It was the 18th March and I was in the middle of trying to sort out flights home from the UK before the borders closed in the height of the COVID-19 drama when I got an email from my illustrator Melissa Salvarani who wrote saying she’d finished writing a new book that talks about everyday situations in which we use our hands, everything we touch and the bacteria that live on the palms of the hands.
‘Before I started writing it’, she told me, ‘I did a lot of research on bacteria, viruses and coronavirus and I decided to use my hands as the protagonists. They will be ‘humanised’ hands with eyes, mouth and legs. The book will explain the dangers of poor hand hygiene to the child and show how to wash them properly.’ Well as you might imagine I was hooked by the idea – keen to know more.
Melissa is an incredible illustrator and moreover she is a woman who is passionate about her world, the environment she lives in and is determined to share her belief in climate action with her audience.
Melissa went on to explain to me, ‘In a devastating moment like this for the world, with a global pandemic, every day, at least a hundred times a day we are told to stay at home, to go out only to shop, to protect ourselves with masks and gloves and to wash our hands both when we are out and when we are at home. This is why I think it is hand hygiene that must be the protagonist.’ What a clever idea – and one I believed would capture the imagination of young children. I was in!
So almost four months to the day since that email here we are – the proud creators of Amazing Hands – a book of information, facts and joyous illustrations that take the fear out of this scary virus and a book that explains simply to its young audience what a virus is and how to stay safe by simple hygiene routines.
I am so proud of the way we have brought this STEM book together and how although explaining big topics is indeed a fun read. We have worked hard to identify how best to portray ideas at age appropriate levels and to do this in an inclusive manner that will appeal to audiences globally. The book is available in English and will be coming out soon in other languages. Order your copy now online!