Pandemic in a Picturebook

One moment everything was normal. Children got up in the morning and went to school. They chased each other at recess and sat next to each other at lunch. They hugged, laughed and smiled. Then all at once, everything changed. Schools shut down. Playgrounds closed. Everyone went inside and shut the doors. There was no more playing, hugging or close contact of any kind.

It has been 15 months since the pandemic changed the way we live. As difficult as it’s been for adults, it’s been especially challenging for children to adjust to this new way of life. Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham describes exactly how our world changed in terms that young children can understand. Everyone who was outside went inside. We baked, played games and watched TV. We waited. We worried. We hoped. We changed. The outside world changed too. Parks were empty. Animals ventured into the streets. Nothing was the same.

81R4fVghyqLOutside, Inside tells the story of the last 15 months without ever mentioning the words COVID, virus or pandemic. Each page is filled with bright, vibrant pictures that illustrate what happened to our world. Every character in the book is based on someone in LeUyen Pham’s life – friends, family and community leaders. Many of the scenes depicted are reflections of real events including a baby being born at the height of the pandemic to a COVID positive mother.

This book is an excellent tool to help children process their emotions. Their lives have been a rollercoaster of lockdowns, closures, upheaval and chaos. This story can be a starting point to open up conservations about the difficult feelings they may be experiencing. It will give them a sense of hope that brighter days lay ahead. It is a good reminder for adults as well; we all need to hang in there. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

— Lesley L.