My hero, Children’s story book to help children and young people cope with COVID-19

My hero, Children’s story book to help children and young people cope with COVID-19

My hero

My Hero is You how kids can fight COVID-19

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The making of “My Hero is You”

This book was a project developed by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Mental Health

and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (IASC MHPSS RG). The project was supported by global, regional

and country based experts from Member Agencies of the IASC MHPSS RG, in addition to parents, caregivers, teachers

and children in 104 countries. A global survey was distributed in Arabic, English, Italian, French and Spanish to

assess children’s mental health and psychosocial needs during the COVID-19 outbreak. A framework of topics to be

addressed through the story was developed using the survey results. The book was shared through storytelling to

children in several countries affected by COVID-19. Feedback from children, parents and caregivers was then used

to review and update the story.

Over 1,700 children, parents, caregivers and teachers from around the world took the time to share with us how they

were coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. A big thank you to these children, their parents, caregivers and teachers

for completing our surveys and influencing this story. This is a story developed for and by children around the world.

This IASC MHPSS RG acknowledge Helen Patuck for writing the story script and illustrating this book.

©IASC, 2020. This publication was published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

3.0 IGO license (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/igo). Under the terms of

this licence, you may reproduce, translate and adapt this Work for non-commercial purposes, provided the Work is

appropriately cited.

Introduction

“My Hero is You” is a book written for children around the world affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My Hero is You” should be read by a parent, caregiver or teacher alongside a child or a small group of children. It is not

encouraged for children to read this book independently without the support of a parent, caregiver or teacher. The supplementary

guide called “Actions for Heroes” (to be published later) offers support for addressing topics related to COVID-19,

helping children manage feelings and emotions, as well as supplementary activities for children to do based on the book.

Translations

The Reference Group itself will coordinate translation into Arabic, Chinese French, Russian,

and Spanish. Contact the IASC Reference Group for Mental Health and Psychosocial

Support (MHPSS) (mhpss.refgroup@gmail.com) for coordination of translations in other

languages. All completed translations will be posted on the IASC Reference Group website.

If you create a translation or an adaptation or this Work, kindly note that:

  • You are not allowed to add your logo (or that of a funding agency) to the product.
  • In case of adaptation (i.e., changes in the text or images), the use of the IASC logo is not

permitted. In any use of this Work, there should be no suggestion that IASC endorses any

specific organization, products or services.

  • You should license your translation or adaptation under the same or equivalent Creative

Commons license. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 or 3.0 is suggested. This is the list of compatible

licenses: https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/licensing-considerations/compatible-

licenses

  • You should add the following disclaimer in the language of the translation: “This translation/

adaptation was not created by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC). The IASC

is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this translation. The original English edition

“Inter-Agency Standing Committee. My Hero is You: How Kids Can Fight COVID-19!

Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO shall be the binding and authentic edition.”

Sara’s mum is her hero because she is the best

mum and the best scientist in the world. But

even Sara’s mum cannot find a cure for the

coronavirus.

“What does COVID-19 look like?” Sara asked

her mum.

“COVID-19, or the coronavirus, is so tiny we

can’t see it,” said her mum. “But it spreads in

the coughs and sneezes of people who are sick,

and when they touch people or things around

them. People who are sick get a fever and a

cough and can have some trouble breathing.”

“So we can’t fight it because we can’t see it?”

Sara asked.

“We can fight it,” said Sara’s mum. “That’s why

I need you to be safe, Sara. The virus affects

many kinds of people, and everyone can help

us fight it. Children are special and they can

help too. You need to stay safe for all of us. I

need you to be my hero.”

Sara laid in bed that night and did not feel like a

hero at all. She felt upset. She wanted to go to

school but her school was closed. She wanted to

see her friends but it was not safe. Sara wanted the

coronavirus to stop scaring her world.

“Heroes have super powers” she said to herself,

closing her eyes to sleep. “What do I have?”

Suddenly a gentle voice whispered her name in the

darkness.

“Who’s there?” Sara whispered back.

“What do you need to be a hero, Sara?” the voice

asked her.

“I need a way to tell all the children in the world

how to protect themselves so they can protect

everyone else…” said Sara.

“So what do you need me to be?” the voice asked.

“I need something that can fly… something with a

big voice… and something that can help!”

With a whoosh, something amazing stepped into

the moonlight…

“What are you?” gasped Sara.

“I’m Ario,” he said.

“I’ve never seen an Ario before,” said Sara.

“Well, I’ve been here all along,” said Ario.

“I come from your heart.”

“If I have you… then I can tell all the

children in the world about the coronavirus!”

said Sara. “I can be a hero! But wait,

Ario, is it safe to travel with the coronavirus

around?”

