Social media campaigns led by authors and celebrities bring books to children in isolation. Image: Unsplash
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- More than 90% of students worldwide have been affected by lockdowns.
- Children's authors, illustrators and teachers are reading books and providing lockdown tips via social media.
- More than 100 celebrities have read books on Instagram to raise money to provide lunches to American children.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected more than 1.5 billion students across the globe with 192 country-wide closures, according to UNESCO’s latest figures. To help calm children in isolation, authors and celebrities have put together unique digital storytime initiatives to help spread the joy of reading until school can start again.
On 2 April – International Children’s Book Day – the International Publishers Association, UNICEF and World Health Organization (WHO) launched the #ReadTheWorld campaign.
The virtual series features children’s authors reading excerpts of their books online for millions of children to enjoy.
Italian author Elisabetta Dami was the first to participate, sitting alongside her protagonist Geronimo Stilton, a character known and loved around the world. Together, they read, answered questions and explained the importance of staying at home to young viewers.
To the delight of the adults listening over their children's shoulders, Elisabetta and Geronimo even suggested fun ways for kids to contribute around the house and help alleviate their parents' workload.
Save with Stories
American actresses Amy Adams and Jennifer Garner launched Save with Stories, an Instagram account where celebrities read children’s books aloud to raise money for charity.
In the US alone, 30 million children rely on school lunches in order to be fed. For this reason, the duo teamed up with charities Save the Children and No Kid Hungry to raise money for students at home who may need food, books and more.
In the three weeks since the launch of their account, more than 100 celebrities have already joined the cause and posted videos of themselves reading.
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Meanwhile Romper, the self-titled "digital destination for millennial moms," has created #OperationStorytime. The campaign has a constant stream of authors, illustrators and teachers reading books to children. This includes Scott’s Studio Storytime, where children’s author Scott Magoon reads and draws stories in front of viewers once a week.
His latest video story stars Hugo, an artist who thinks he’s already seen and painted everything in his house – a sentiment that no doubt resonates for many stuck inside right now.
All of these authors and celebrities offer opportunities for children around the world to travel without leaving their homes – and as Hugo learns in his story, sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes, for inspiration to strike.
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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.
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