Ahmad, Layla (2021). When Mom’s Away. Illus. Farida Zaman. Second Story Press.
A young girl helps out her family and community, trying to be brave when her mother, a busy doctor, is forced to move into the garage to protect her family from COVID.
Arias, Ismail (2021). The Story of Baldomera. NubeOcho.
Based on the true story of Baldomera, a donkey, who was reunited with her owner after three months of confinement due to COVID.
Arnold, Elena K. (2022). Pip & Zip. Illus. Doug Salati. Roaring Brook.
Although the world is closed up and waiting during the pandemic, hope and life continues. A family finds several eggs on the edge of a lake and put them in an incubator, waiting to see what will emerge from the shells—much as the world is waiting to emerge from the pandemic.
Floca, Brian (2021). Keep the City Going. Atheneum.
An ode to the essential workers keeping the country operating during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Guest, Patrick (2021). Windows. Illus. Jonathan Bentley. Starry Forest.
Five children from different parts of the world connect and draw strength from their communities from behind the safety of their own windows.
Joyner, Andrew (2021). Love Was Inside. Random House.
Without mentioning the pandemic, this book focuses on a young girl who has to stay inside, where there is love, and dreams of being able to go outside again.
Kramar, Nicki (2021). Sharing a Smile. Illus. Ashley Evans. Simon & Schuster.
Sophie is worried about going outside and wearing a mask, but realizes she is not the only one who feels scared and spreads a small act of kindness in her neighborhood.
Mourtada, Racha (2021). I’ll Love You from Afar. Illus. Sasha Haddad. Harper.
An imaginative girl shares the many ways she can still show her love to friends and family who are far, far away.
O’Meara, Kitty (2020). And the People Stayed Home. Illus. Stefano Di Cristofaro. Tra.
An illustrated poem conveys a message about the need for healing of people and Earth and how people discovered new ways to live and to care for the planet during lockdown.
Pham, LeUyen (2021). Outside, Inside. Roaring Brook.
Adversity and growth were experienced individually and collectively when the world sheltered in place during the early days of the pandemic when everyone was forced to inside, except for essential workers.
Share Your Rainbow: 18 Artists Draw Their Hope for the Future (2020). Random House.
Illustrators imagine what is represented by the rainbows children placed in their windows while in quarantine, creating visual images to draw children’s hope for the future.
Tinder, Theresa (2021). There is a Rainbow. Illus. Grant Snider. Chronicle.
Even when we’re apart, “here” and “there” can still be connected by a rainbow.
Yaccarino, Dan (2021). The Longest Storm. Minedition.
COVID is depicted as a storm that confines a family in tight quarters, leading to disagreements and separation until they find a way to reconnect and go outside to a world that requires work.
Yaghjian, Clare and family (2021). While I Wait. Polaris.
A family created this book together showing children waiting for bits of life to re-open, while at the same time having fun and using their creativity indoors.
Yoshitake, Shinsuke (2021). There Must Be More Than That. Chronicle. Translated from Japanese.
When her brother tells her that the future of Earth is bleak, a young girl’s grandmother assures her that there are many possible futures and encourages her to imagine alternatives.
Middle Grade Novels
Adderson, Caroline (2021). Sunny Days Inside and Other Stories. Groundwood.
Each short story relates the differing experiences of children and their families in an urban apartment building and their struggles as well as how they come to help each other.
Bruchac, Joseph (2021). Rez Dogs. Dial.
During the pandemic, a Wabanaki girl is quarantined with her grandparents on the reservation, befriending a large dog and listening to the old stories about how her ancestors survived.
Burt, Jake (2020). Cleo Porter and the Body Electric. Feiwel & Friends.
A dystopia about a future world in which everyone is sealed in apartments without windows or doors, only interacting with drones after a pandemic. Twelve-year-old Cleo receives a package with life-saving medicine meant for someone else and must decide what to do.
Chadda, Sarwat (2021). City of the Plague God. Disney.
Sikander Aziz teams up with the hero Gilgamesh to stop Nergal, the ancient god of plagues, from wiping out the population of Manhattan. Adventure based on Mesopotamian mythology.
Grimes, Nikki. (2022). Garvey in the Dark. Wordsong.
A short novel in verse using tanka poems about Garvey’s life during the pandemic as he explores his shared love of music with his father, fear when his father becomes ill, news reports on protests of the violence against Black people, and the desire for hope and healing.
Ibura, Ki. (2021). When the World Turned Upside Down. Scholastic.
Four friends struggle to adjust to life in quarantine and virtual school and to navigate issues of race and social justice, realizing that many in their apartment building need help. They each have to decide what it means to part of a community and to make the world safer for others.
Walters, Eric (2020). Don’t Stand So Close To Me. Orca Books.
Quinn and her friends are excited when their spring break is extended but then the reality of the pandemic becomes apparent and their lives change.
Young Adult Novels
Baker, Chandler (2021). Hello (From Here). Dial.
