Wilmington couple writes book to help kids understand coronavirus pandemic

WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- The coronavirus crisis can be hard for adults to understand, so you have to imagine how tough it is for kids who are struggling, too.

In an effort to help, a couple from Wilmington, Delaware wrote a children's book called "Pandemics for Babies".

Neal Goldstein and Joanna Suder said they never imagined they'd write a children's book until they tackled this topic, and this moment in time, with their 3-year-old son.

"She read it to her 4-year-old and she said, "This answered the questions he has been asking me for eight months. This is why we wrote this," said Suder, of a recent reaction from a reader.

She says it was a reminder of how hard the conversation can be with little ones whose lives changed so drastically and so quickly.

So how do they convey this message to kids without making them feel nervous or anxious?

"We do it pretty matter-of-factly," Suder said. "This is what it is and this is how we can help. I think giving kids that empowerment is really important."

First, they break down the pandemic in a way they hope is easy for kids to understand.

"We tell them that most people are healthy, but sometimes people get sick," Suder said. "Then, we talk more about how this new contagious sickness spreads. And when you have that spread, that's when it becomes a pandemic."

They give kids an action plan: from hand washing, to social distancing, to mask-wearing.

"We have images in the book to get them a little bit more comfortable with it," Goldstein says. "In fact, for our son, when he sees the last page in the book that shows everybody wearing masks, that's his favorite page. It's just a matter of making them feel like this is normal, acceptable, everyday behavior."

Suder is a lawyer specializing in public health and her husband, Neal, is an epidemiologist at Drexel's School of Public Health.

You can get "Pandemics for Babies" at Target, on Amazon, or in local book stores.

Their next book, "Germ Theory for Babies" comes out in February.

Suder is a lawyer specializing in public health and Goldstein is an epidemiologist at Drexel's School of Public Health.
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