NPR recently published a Coronavirus comic to help parents and teachers talk to kids about the pandemic. Thanks to author Malaka Gharib and translator 张菀钰, we read the Coronavirus comic with our kids in English as well as Chinese, our family’s minority language.
Chinese Coronavirus comic for kids
Since the translator’s handwriting is difficult to read, and I’m learning Chinese characters with my kids, I’ve re-formatted the text into standard Kaiti font in the following languages:
- Simplified Chinese
- Simplified Chinese with Pinyin
- Traditional Chinese
- Traditional Chinese with Zhuyin
Big thanks to generous people who identified typos in the NPR comic and proofread my printables (including our Chinese teacher and my friend Irene @thedreamwhale)!
I have corrected these errors in pdf files which you can download at the end of this post.
What does NPR’s Chinese Coronavirus comic for kids cover?
Kids are naturally fascinated by their health and body, and we try to keep our explanations simple, clear, calm, and honest.
Five important facts are covered in the Chinese Coronavirus comic.
Since my husband and I are physicians, I’ll add some basic pertinent information that we have discussed with our children in case it can be helpful to other families.
Remember to adapt the information to your child’s age and understanding.
Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, other qualified health provider, and local public health department with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.
1. What is 冠状病毒 / 冠狀病毒 Coronavirus (CoVid-19)?
细菌 / 細菌 (Xìjùn / Bacteria) and 病毒 (bìngdú / viruses) are tiny germs that we can see only with a microscope.
Many types of viruses and bacteria exist, and they can change over time into different subtypes (eg, strains).
冠状病毒 / 冠狀病毒 (Guānzhuàng bìngdú / Coronavirus) is a type of 病毒 , not a 细菌 / 細菌.
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that have been around for years and cause the common cold and respiratory infections. Under a microscope, the virus has crown-like spikes, which inspired the name 冠状病毒 / 冠狀病毒.
Novel Coronavirus (also known as CoVid-19), is a new strain that emerged from China in winter 2019.
Symptoms of Coronavirus (CoVid-19)
CoVid-19 symptoms are similar to other infections in many ways, which can make the infection tricky to recognize.
Some people have no symptoms. Others may have 1 week of vague problems, such as body aches, cough, abdominal pain, and low fever. Most people recover without problems.
However, other people have trouble breathing and develop 肺炎 (fèiyán / pneumonia), a serious infection of the lungs, usually during the 2nd week of illness.
Since the symptoms can be confused with other infections, call your health care provider to see if you should be tested for CoVid-19 or another infection. Try to call before going anywhere so the office or hospital can direct you to the appropriate location.
2. Who is at greatest risk of serious Coronavirus infection?
Adults, especially the elderly and those with chronic health issues, are at greatest risk of life-threatening 肺炎 complications from Coronavirus.
On the other hand, children seem to catch Coronavirus less often than adults.
Based on data from China and other countries, children who have contracted Coronavirus tend to have mild symptoms resembling the common cold.
So far, most children do not get dangerous complications.
3. What can we do to decrease spread of infection?
Since Coronavirus is highly contagious, optimizing prevention is key.
We can slow the spread of germs by limiting unnecessary outings AND optimizing hygiene.
Limit non-essential outings
Although not explicitly discussed in NPR’s Chinese Coronavirus comic, an incredibly important strategy is avoiding crowds and non-essential travel.
Even if we have no symptoms, we can still transmit infection to vulnerable people around us.
Since Coronavirus has spread rapidly from China to all over the world, we we canceled a trip to San Francisco last weekend.
My kids kids were disappointed about missing their first NBA basketball game, but we talked to them about how social distancing is necessary for public health.
Then yesterday, the NBA shut down the whole season after a basketball player was diagnosed and quarantined.
Preventive measures might seem overkill, especially since the statistical numbers appear low in certain parts of the United States.
However, due to lack of available tests, Coronavirus cases are accelerating through community spread.
Therefore, we explained to our kids that contagious infection can be decreased by being proactive rather than reactive.
In many communities, schools have shut down, workers have switched to teleconferences, and concerts are canceled.
Even though younger people seem to be at low risk, we can protect persons who are older or with weak immune systems by staying home and avoiding crowds.
