If you’re looking for an uplifting way to explain COVID-19 to young children, The Big Thing is a great way to go. This free book not only helps break down the pandemic in a way kids can understand, but it offers valuable insight into what our children are thinking and feeling. It actually made me cry. Read on to learn more about it.
The Big Thing explains COVID-19 through the eyes of a child
The Big Thing is geared towards young kids as a relatable way to help them understand all the scary changes happening in the world right now. That alone makes it an incredibly valuable resource. However, it’s a real eye-opener for adults, too, offering incredible (and heart-wrenching) insight into our kids’ feelings right now.
The Big Thing is a unique new children’s book that explains the Covid-19 crisis through the eyes of a 5 year old girl, and teaches children about the idea of silver linings and how to find them in their changed lives. It is a collaborative effort of writers, artists and translators from China, the US, Latin America and Europe, and is being given away for free in English, Spanish, Italian and Chinese.
When most of the US went into lockdown to help slow the spread of the virus, Alex Friedman (former CFO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) joined Angela Meng (former journalist), Alvaro Gonzalez (Uruguayan illustrator),and two translators to “create a story that would help children, parents and teachers across all cultures.”
The multinational group worked together through email and messaging apps to craft an uplifting tale to explain the crisis to kids in a way that helps them find the bright spots in this strange new world we live in.
Learn what it’s like for kids growing up in a time of coronavirus
The Big Thing is told through the eyes of 5-year-old Bea and begins with her learning about the novel coronavirus before delving into the anxiety and fear that she feels. She misses her friends and her grandparents. Even the things she enjoys- and can still do- are tainted. Cupcakes aren’t as sweet, her favorite color just looks gray, and counting flower petals in the backyard just isn’t the same anymore.
Bea’s teacher notices that she looks worried and helps her learn how to find the silver linings even in scary times.
This is a book about finding silver linings, about family love, duty and most importantly, resilience. Bea learns about discovering the good in the bad and notices the sky turning bluer as the world slows down and our environment begins to heal. And Bea learns how to reach out to her friends, family and teacher when things get tough, because we cannot conquer fear on our own.
The Big Thing was created in record time
The story was written, illustrated, and even translated in an incredibly short amount of time. As Alex Friedman explains:
“We had this idea on April 1st over a Whatsapp message. and within a month it was finished thanks to the work of some truly talented and special collaborators. It was a deeply healing experience to do something creative and positive for children and parents, across nationalities, in a time when it is easy to feel helpless. Now our mission is to share this hopeful message as far and wide as we can.”
The authors even chose names – like Bea and Mrs. Eva- that are easy to say and translate into many languages, to make sure that it would resonate with kids from all over the globe.
“A global pandemic requires a unified global response” say Alex and Angela. “This is not the time to blame others or work in isolation, but to recognize we are all as one, regardless of where we live or what language we speak. Only together will we manage through this pandemic and only together can we find the silver linings in this difficult time”.
The book is free to read and download on TheBigThing.org. It’s currently available in English, Spanish, Italian and Chinese. It’s also available Amazon in Kindle and print format. All proceeds will go to Covid-19 charities. Check out the Buy page for more info.
“More than ever, we need ideas, books and arts that unite us, lift our spirits and help us through the difficulties – that is the big thing we need to collectively combat,” says translator Jill Peng. “I enjoyed translating the book for kids and families in China, not only because it’s a lovely book, but because it sends a very important universal message”