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Book to help children understand pandemic

Published: 7 April 2020 at 15:41

Front cover of the book: The Day The Lines Changed

Anglia Ruskin MA student Kelley Donner’s book is for children ages 2-8

A student from Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) has produced a book to help young children understand the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Day the Lines Changed was written and illustrated by Kelley Donner, who is studying for a Master’s degree in Illustration & Book Arts at ARU in Cambridge.

Aimed at children aged between two and eight years old, The Day the Lines Changed helps to explain what is happening right now and provides an optimistic view of the future. 

The inspiration came to Kelley, a mother of three young boys, while self-isolating with her family at their home in Trumpington, Cambridge.

After fielding a stream of questions about COVID-19 from her three boys, while simultaneously trying to work on an art project, she had the idea for a book that could explain the virus in an indirect way.

The story begins with a green line, who lives together with her family and goes to school during the week. Then one day some of the orange and purple lines in town begin to turn crooked and suddenly everything changes for the green line and her family.

The 45-year-old, who is originally from Kansas in the United States, said:

“My children have asked a lot of questions about what the Coronavirus is, how it travels, where it came from, whether their grandparents will be okay, and why they can’t go to school. 

“Sometimes their questions are really complex and I realise just how much their little brains are trying to wrap their heads around what is going on. My husband and I are trying to limit the amount of negative Coronavirus talk that we do in front of them, and that’s when I got the idea for The Day the Lines Changed.

“After sending around the story to some family and friends, and getting positive feedback, I decided I needed to share it with others. I realised that teachers, parents, and caregivers need resources right now to help them explain to children what a pandemic is, while still giving children a much-needed positive view of the future. I hope this story will help to make those difficult conversations a little bit easier.”


The Day the Lines Changed is available as a paperback and ebook through Amazon. All profits from UK sales in April will be donated to charities including Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust’s Head to Toe, which focuses on mental health, and the Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust.

Kelley, who worked as a teacher in the United States and Europe, has previously published the picture books Little Jack Thomson’s Magnificent Brain and Ball! Ball! Ball!  For more information about Kelley and her work, visit her website at https://www.kelleydonner.com/