“Only with me, Sara,” said Ario. “Nothing

can harm you when we are together.”

So Sara jumped on Ario’s back and together they soared out through her bedroom

window, into the night sky. They flew towards the stars and said hello to

the moon.

As the sun rose, they landed in a lovely

desert by pyramids, where a small group

of children were playing. The children

cried out in joy and waved at Sara and

her Ario.

“Welcome, I am Salem!” cried one of the

boys. “What are you doing here? Sorry,

we can’t come closer, we have to stay at

least one metre away!”

“That’s why we’re here!” Sara called back.

“I’m Sara and this is Ario. Did you know

that children can keep their neighbours,

friends, parents and grandparents safe

from the coronavirus? We all need to…”

“Wash our hands with soap and water!”

said Salem with a smile. “We know, Sara.

We also cough into our elbows if we’re

sick – and we wave to people instead

of shaking hands. We try to stay inside,

but we live in a very crowded city… not

everybody is staying home.”

“Hmm, maybe I can help with that,” said

Ario. “They can’t see the coronavirus,

but… they can see me! Jump on, but

please sit on both sides of my wings –

they are at least one metre apart!”

Ario flew into the sky with

Salem and Sara on both of

his wings. He flew across the

city and began to roar and

sing! Salem cried out to the

children in the streets:

“Go, tell your families, we are

safer inside! We can take care

of each other best by staying

home!”

People were amazed by what

they saw. They waved and

agreed to go into their

houses.

Ario soared high into

the sky. Salem cried

out in joy. Up there in

the clouds a plane flew

by, and the passengers

looked out at them in

awe.

“People will have to

stop travelling soon, at

least for now,” said Salem.

“They are closing

the borders across the

world, and we should all

stay where we are and

with people we love.”

“So many things feel like they

have changed,” said Sara.

“I get scared about it sometimes.”

“It can feel scary and confusing when things are

changing, Sara,” said Ario. “When I feel scared, I

breathe very slowly – and breathe out fire!”

Ario blew out a huge fireball!

“How do you relax when you feel scared?”

Ario asked them.

“I like to think about someone who makes me feel

safe,” said Sara.

“Me too, I think of all the people who help me feel

safe, like my grandparents,” said Salem. “I miss them.

I can’t give them a hug because I could give them the

coronavirus. We usually see them every weekend, but

not now because we have to keep them safe.”

“Can you call them?” Sara asked her friend.

“Oh yes!” said Salem. “They call me everyday and I

tell them about all the things we are doing at home.

It makes me feel better, and it makes them feel better

too.”

“It is normal to miss people we love that we can’t see

right now,” said Ario. “It shows how much we care.

Would it make you feel better to meet other heroes?”

“Yes please!” Sara and Salem cried back.

“Great, my friend Sasha has a very special

superpower,” said Ario. “Let’s go!”

And so they soared down to earth and landed by

a small village. A girl was outside her house picking

flowers. When she saw Ario and the

children sitting on his wings, she laughed.

“Ario!” she cried. “We have to stay at least one

metre apart, so I will throw you a hug! What are

you all doing here?”

“I felt your hug when you told me that, Sasha,”

said Ario. “I love how we can use words to show

we care, and actions too. I wanted my friends to

learn about your superpower.”

“What is my superpower?” said Sasha.

“Since someone in your family got sick, you are

staying at home to make sure you don’t share the

coronavirus with anyone else,” said Ario.

“Yes, it’s my Dad, and he’s staying in his bedroom

until he gets completely better,” said Sasha.

“But it’s not so bad! We play games, cook,

spend time in our garden and have meals together.

My brothers and I touch our toes and

dance. We read books and I can keep learning

because sometimes I miss school. Staying home

felt weird at first, but now it feels normal.”

“That’s not always easy, Sasha,” said Ario. “You

are finding ways to have fun and get along with

your loved ones at home. That makes you my

hero!”

“Do you ever fight with your family?” asked

Salem.

“We fight sometimes,” said Sasha. “We have

to be extra patient, and extra understanding,

and even quicker to say I’m sorry. That is a real

superpower, because it can make ourselves and

others feel better. I also need a little time alone.

I love dancing and singing on my own! And I

can call my friends sometimes…”

“But, Ario, what about people who are far from

home or don’t have a house?” asked Sara.

“That’s a great question, Sara,” said Ario.

“Let’s go and find out.”

And so they said goodbye to Sasha and set off

once more. The air grew warmer as they landed on

an island surrounded by the sea.

There they saw a camp full of people.

