“Hi, my name is Malia, and I’m a Social Epidemiologist. Not to be confused with a friendly hippopotamus.” So reads the first page of a new book from Portland publishers A Kids Book About, but this one is a little different than its previous releases: It was produced in a matter of days, and is being released online, in e-book form only, and for free. Its name: A Kids Book About COVID-19.

The new book uses the company’s trademark sharp design and play with typeface and illustration to help kids read and talk about COVID-19: what it is, how it spreads, and what they can do to keep themselves healthy.

Written by Malia Jones, a social epidemiologist based at the University of Wisconsin whose practical March 5 Facebook post about coronavirus was shared more than 81,000 times, A Kids Book About COVID-19 was the brainchild of Portland tech entrepreneur and A Kids Book About CEO Jelani Memory who found himself stumped at how to respond to his own children’s questions. “I find myself in the same boat as every other parent, which is what do you tell your kids, what do you say,” says Memory. “You don’t want to freak them out but you want to keep them up to date some way.”

So Memory and his team, who have produced 19 books to date on subjects like racism, anxiety, money, failure, and more, put together A kids book about COVID-19, and they did it in record time.

“We workshopped the book on Monday, we designed most of it Tuesday and are doing the final editing work Wednesday and releasing it Thursday,” says Memory, who formed the company in 2019 with partners Jonathan Simcoe and Alex Trevor Devine.

Unlike the company’s previous work, A Kids Book About COVID-19 is currently only in e-book form, and is being made available completely free of charge through the company’s website. “There’s no way we should be charging anybody for a resource that everybody should have,” says Memory. By making this one an e-book, he added “We can update it as often as we want to.”

A Kids Book About COVID-19 is available here for free and can be downloaded and read anywhere in the world.

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