Helping youngsters understand the coronavirus crisis

A Sussex children’s author is helping youngsters understand the coronavirus crisis.

Giles Paley-Phillips
Giles Paley-Phillips

In the wake of the extended lockdown, research reveals nearly two thirds of adults (65 per cent) are seeking helpful and practical advice during COVID-19, with Google trends showing a sharp increase in searches for ‘How to explain coronavirus to kids’ over the past seven days.

To try to help parents navigate this difficult time, a free audiobook written and narrated by Seaford-based author Giles Paley-Phillips has been launched at

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It aims to explain the pandemic to children in a reassuring way – as schools remain closed for the foreseeable and 48 per cent of kids admit they feel sad to be apart from their friends.

Released by children’s audio brand tonies® and entitled In This Together, the story is written in rhyme and tells the tale of Rosie, a seven-year-old who initially believes her school being closed is an extended holiday.

Rosie’s mum and dad are faced with the tricky task of explaining why she’s not in school due to the ‘microscopic bug’, why she’s not able to see her friends and how they can protect her grandparents and the elderly.

It is available to download for free for everyone on the tonies® website.

It is hoped that the story, commissioned by kids’ audio brand tonies®, will be a resource to help parents who are struggling to find the right words to discuss this difficult topic and encourage open parent-child conversation around COVID-19.

Though the subject matter is serious and there are some challenging topics addressed in the story, the overall message is a positive one, with the book including ways to stay connected and inspired whilst at home, Giles stresses.

Giles, author and narrator of the In This Together story, said: “Having two young sons myself, I know first-hand how difficult it can be to start having these conversations, especially when as adults, we’re still trying to understand and process this unprecedented crisis which is evolving on a daily basis. So, when tonies® approached me to write a story that could potentially help parents who are struggling to find those words, I felt compelled to say yes. I hope that Rosie’s tale will provide some reassurance and positivity during such a difficult time.”

Manon Sel, country manager, UK, at tonies®, added: “Stories are such a powerful communication tool and during times of uncertainty their power to connect, educate and uplift for both adults and children is more vital than ever. We hope our free audiobook will prove a helping hand for any parents struggling to explain to their children social distancing, school closures or hygiene, but most importantly that it communicates a message of hope and togetherness.”

The audiobook is available to download free at


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