Review: My Name Is Covid by Tammy Brandon

A Children’s Guide to Understanding the Coronavirus

I’ve spent my twenty year career trying to break down concepts to children, presenting them in basic terms. I’ve managed to explain physics, maths, expanded noun phrases and even the elusive subjunctive.

So why is it so hard to explain the concept of a pandemic to a preschooler?

More than likely because it’s been so hard to, as adults, get our heads around a complete change in the social order. Everything we’ve known has done a 180. We’ve had to learn a new language, adjust our lifestyles and come to terms with a whole new way of living.

But when your understanding of the world is limited and you can’t remember the experiences you had when you were two… or thanks to covid, have never had those experiences, then how on earth do you begin to make sense of this unnormal normal?

I’ve relied very much on Boris. “Boris said we can’t do x,y,z.” “We’re not allowed to do that until Boris says the germs have gone.” Poor Boris – he’s definitely been the fall guy in this fiasco of a year.

So imagine my sheer joy when Tammy, the passionate preschool manager at Harry’s early years setting, told me she’d written a book, illustrated by her daughter, to explain the virus.

When she gifted Harry a copy I could’ve kissed her. This was the key to helping him understand Mummy’s mask-wearing, the obsession with hand washing and why we’ve been reluctant to let him loose on the playground for so long.

My Name is Covid’ is a wonderfully simple and child-friendly explanation of the virus: how it’s caught, spread and how to defeat it. It’s a celebration of the superheroes who are helping us defeat this invisible enemy.

It doesn’t shy away from the fact Covid19 can make adults sick but it removes some of the fear factor, aided brilliantly by the cartoon like caricature of the virus.

The book gives you a stimulus for discussion. It sensitively tackles some of the many questions children have and through the images helps them to grasp some of the more tricky scientific ideas surrounding the pandemic.

We followed it up with some germ exterminating. I made some covid virus bugs which I stuck around the garden. Harry, dressed as a superhero and armed with his trusty ‘anti-bac’ spray (water for those worried) took out the enemy! My only concern was that he asked for more germs but luckily he wanted to get rid of them!

At £6.99, I’d say this is an absolute must for parents and educators. It’s the perfect book for assemblies and for circle time. It’s also a slice of history. It captures the most strange, most unprecedented time I imagine we’ve all lived through.

The book is available on Amazon. Just search ‘My Name is Covid’ to help you help your little people understand this massively important issue. It’s a must-have in my books.

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