Our Heroes of COVID-19
Our Heroes of COVID-19
Joel was also glad to know that there were so many kind and brave people. Suddenly he said, “Grandpa, I hope all the heroes of COVID-19 know we appreciate them.”
On a perfect summer day after the Covid-19 shutdown ends in the area where Joel and his grandpa live, they go for a walk to the park together. They reflect on the brave people and heroes helping to keep everyone safe. When thinking about these heroes, Joel initially lists firefighters, doctors, and nurses. However, after prompting from his grandfather to think of more brave people and heroes, Joel places more thought into this and comes up with more examples of essential workers who put their own health at risk to help others during the shutdown. In addition to Joel’s learning about gratitude, his grandfather also uses Covid-19 as an opportunity to teach him about the importance of kindness.
Our Heroes of COVID-19 was published at a time when Covid-19 still exists in the world. Lockdowns and social distancing restrictions are still present and change depending on the rise and fall of Covid-19 cases in specific locations. This scenario is reflected in the story as the lockdown restrictions in the area where Joel and his grandfather live have been lifted; however, they still see individuals in the community wearing masks demonstrating that the virus has not completely gone away.
Its relevance to our current time makes Our Heroes of Covid-19 an excellent story to remind children that beating the Covid-19 virus requires cooperation by all in the form of handwashing, social distancing, and wearing masks. It is implied from the front cover image that anyone, regardless of age or occupation, can be a Covid-19 hero by following these measures. The final pages of the book include five clear and simple discussion questions that encourage drawn or written responses by the audience as well as a summary describing what Covid-19 is. In the present, Covid-19 is impacting lives across the globe; however, the summary is a useful tool to understanding the book for those who may not fully remember or understand the effects that it caused (or continues to cause).
One disappointment of this book is that the front cover reflects diversity in gender, ethnicity, and ages which is not reflected in the illustrations or content within the story. With the exception of the character Joel, the heroes pictured are all adults. Additionally, the majority of images reflect fair-skinned individuals who are in the workforce. A greater degree of diversity within these highlighted heroes would have enhanced the story.
Overall, Our Heroes of Covid-19 is a recommended addition to children’s libraries. While Covid-19 is present, it can be used to encourage children to be heroes themselves by following precautions in place. Later on, once vaccines have been created and implemented to successfully control the virus, this book can serve as a tool to guide conversations about the importance of positive mindsets, cooperation, and seeking opportunities for gratitude and kindness during difficult times.
Andrea Boyd is an early years’ teacher in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She is currently pursuing her Master of Education degree specializing in Language and Literacy at the University of Manitoba.