One girl saw them and waved from a distance.

“Hi Ario, I’m so happy to see you again!” she

called out. “We are trying to stay at least one

metre away, so I’ll talk to you from here. But I’d

love to meet your friends! My name is Leila.”

“Hi Leila! I’m Sara, and this is Salem,” Sara

called back. “It sounds like you’re trying to

protect yourself from the coronavirus. What else

are you doing?”

“We’re washing our hands with soap and

water!” Leila called back.

“Do you also cough into your elbow?” asked

Salem.

“Can you show us how?” Leila called back. So

Salem showed them.

“We are all trying to be brave, but I am worried

about something,” said Leila. “Can I talk about

it with you? I heard someone got sick and died

and it made me very afraid. Is it true people can

die from coronavirus?”

Ario breathed a big sigh and sat down on his

enormous bottom.

“Yes, little heroes, it’s strange,” said Ario. “Some

people don’t feel sick at all, but some people can be

very sick and some might die. That’s why we all have

to be especially careful with older people, and those

with other illnesses, because they tend to get more

sick. Sometimes when we are feeling very afraid,

or unsafe, it can help to imagine a safe place in our

minds. Would you like to try this with me?”

They all said yes, and so Ario asked the children to

close their eyes and imagine a place where they feel

safe.

“Focus on a memory or a time when you felt safe,”

said Ario.

He then asked them what they could see, what they

could feel, and what they could smell in their safe

place. He asked if there was anyone special they

would like to invite into their safe place and what

they might talk about together.

“You can go to your safe place whenever you feel sad

or afraid,” said Ario. “This is your super

power, and you can share it with your friends and

family. And remember that I care about you, and

many people do. That will help too.”

Leila said, “We can all care for each other.”

“That’s right, Leila,” said Ario. “We can care for each other, wherever we are. Would you like to come with us on our last

journey?”

Leila decided to travel with Ario and her new friends. Sara was glad Leila joined them because she knew that sometimes we

need to support each other. They flew quietly, without words, but Leila knew her new friends cared a lot about her.

Snowy mountains slowly came into view, and

Ario landed in a small town. A few children

were playing by a stream.

“Ario!” one of them cried, waving to him.

“Hello, Kim,” said Ario. “Everyone, I wanted

you to meet some friends of mine who have

had the coronavirus, and got better.”

“What was it like?” Salem asked.

“I was coughing and felt too hot sometimes.

I was also really tired and didn’t want to play

for a few days,” said Kim. “But I slept a lot

and my family took care of me. Some of our

parents and grandparents had to go to hospital.

The nurses and doctors were very kind to

them, and people in our community helped

us at home. After a few weeks, we were okay

again.”

“I’m Kim’s friend,” said one of the other children. “Just because Kim had the

coronavirus, we didn’t stop being friends – even though I could not see him. I

never stopped caring about him and we’re happy we can play together again!”

“Sometimes the most important thing we can do as friends is protect each

other,” said Ario. “Even if that means staying away from each other for a while.”

“We can do these things for each other,” said Leila.

“And one day, we will all be able to play again and go back to school like we used to,” said Salem.

It was time to go home, and time for Sara to say goodbye to her new friends. They promised each other that they would

never forget their adventure together.

Sara felt sad that they might not see each other for a while. But she felt better when she remembered what Kim’s friend had

said. Just because you can’t see people, it doesn’t mean you stop loving them.

Ario dropped them all back to their

homes, and waited for Sara to fall

asleep before he left.

“Can we do the same tomorrow?”

Sara asked him.

“No Sara, it’s time for you to be

with your family now,” said Ario.

“Remember our story. You can

keep those you love safe by washing

your hands and staying home. I

am never far away. You can always

be with me when you go to your

safe place.”

“You are my hero,” she whispered.

“You are my hero too, Sara. You

are a hero to all those who love

you,” he said.

Sara fell asleep and when she woke the

next day, Ario was gone. So she went to

her safe place to talk to him, then drew

everything they had seen and learnt on

their adventure. She ran to her mum with

her drawing to tell her the news.

“We can all help people be safe, Mum,”

she said. “I met so many heroes on my

adventure!”

“Oh Sara, you are right!” said her mum.

“There are many heroes keeping people

safe from the coronavirus, like wonderful

doctors and nurses. But you remind me

that we can all be heroes, every day, and

my biggest hero is you.”

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3 comentarios en “My hero, Children’s story book to help children and young people cope with COVID-19”

  1. Love this initiative, I think it’s very important to be able to explain things to kids in a way they can relate to. It’s a very scary time for them too.
    Wishing you a happy «Día de la Mona»!!

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