Here’s my current list of pandemic problems:
- Having too much screen time
- Not getting enough personal space
- Eating all of the junk food
- Struggling to connect with people who are far away
- Trying to maintain my role as a responsible adult
Books seem to be the only thing keeping me together. That, and also that my adult responsibilities never seem to go away. To help you and your kids cope at home, here are some of my favorite picture books that have great lessons to be learned in the pandemic.
“Through With the Zoo” by Jacob Grant
Need to talk about personal space, taking breaks and too much time together?
Goat may have some guidance for you!
Goat is done with the zoo. There are too many children with too many hands in a small space. He decides to leave forever. When he gets lonely, however, he realizes he just needed some space and to take a break. Doesn’t goat sound like parents and zoo sound like home? I know I’m sick of the people I live with, but I still love them.
“While We Can’t Hug” written by Eoin McLaughlin, illustrated by Polly Dunbar
Trying to teach your children about:
- Social distancing,
- Sharing affection through means other than physical contact,
- And that love is still present even through distance?
McLaughlin’s book is perfect at highlighting each one of these points.
It’s hard to show love when we can’t physically touch one another and see each other like we used to. This book shows how two friends (who love to hug but can’t) learn about different ways to show their love and friendship.
“A Little Space for Me” by Jennifer Gray Olson
Need to talk about personal space and maintaining space in a crowded environment?
This narrator might be able to show you how important personal space is and how beneficial it can be to everyone feeling their best!
Our narrator decides enough is enough. Her world is too loud, too chaotic. She doesn’t want to share anymore. She makes some space. And, with her newly developed space, she gets time to herself. She feels at peace. She creates so much space for herself that she realizes she can both have space and share her space with other people. This is a great book about boundaries, taking the time to create space and the importance of having a little bit of quiet time for everyone to recharge.
“Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker” written by Christianne Jones, illustrated by Richard Watson
Need to discuss overtalking and listening skills?
Lacey Walker, with a little explanation, might be a wonderful example of the balance between talking and listening.
This book, traditionally, is about listening. Sometimes the young children in our lives talk, talk, talk and don’t listen. However, as we sit at home, trying to do schoolwork and work from home, sometimes the people in our life can’t stop talking because they have no outlet. This can be frustrating and make it feel like they don’t listen to us. (I have definitely locked myself alone in a room, away from my spouse, to get some work done without my talkative spouse derailing my progress with discussion.) This book ends with Lacey learning that listening can be just as important as talking, if not more so.
“Grumpy Bird” by Jeremy Tankard
Need to talk about emotions? Especially adult emotions, like being grumpy for reasons you can’t explain?
The Grumpy Bird might be a go-to resource.
Bird wakes up feeling grumpy and doesn’t want to do anything he normally does. The other animals jump at the opportunity to follow and maybe have some fun. Bird is at first frustrated, but the other animals’ antics cheer him up as they go. Eventually, he feels more like himself. In the pandemic, I have woken up, gotten dressed, put on my mask and not felt like my normal, lively self until I talk to other people. Sometimes, we’re just pandemic tired and it makes us grumpy. But, luckily, there are other people in our lives to cheer us up.
“On the News: Our First Talk About Tragedy” written by Jillian Roberts, illustrated by Jane Heinrichs
Need help talking about disasters? How about ongoing emotional turmoil and things seen on TV?
This book deals with seeing tragedies or disasters on the TV. It also talks about the aftermath and the emotions that come with experiencing a life-changing event, either as someone seeing it or experiencing it. The writer is a child psychologist, so she breaks things down with just enough understanding but not too much detail.