Downloadable coloring book helps kids process COVID-19 crisis

Posted at 5:11 PM, Apr 08, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic can be scary and confusing many, but especially for children.

A new coloring book is trying to help kids process the crisis. A team at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital put the book together for ages 5 to 9.

The book is available in English, Spanish and Arabic. It explains how coronavirus spreads, what’s being done to keep young people safe and how to deal with worries they may have.

“We know the children really, really benefit from processing emotional and potentially scary information with parents and other trusted caregivers, so when we create a coloring book, it invites that opportunity for processing that together,” said Rachel Schmelzer with the St. Jude Child Life Program.

Schmelzer is a child life specialist at St. Jude. She says many parents feel lost. They don't know where to start when it comes to explaining COVID-19 to kids.

The book's illustrator, Emily VanGilder, says she wanted to make this situation easier for kids to picture.

“It was definitely a challenge giving him this kind of mischievous look rather than just a full-on villainous face, so making it something, giving him that kind of furrowed brow and really exploring the facial expression to give that emotional impact of what this is, without being scary,” said VanGilder.

She says along with helping kids with their emotions, coloring can be therapeutic.

You can find the book on the St. Jude website. There's also an activity book for preteens available and one for teenagers in the works.