2020 has been a traumatic and confusing year for the best of us, but the lasting impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on children is easily overlooked. As part of our public service mission, HKFP commissioned a bilingual, copyright-friendly children’s book to help youngsters in Hong Kong – and beyond – understand what is happening.
Download the book:
Letter to parents – click to view
When going through difficult times, parents often wonder and worry, “What will be the impact of this on my child? How can I stop them from being traumatised?”
Kitty N. Wong sought to produce a simple child friendly book to help reduce the traumatic impact of the recent pandemic upon children. Together with the experienced teacher and author Daniel Levia, we set out to make this happen.
While the personal impact of the Covid-19 pandemic will vary, there is a common thread we are all experiencing; uncertainty. When we feel uncertain for prolonged periods of time it can set off feelings of fear and helplessness. It is hard for us to stay grounded but if we are lucky we may have learnt our own strategies for coping from the past that we can now draw upon. With limited life experience, and brains that are still developing, children depend upon us (their network of safe people) to lean upon. You are your child’s most important resource!
Two very useful strategies for building your child’s resilience are storytelling and fostering personal connection. Stories help children to make sense of their experiences and help them to recognise their own feelings, as well as the feelings of others. Feeling connected to our significant others is so important for regulating big emotions and having space to problem solve challenges in our daily lives. Snuggling up with your child to read this book ticks both of these resilience building boxes!
“Bobby Baboon and the Invisible Buggies” is a heartfelt, hopeful and empowering story set in Asia. Bobby’s story aims to help your child make sense of the pandemic and of the many feelings that may have come up as a result.
Bobby goes on an educational journey with Owl, releases his feelings and comes into a more empowered position. With the use of the reminder phrase PASS (Paws, Arms, Snouts & Spirits) helping your child to feel more empowered too.
Lastly, Owl holds a hopeful picture of the future while acknowledging the current challenges and difficult emotions. May we all try to embody this wise owl and hold the space for our children’s emotions (however imperfectly). Of course this is not always possible and we too as adults need to seek out our own support systems at those times.
Bobby’s story is an inspirational tale of how he was able to turn around his feelings of despair into hope. Through connection and with support he innovates new ways to play with and feel closer to his friends.
We hope that this book provides an opportunity for emotional connection for your child, as well as acting as a springboard for you as parents to have meaningful and productive conversations about this health crisis.
Registered Play & Creative Arts Therapist in Hong Kong
Download accompanying worksheets:
Adapt & translate:
The digital book is shared under a CC-BY-NC-SA: Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike (2020) Creative Commons license – it lets others remix, adapt, translate and build upon the book non-commercially, as long as new creations include full credits and the identical licence.
If you have translated “Bobby” into another language, please get in touch, so we can share you work!
Kitty N. Wong is an artist and fashion illustrator living in Hong Kong. Kitty made Perspective Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40” and her work has been commissioned by brands such as Apple, Dazed Digital, Tiffany & Co. and Lane Crawford. The inspiration for the character Bobby Baboon was drawn from her childhood stuffed animal which – as a child – she affectionately named “King Kong Baby”. You can follow her work on her website or on Instagram.
Daniel Levia is a Hong Kong primary school teacher with more than 15 years of experience specialising in drama and English. He runs storytelling events, has won awards for acting and directing in local theatre productions, and recently published his first children’s book Elephant’s Journey, a heart-warming tale about a young elephant in search of a new home after the local river dries up.
Rachel Winston is an experienced registered play and creative arts therapist in Hong Kong, dedicated to helping children heal from trauma. Rachel has been featured in local and international magazines including Playtimes, Play for Life and as a guest on RTHK Radio 3. Follow FullCupPlayTherapy.com where she publishes free articles for parents and educators to spread awareness of Play Therapy and child mental health.