At the beginning of the month, a free audiobook which explains the global pandemic, written and narrated by award winning children’s author Giles Paley-Phillips, was launched online. The audiobook, commissioned by kids’ audio brand tonies – a brand that has seen a 500 per cent uplift in online sales across Europe during lockdown – has been downloaded 2,777 times since its release. The story was created as a resource to help parents who are struggling to find the right words to discuss this difficult topic and encourage open parent-child conversation around Covid-19.
Manon Sel, tonies’ UK Country Manager, said: “Stories are such a powerful communication tool and during times of uncertainty their power to connect, educate and uplift for both adults and children is more vital than ever. We hope our free audiobook will prove a helping hand for any parents struggling to explain to their children social distancing, school closures or hygiene, but most importantly that it communicates a message of hope and togetherness.”
Entitled In This Together, the story is written in rhyme and tells the tale of Rosie, a seven-year-old who initially believes that her school being closed is an extended holiday. Rosie’s mum and dad are faced with the tricky task of explaining why she’s not in school due to the ‘microscopic bug’, why she’s not able to see her friends and how they can protect her grandparents and the elderly.
It comes as new research shows that 65 per cent of adults are seeking material that is helpful and practical in the wake of the pandemic*, with Google trends revealing a sharp increase in searches for ‘How to explain coronavirus to kids’ over the last seven days. With more than a third (36 per cent) of children admitting they are worried at this time**, the audiobook covers what everyone is doing to help combat the spread of the virus – including unpacking the rules around social distancing and isolation with instructions on the two-metre rule and washing your hands.
Though the subject matter is one of seriousness and there are some challenging topics addressed in the narrative, the overall message is a positive one, with the book including ways to stay connected and inspired while at home. With new research revealing that nearly half (48 per cent) of children are sad to be apart from their friends**, Paley-Phillips also conveys the theme of togetherness, from communicating and learning via new technologies, to advice on supporting those who may need it most - and ending with a nod to the global community united in facing this issue.
Speaking of why he had decided to get involved with the project, Giles Paley-Phillips, author and narrator of the In This Together story, said: “Having two young sons myself, I know first-hand how difficult it can be to start having these conversations, especially when as adults, we’re still trying to understand and process this unprecedented crisis which is evolving on a daily basis. So, when tonies approached me to write a story that could potentially help parents who are struggling to find those words, I felt compelled to say yes – I hope that Rosie’s tale will provide some reassurance and positivity during such a difficult time.”
An extract from In This together:
That’s the most important thing.”
tonies is the world’s first audio player designed specifically for children. The audiobook is available to download free at tonies.com/staying-in-tune. Those who already own a Toniebox can upload it onto a Creative-Tonie figure.
*statistic taken from study of 1,000 UK adults undertaken by research and insights agency delineate, March 2020.
**statistics taken from study of 667 kids in the US and the UK aged between six and 16 years, undertaken by Super Awesome, March 2020