Viruses for Children

Author: Changsha White-flag Dolphin Children's Book Workshop

Description: A popular virus book dedicated to all children and juveniles. This book, in the form of story-telling and picture-based presentation, tells the origin of the virus and its impact on human society, so that the readers can understand the history of the virus. The book specifically sets up a "Ten Questions about COVID-19" section, which explains in detail the relevant knowledge and preventive measures of the novel coronavirus, helping children and juvenile readers to rationally understand and scientifically prevent it.

[For China Daily]

 

Virus, Virus, You Cannot Scare Me!

Author: Mu Xiangzhen

Description: This is an original pop-up book for children that integrates mood-lifting techniques with knowledge about virus prevention and control. Designed with many interesting and movable paper elements, the book enables parents and children to learn — in a fun interactive way — about how viruses spread and what people can do to protect themselves effectively. Thus it helps relieve children's fear for viruses and improve their ability to prevent infection. Besides, it also introduces the idea of harmonious coexistence between human and nature, in hope of raising children's awareness of protecting wildlife as well as the natural environment.

[For China Daily]

 

Agan Will Win

Author: A Jiao (original name: Zhang Xuejiao)

Description: Told by Chun Ni, famous anchor of China Beijing Television Station and Xue Ying, founder of Xue Ying Reading Club, Agan Will Win is a story about how Agan, Wuhan's well-known street food hot dry noodles personified as the protagonist, fights against the virus and finally wins. Unfortunately infected with the virus, Agan remains positive, optimistic and compliant to the doctors, and at last he defeats the cunning virus. This is a warm and caring picture book that consoles people who are having a difficult time during the epidemic.

[For China Daily]

 

There is Nothing Much More Than the Virus That Wears a Crown

Author: Huang Yi, etc.

Description: This book is designed in the form of Q&As to address some possible COVID-19-related psychological problems of children, with a view to helping them learn to cope with such problems while enjoying themselves in reading. In addition, this book is carefully illustrated by a group of young artists who have applied psychological intervention techniques into their illustrations. Also, with the help of this book, parents can learn how to explain the outbreak to their children in a proper way.

[For China Daily]

 

Fight Bacteria

Author: Wan Jinghua, adapted by Chen Yuanshan

Description: Humans have a long history of fighting against diseases. But in a long period of time, people were still in the dark regarding the fact that many diseases caused by bacteria were unseen by the naked eyes. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed due to these microscopic bacteria. Afterwards microscopes were invented so that human beings were able to know bacteria and started studying it. Scientists finally invented various medicines such as antibiotic and the likes, despite trials and tribulations, achieved glorious accomplishments, brought many scary diseases under control. This comic book consists of a series of stories, vividly records the battle between humans and bacteria .

[For China Daily]

 

A Special Spring Festival

Author: Gao Jing

Description: This book pictures a special Spring Festival during the outbreak of COVID-19. It tells a story of an ordinary family in China, centering around the little boy's confusion: why he is not allowed to play outside home. Integrating science knowledge with comforting words, the book illustrates some basic knowledge on coronavirus disease as the story develops, including what coronavirus is, how it spreads, and how we can protect ourselves from it. The pictures in light watercolor convey love between family members, friends and everyone, and the story demonstrates how Chinese people are fighting together against the coronavirus in a soft yet powerful tone. Through reading, both children and grown-ups may cherish more the simplest pleasure in life, be grateful and try to do all they can do to help.  

 

(Source: chinaculture.org)

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