SINGAPORE - As more kids younger than 12 contract Covid-19, a new free children’s e-book is available to help them and their families make sense of the recovery process.
What Do I Do If I’m Covid Positive? is the second e-book written by Emily Lim-Leh and illustrated by Josef Lee, about fighting the virus. The first, I Can Recover At Home!, was released in November.
Since then, health protocols have changed and the Ministry of Health approached the team to produce this follow-up, which complements the first title.
"The Covid-19 situation has been so fluid, from Delta to Omicron," says Lim-Leh. "As such, we have continued with our e-book format. It's the quickest way to disseminate this book resource through our social media and WhatsApp network."
Writing and editing as well as illustrating and designing a book, whether it is for a print or digital format, require the same amount of work, she says.
There was also the challenge of getting it out speedily with the latest health protocols and information, adds Lim-Leh, 50, who has published over 40 children's books.
Lee, 42, is an experienced illustrator and a full-time creative director at a design and animation studio.
The Covid-19 books were volunteer projects for both of them.
This time around, their story looks at the recovery process of a nine-year-old boy who has to stay in a Covid-19 treatment facility with his mum.
It also follows an 11-year-old girl who is assessed by her family doctor to have mild symptoms and can recover at home. She wants to be independent and chooses to isolate in a bedroom by herself.
But her spirits fall when she is still tested positive after a few days. She then gladly accepts her mum's offer to move into her room with her till she recovers.
"Parents and kids will be able to identify with this scenario," says Dr Darryl Lim, a consultant paediatrician from Kinder Clinic at Mount Alvernia Medical Centre.
"Some of them may feel discouraged with a repeatedly positive ART (antigen rapid test) result every day - to them, it's like continually passing or failing a test. So, even though we want to keep Covid-19-negative family members safe, parents have had to step in to sayang the kids and bolster their mood."
Dr Lim had mooted the first e-book and collaborated with Lim-Leh and Lee.
He provided a paediatrician's perspective for the second e-book as well, while the Ministry of Health shared medical input.
Readers can find answers to frequently asked questions and useful websites to cope with Covid-19.
Lim-Leh says the new title has been well received by the community, reaching 30,000 downloads from her blog within five days of the launch on Feb 20.
An international school in Cambodia has also e-mailed to seek permission to translate the book for children in its country.
Recently, a school in Hong Kong informed the team that it is circulating the first book. There was a subsequent spike of 4,000 downloads, pushing that book's downloads to past 20,000.
Both e-books are also widely shared on WhatsApp, so the copies going around are much higher, Lim-Leh notes.
She adds: "The primary focus of our new e-book is to share that our neighbourhood general practitioner clinics, polyclinics, paediatric clinics and telemedicine providers will now be able to care for children who are assessed as low risk with mild symptoms.
"This allows family doctors to continue caring for children and their families in a familiar environment. It also allows hospitals, care facilities and healthcare resources to focus on those who are of high risk or have more severe symptoms."