For kids who time time on their hands because of #shelterinplace or #stayathome quarantine due to Covid, what are the best books for them to read? Of course any great kids’ book can be a great book to read anytime, including quarantine. But reading about quarantines and illness can help them put current events in perspective.
If your kids are lucky – with the Covid coronavirus, shelter in place orders, and schools being shut down and working remotely – your kids have some down time. (I say lucky, because my “kids” don’t have any down time yet, finishing senior years and college college courses. In fact, I’m annoyed at how most of the college professors are not giving college students a break. Their work has been made more difficult by working remotely. But that is another rant.)
Boredom can be good – and a great reason to read!
Before you panic about a missed couple of months of the school year, remember downtime can be good!
Boredom can be good.
And kids who are in advanced and challenging classes, don’t have enough of either of those. (For some of my research, read my posts on High School, College, and Success.)
Having extra time can be a great time to read! Maybe you need some more book ideas for your kid’s reading list.
Looking for things to do during quarantine? Check out my list of best romantic comedies for mothers and daughters to watch together.
Putting the pandemic in perspective through great books for kids
It can be tough to know what to tell kids about the novel coronavirus and Covid-19. You want them to take it seriously, but you don’t want to scare them too much. How much you need to share will be different for every child.
Dealing with a highly contagious disease is pretty scary for those of us who grew up with a vaccine for pretty much every serious childhood illness. But for most of our grandparents, dealing with serious viral illnesses was just a part of life for them. (If you don’t have any of your own family stories, you can read about how my grandfather survived the 1918 Spanish flu.)
Knowing that others have been through this before can validate your fears, and at the same time make you feel less alone. It can be comforting that someone had made it through this before. For kids, a great place to find comfort is in books.
I pulled together a list of books that deal with pandemics, epidemics, and childhood illnesses. Mostly, these books are set in the past. (But don’t forget that any type of book is good to read anytime. Check out my comprehensive list of best books for kids, my own kids favorite books arranged by difficulty and grade level.) Because until the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, epidemics and childhood illnesses were more prevalent in the past. One day, this pandemic will be a part of the past, too.
So #shelterinplace and social distance with a good book for company, and stay well during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Best books for kids to read during quarantine
Little House on the Prairie
While settlers out on the prairie, Laura’s whole family comes down with what they called fever ‘n’ ague. They wouldn’t have survived without the kindness of strangers and their faithful bulldog, Jack. At the time, they suspected that fever ‘n’ ague was caused by eating watermelons. They didn’t realize that fever ‘n’ ague was really malaria, or how it was spread. You can talk about what we know now about viruses and about how malaria, the drugs we have to treat it now, and how it is spread by mosquitoes.
All of a Kind Family
This is the first book in the series All of a Kind Family, a fun series about the adventures of a big Jewish family in the early 1900’s. In the chapter Mama Has Her Hands Full, sister Sarah comes down with scarlet fever just before Jewish Passover. It means quarantine for everyone, with a sign on their door to warn people they are in quarantine. The sick girls are confined to a room by themselves, they have a very different Passover, and Mama’s only contact with other people was from a window.
Janey and her parents move around a lot, eking out a living as a migrant farm worker family. Janey wishes they could quit moving when they come to a valley in California where she meets her first true friend, Lupe, who lives in the shack across the road. Miraculously, at the river a mile away there’s a house among the willows that makes her feel like she’s stepped into the world of her most prized possession, a china plate with a blue and white scene, a blue willow plate. But then her mom becomes terribly sick with pneumonia and they have no money to pay the doctor. What can Janey do?
The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes (A Calvin And Hobbes Treasury) (Volume 6)
Don’t under estimate the reading challenge of comic strip books. They can have some pretty advanced vocabulary that kids are willing to struggle through. In this one, Calvin is sick during summer vacation. The injustice! Kids will relate to feeling left out because they are stuck at home.
Henry and the Paper Route (Henry Huggins)
Ramona and Her Father (Ramona Quimby Book 4)
When Ramona’s father unexpectedly loses his job due to the economy, she has to deal with a new reality and hardships. Sadly, because of the effects on the economy of Covid quarantine and shelter in place orders, too many kids may have to deal with a parent losing their job.
Judy Moody, M.D.: The Doctor Is In!
From one of my girls’ favorite series when they were young, Judy Moody, Judy Moody, M.D. is a humorous and educational look at medicine. When she grows up, Judy wants to be like Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor, when she grows up.
Belles on their toes
Best books for teens and young adults to read during quarantine
In this dystopian retelling of Cinderella, Cinder is a gifted mechanic, and a cyborg. On top of her wicked stepmother, she has to deal with a deadly pandemic. Warning! While this is one of my favorite dystopian books, not everyone Cinder (and you) care about, will survive the pandemic. This is the first book in a great dystopian series, The Lunar Chronicles, but the series gets darker as it goes along. Cinder is my favorite in the series.
Set in Philadephia during the 1793 yellow fever plague, it’s told from the perspective of 14-year-old Mattie. I haven’t read this particular book, but Laurie Halse Anderson is a gifted author and does a fantastic job with difficult subjects. She wrote one of my youngest daughter’s favorite books, Chain’s (Seeds of America, Book 1.)
For more ideas, don’t forget to check out My list of the Best books for kids: my own kids’ favorite books.
More books I forgot to put in the list:
Ramona Forever – Ramona fears she has the chicken pox.
More All of a Kind Family – The family leaves the city during a pandemic.
Betsy-Tacy and Tib – The inseparable trio Betsy, Tacy, and Tib are separated by diphtheria quarantine.
What about you? Do you know any great kids books that cover childhood illnesses or pandemics?