The children’s storybook, My Hero is You, how kids can fight COVID-19, was published one year ago to help children understand, adapt and cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. It was initially launched in six languages. Today, there are over 137 translations and more than 50 multimedia adaptations and accessible formats available.
My Hero is you provides an explanation for children about how they can protect themselves and others from COVID-19, and how to manage the emotional challenges related to the pandemic. It was created by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (IASC MHPSS RG); a unique collaboration of UN agencies, national and international governmental organizations and international agencies providing mental health and psychosocial support in emergency settings.
In March 2020, the IASC MHPSS RG sent out a survey asking what type of information children needed to know about COVID-19 in order to help them manage the pandemic. The storybook is based on these survey responses from over 1700 children from 104 countries, who helped shape this success story of global reach. Since its release, My Hero is you is one of the most translated children’s books and one of the most translated UN documents ever.
“The worldwide appreciation and extraordinary use of My Hero is You shows what is possible when we listen, and we come together. Children told us what they needed and what their concerns were. We came together as MHPSS community to respond to those needs. The outcome is a storybook that can be of such help, that the world has taken it and made it theirs. We couldn’t be happier.” – Carmen Valle-Trabadelo, Technical Advisor in the Psychosocial Centre and co-chair of the IASC Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings.
Adaptations of My Hero is you include braille transcripts, sign language interpretations, audio files, animations, colouring books, educational materials, audio files, puppet theatres and more. These adaptations have been used in schools, homes and families. The story’s imaginary character, Ario, who flies around the world to visit and support children, has become a source of support and a close friend for children worldwide. Take a seat on Ario’s wings and read the attached report which includes highlights of My Hero is you one-year journey around the world.