New storybook to help kids stay hopeful during COVID-19

GENEVA / NEW YORK, September 24, 2021 – A new book released today aims to help children stay hopeful and positive during the COVID-19 pandemic. The story is the continuation of My Hero is You: How Kids Can Fight COVID-19!, published in April 2020.

Both books were published by a collaboration of 60 organizations working in the humanitarian sector, including the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Federation of Societies of the Cross -Rouge and Red Crescent and the MHPSS Collaborative for Children. & Families in adversity.

My Hero is You 2021: How Kids Can Hope With COVID-19! is inspired by the daily realities of millions of children since the start of the pandemic. For many, the pandemic continues to disrupt their education, leisure time, and time with friends, family and teachers.

The story – aimed primarily at children ages 6 to 11 – sees the return of Aro, a fantastic creature who travels the world to help children find hope in the future and joy in simple pleasures. Along with old and new friends, Ario discusses the fears, frustrations and concerns children face in the current phase of the pandemic, and explores the different coping mechanisms they can use when confronted. to difficult emotions like fear, grief, anger and sadness.

The new story is based on responses to a survey of more than 5,000 children, parents, caregivers and teachers around the world who described the challenges they continue to face in the second year of the pandemic.

Reaching children everywhere

The book is currently available in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swahili. Its predecessor is now available in more than 140 languages, including sign language and braille, and in more than 50 adaptations, in animated video, read aloud, theater, activity books and audio formats. Examples include an adaptation for Native Americans, a coloring book for children in Syria, and an animation developed by a team led by Stanford Medicine in the United States.

Since April 2020, governments, universities, non-governmental organizations, media and celebrities have partnered with the United Nations to facilitate a truly global distribution of the first book in the series. Initiatives include the deployment of audio versions and book workshops among refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh; the broadcast of an animated version on Mongolian national television; and the inclusion of the book as a free supplement with a national newspaper in Greece.

The new storybook can be used by parents and teachers in conjunction with a guide called “Actions for Heroes,” published by the same group in February 2021. Already available in over a dozen languages, the guide advises parents, caregivers and teachers on how to create the right conditions for children to openly share their feelings and concerns related to the pandemic and includes activities based on the books in the series.

Note for editors:

The ‘My Hero is You’ series is a project of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies, a unique collaboration of United Nations agencies, national non-governmental organizations and international and international agencies providing mental health services and psychosocial support in emergencies. Co-chaired by the World Health Organization and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the group has released several resources since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to help governments, partner organizations and individuals to manage the mental health consequences of the pandemic.


Mr. Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:

“Tackling the consequences of the pandemic on the mental health of young people is crucial to help them recover more quickly from the COVID-19 crisis. This new storybook is one of the tools to help them do that.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Director-General of the World Health Organization:

“As we collectively navigate the COVID-19 crisis and find our own ways to deal with it, we must strive to protect the mental health and well-being of children who continue to struggle with disrupted childhoods. The “My Hero is You” story books help us do just that. I encourage parents, teachers and caregivers around the world to share the sequel to the hugely popular original to help the children in their care build resilience and maintain a sense of hope for the future.

Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF:

“Almost two years after the start of the pandemic, millions of children still see their lives and their routines disrupted. The ‘My Hero is You’ series is an essential and wonderful tool for parents and teachers to help children understand today’s new world and cope with their changing emotions.

Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

“The pandemic has profoundly affected the lives and well-being of millions of children around the world, many of whom live in situations of forced displacement due to conflict, violence and persecution. In this time of fear, loss and uncertainty for so many children and their guardians, initiatives such as the ‘My Hero is You’ series can play a crucial role in helping them cope, heal and keep. hope for the future. “

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO:

“COVID-19 has separated millions of children from their friends, teachers and schools, with devastating socio-emotional consequences. UNESCO fully supports the My Hero is You initiative, which uses the universal magic of storytelling and reading to open children’s hearts to hope – a top priority in resuming education.

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