Maxine and Jonah meet as California is going into lockdown due to Covid-19 and must learn how to build their relationship at a distance through personal tragedies and triumphs.
Carson, Rae (2021). Any Sign of Life. Greenwillow.
A teen waves up to find out that a virus has wiped out everyone she knows and loves. She finds a few survivors and goes in search of food and safety as well as answers to what is really happening. A near dystopia thriller.
Farley, Christopher (2021). Zero O’Clock. Black Sheep.
A teen is already dealing with OCD, anxiety, and depression when the COVID lockdown occurs, leading to worries about her mother’s new relationship and racial injustice. Journal entries, emails, text messages, etc.
Gao, Laura (2021). Messy Roots—A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese-American. Balzer & Bray.
A graphic novel memoir about a teen who grew up in Wuhan, China before immigrating to Texas, later dealing with Wuhan as a public name during COVID. A coming-of-age story of a girl who is trying to figure out her attraction to girls and her desire to make the basketball team.
Reynolds, Jason & Giffin, Jason. (2022). Ain’t Burned All Right. Atheneum.
A visual testimony combining art and poetry in mixed-media collages on the threats to a Black family facing illness due to the pandemic and watching news coverage of systemic violence targeted to Black people. An exploration of how we care for one another as a society.
Rivera, Lilliam (2021). We Light Up the Sky. Bloomsbury.
In a dystopia set immediately after the pandemic, three Latinx teens encounter an alien and try to warn the world while wondering whether the real enemy is aliens or their own society.
Together Apart (2020). Delacorte
Short stories by different YA authors about teens who find romance during the COVID-19 pandemic. A range of characters of color and sexual orientations.
Brown, Don (2021). A Shot in the Arm. Amulet. (Big Ideas the Changed the World series)
A graphic novel on the history of vaccines from smallpox to COVID-19 to protect people from infectious diseases.
Hopkinson, Deborah (2021). The Deadliest Diseases Then and Now. Scholastic.
Facts, pictures, and diagrams about diseases–from plague to smallpox to polio to flu–connects the current pandemic to the deadliest diseases from long ago.
Messner, Kate (2021). Dr. Fauci: How a Boy from Brooklyn Became America’s Doctor. Illus. Alexandra Bye. Simon & Schuster.
Picturebook biography about Fauci’s childhood and his work with the National Institutes of Health, culminating with his high-profile work on COVID.
Messner, Kate (2021). History Smashers: Plagues and Pandemics. Illus. Falynn Koch. Random.
With a mix of sidebars, illustrations, photos, and graphic panels, this book uncovers the hidden truths about history’s pandemics, from the Black Death to COVID-19.
Peters, Marilee. (2021). Patient Zero: Solving the Mysteries of Deadly Epidemics. Annick.
The history of epidemics, focusing on the great plague epidemic of 1665, yellow fever in Cuba in 1900, ebola in Zaire in 1976, and COVID-19.
Todaro, Lenora (2021). Sea Lions in the Parking Lot. Minedition.
Twelve real-life stories of creatures around the globe who reclaimed their habitat during the COVID-19 quarantine show how to help wildlife by fighting habitat loss.
Additional books about pandemics and epidemics
These books are also on an annotated booklist that can be viewed here.
Anderson, Laurie Halse (2000). Fever, 1793. Simon & Schuster. YA Historical fiction (Yellow fever)
Bartoletti, Susan C. (2015). Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America. HMH. Biography (Typhoid fever, 1904)
Brown, Don (2019). Fever Year: The Killer Flu of 1918. Graphic nonfiction (Spanish flu)
Davis, Kenneth (2018). More Deadly Than War: The Hidden History of the Spanish Flu and the First World War. Holt. History (1918)
Getz, David & Peter MCarty (2017). Purple Death: The Mysterious Spanish Flu of 1918. Square Fish.
Hopkinson, Deborah (2015). The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel. Dell. Historical fiction (Cholera, 1852)
Jarrow, Gail (2016). Bubonic Plague: When Plague Invaded America. Calkins Creek. History (1900)
Jarrow, Gail (2015). Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary. History (Typhoid fever, 1904)
Jarrow, Gail (2014). Red Madness: How a Medical Mystery Changed What We Eat. Calkins Creek. History (1900).
Love, Ann & Slavin, Bill (2013). Pandemic Survival: It’s Why You’re Alive. Tundra. History
Lucier, Makiia (2014). A Death-Struck Year. HMH. YA Historical fiction (Spanish flu, 1918)
Murphy, Jim (2003). An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793. Clarion.
Corona Virus: A Book for Children (2020). Illus. Alex Scheffler. Nosy Crow.
Westerfield, Scott & Puvilland Alex (2017). Spill Zone series. First Second. YA Science Fiction. Graphic Novel.
Winters, Cat (2014). In the Shadow of Blackbirds. Amulet. YA Historical Fantasy (Spanish flu, 1918)