“My Hero is You”
Two fictional books developed by and for children aim to help families cope with COVID-19 – and provide hope for the future.
The scale and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for adults to wrap their minds around, much less children. And for so many, the pandemic continues to disrupt their education, recreation, and time with friends, family and teachers.
In 2020, “My Hero is You: how kids can fight COVID-19!”, a story developed for and by children around the world, offered a way for children and parents to together think about the questions the pandemic raises. Designed to be read by a parent, caregiver or teacher alongside a child or a small group of children, the story was shaped by more than 1,700 children, parents, caregivers and teachers from around the world who took the time to share how they are coping with the impact of COVID-19.
A year later, “My Hero is You 2021: how kids can hope with COVID-19!” draws on the daily realities of millions of children since their lives were affected by COVID-19. The story – aimed primarily at children aged 6-11 years – sees the return of Ario, a fantasy creature who travels the world helping children to find hope in the future and joy in simple pleasures. Together with old and new friends, Ario addresses the fears, frustrations and concerns children are facing in the current phase of the pandemic and explores the various coping mechanisms that they can use when faced with difficult emotions like fear, grief, anger and sadness.
The new story drew from responses to a survey of more than 5,000 children, parents, caregivers and teachers from around the world who described the challenges they continue to face in the second year of the pandemic.
The ‘My Hero is You’ series is a project of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings, a unique collaboration of United Nations agencies, national and international nongovernmental organizations and international agencies providing mental health and psychosocial support in emergency settings.
Read the parts one and two below.