Proper hygiene should be encouraged in a kid-friendly way:
- 勤洗手 (Qín xǐshǒu / Wash your hands often)
- 对着胳膊肘打喷嚏 / 對著胳膊肘打噴嚏 (Duìzhe gēbó zhǒu dǎ pēntì / Sneeze into your elbow)
- 不要摸你的脸 / 不要摸你的臉 (Bùyào mō nǐ de liǎn / Avoid touching your face)
Hands should be washed thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with liquid soap and water.
If soap is not available, a pea-sized amount of hand sanitizer can be rubbed between fingers as well as the palm and the backs of the hand. Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles has more tips on safe hand sanitizer use.
Gently remind kids to sneeze into the elbow as a regular habit to prevent large 液滴 (yè dī / droplets) from spraying everywhere!
As for their face, I try to explain that all of those holes (eyes, nose, mouth) are easy doors for germs to enter. This seems to help them understand the importance of resisting the impulse.
However, we all know that keeping their hands away from their face is challenging, so we should try to keep them home when ill.
For reassurance, we remind kids that their natural immune system is defending their body!
Also, thanks to modern medicine, we are up-to-date on vaccinations, including influenza, which gives us a few less germs to worry about!
4. Viruses can affect anyone
Anyone can contract or spread the virus, regardless of their appearance.
Unfortunately, Asians around the world have experienced increased racism during the Coronavirus outbreak.
The truth is that viruses don’t care what we look like on the outside and can infect anyone.
We are all humble humans that need to support each other!!!
5. Remember the helpers
Doctors, nurses, emergency medical technicians, and other medical personnel are working hard around-the-clock to diagnose and treat patients with various conditions.
Our teachers have been extra diligent about enforcing hand hygiene in school, and instructing sick kids to remain home.
We’ve already received emails from our school about contingency plans.
And we are blessed that we can at least FaceTime with family that we cannot visit during this time.
Download Chinese coronavirus comic booklet for kids
Please find NPR’s original Chinese Coronavirus with illustrations here.
Other language versions (eg, English, Spanish, Lithuanian, Russian) can be found here.
Please review the Terms & Conditions before downloading any materials.
The following changes were made from NPR’s Chinese translation, indicated by the red typeface:
- Page 3:
- Page 4:
- Page 6:
- Page 7: 这些小液滴
Droplets = 液滴 (Yè dī)， virus= 病毒 (Bìngdú)， bacteria = 细菌 / 細菌 (Xìjùn)
别担心 / 別擔心 (Bié dānxīn / Do not worry)
While it’s important to stay informed, we must remember that there is only so much we can do.
Anything can happen at anytime; I’ve lost my father to cancer, and my mother to a horrible accident, and tomorrow is never a guarantee.
I pray when I feel unsettled and present all of my worries to God. This is the bible verse that I read over and over when I need a reminder, and I pray it can give you comfort as well.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
应当毫无忧虑，只要凡事借着祷告祈求，带着感恩的心，把你们所要的告诉 神。 7 这样， 神所赐超过人能了解的平安，必在基督耶稣里，保守你们的心思意念。腓立比书 4:6-7 CNVS
應當毫無憂慮，只要凡事藉著禱告祈求，帶著感恩的心，把你們所要的告訴 神。 7 這樣， 神所賜超過人能了解的平安，必在基督耶穌裡，保守你們的心思意念。腓立比书 4:6-7 CNVT
Evidenced-based websites for Coronavirus updates
- World Health Organization
- Stanford Health
- Harvard Health
- Healthy Children (American Academy of Pediatrics)
Other helpful health resources for kids in Chinese
- Doudou, Wash Your Hands 豆豆，去把手洗干净——掌握正确的洗手方法，养成洗手好习惯！(CHALK Academy)
- Human Body Books for Kids in Chinese, English, and Korean (CHALK Academy)
- Chinese Magic School Bus Science Books (CHALK Academy)
- I’m Not Afraid! Guide for Emotional Well-Being in the Epidemic 我不害怕 面對冠狀病毒的心態 (天恩 Tinyan on Facebook)
Has Coronavirus affected your community?
How is your family and community coping through this time?
What resources have been helpful for your family during this time?