When Jeffrey Koplan, vice president of Emory’s Global Health Institute, launched a competition in April for writers of children’s e-books to help explain the pandemic to kids aged 6 – 9, he had no idea the small request would present such a large response. The organizers received 486 participant registrations among whom 260 of those would submit books. “Not only did we receive 260 book submissions, but these books came from authors as close as Decatur, Georgia, to as far away as Australia and South Africa,” Koplan explained. (https://news.emory.edu/stories/2020/05/er_covid_19_book_winners/campus.html). The talents of those who submitted books were varied as well, including first-time authors and illustrators.

The winning story arrived from Seattle, Washington, written by Beth Bacon with illustrator Kary Lee who worked together in creating the positive angle of how everyone, including children, can step up at an unprecedented time to help make things better. It is entitled “COVID-19 Helpers”.

Emory’s Global Health Institute has provided online access to the winning and honorable mention e-books, including a few of the favorites listed below.

COVID-19 Helpers*
Author: Beth Bacon
Illustrator: Kary Lee
Book creators use age-appropriate language and illustrations to promote the idea that everyone can help fight the virus.

Bray Bray Conquers the Coronavirus
(The Adventures of Bray Bray)
Author: Ashley Maxie-Moreman
Illustrator: Joanah Whitely
In the second book of Ashley Maxie-Moreman’s The Adventures of Bray Bray series, the author addresses the important topic of data showing how African Americans are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

What Color is Today?
Author and illustrator: Alison Stephens
A native Georgia, Alison Stephens takes Seuss’s theme in “My Many Colored Days” and applies it to her research on color to create a book that allows children to express their emotions through colors. It focuses on many members of a community dealing with their different emotions during the pandemic.

Book photo courtesy of the author, Alison Stephens