Book Review: A Kids Book About COVID-19

Ben Miles

Malia Jones is an social epidemiologist who has written a children’s book titled “a kids book about COVID-19 *coronavirus 2019.” Dr. Jones, in her simple and engaging prose, explains in her quick-read that an epidemiologist is “a scientist who studies how human diseases spread.” She cleverly adds that this term “epidemiologist” is “not to be confused with hippopotamus.” That differentiation makes for a good learning hook. The forty-something pages that follow (it’s a downloadable text, for free!) is equally understandable, informative and entertaining.

Generally, Dr. Jones provides one pertinent concept per page. For example, early on she writes that COVID-19 “stands for” coronavirus disease 2019 (“because it started in the year 2019”). She explains that COVID-19 is a pandemic, which she defines as “a disease outbreak that is happening all over the world.”

Dr. Jones acknowledges that “schools might be closed; sports might be canceled; and even the grownups around you might be a bit scared.” She follows that statement with a reassuring footnote: “It’s ok to feel scared, even if you’re a grownup.” Further, Dr. Jones explains that coronavirus is “a new disease.” And that “COVID-19 has never existed in the entire history of the world...Until now.”

At this juncture, Dr. Jones writes that “COVID-19 is caused by a virus.” She describes a virus as “a very tiny thing.” It “can get your body and make lots of copies of itself.” She goes on to warn that viruses “can make you sick.” Moreover, Dr. Jones assures us that we’ve had viruses previously; illnesses such as colds and flu are caused by viruses.

Still, Dr. Jones informs us that some people who get the coronavirus don’t even know that they have it. That’s a condition known as asymptomatic. Others Just have “just a little run-down feeling.” But some people who “get coronavirus” become quite ill. Some of these individuals become so ill that they need hospitalization for their care. Parenthetically, she adds, “if they get to sick they could even die from the coronavirus.”

But the good doctor softens this information by writing, “Lucky for you, kids usually do not get very sick when they get the coronavirus.” Nevertheless, she warns kids that they “can still give it to other people.”

Dr. Jones proceeds to inform us that COVID-19 is not the same as the flu, and that doctors are unsure as to how to treat COVID-19. She writes that “there is no vaccine”—parenthetically she adds that a “vaccine is a medicine that keeps you from getting a virus.” She reassures us that doctors are currently working on a vaccine to this “new“ coronavirus.

We are further informed by Dr. Jones that COVID-19 is a fast acting virus a is “good” at infecting other people. And she warns that it’s more dangerous than the flu and there’s more risk of getting “very sick” and dying from it. She quickly adds at the page bottom that those who do get “very sick” are older people or those who are “already sick with another disease.”

Because of how new the coronavirus is, the doctor let’s us know that there is much we have yet to learn about this illness. But, she writes, “Scientists are learning new things literally every day!”

But Dr. Jones graphically let’s us in on what is known “for sure”—such as “SNOT” and “GERMS”—these “GERMS” (which are explained by Dr. Jones as “tiny little particles that can cause you to get sick”) are spread when someone sneezes or coughs. The germs can attach themselves to things like pencils, tables and door handles. It’s possible that these germs can linger for days.

Dr. Jones emphasizes that it “might seem really scary and you might want to panic.” She confirms that it is “scary,” but that “it’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling.” Then she proceeds to give useful advice on how to help.

*Don’t pick your nose...

*Wash your hands...

*Cocoon for a little while (officially called “social distancing”)...

Dr. Jones also offers kid comfort by writing “It’s not your job to figure out who has the virus. “Scientist are working on that.” She offers this sentence of advice, “It’s your job to be a kid.”

At the end of this kid-targeted downloadable book Dr. Jones list a dozen facts regarding COVID-19, among them are “Soap kills viruses by making them explode.” And also, in this age of division and political she informs us that “People from Asia, or with ancestors from Asia, are no more or less likely to get or transmit COVID-19 than anyone else.”

“a kid’s book about COVID-19 *coronavirus disease 2019,” by Dr. Malia Jones, is free for downloading at


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