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Newsroom   Never too young to start: Free book for kids to stay safe and smiling amid COVID-19

Mon, 15 Jun 2020
Never too young to start: Free book for kids to stay safe and smiling amid COVID-19

Professor Caryn West consulted on the COPE Disaster Series books for children that help to increase preparedness and disaster resilience.

(COPE COVID-19 Stay Safe and Smiling is a new title in the COPE Disaster Series books for children)

Professor Caryn West, Dean of Research at James Cook University in Singapore, has provided consultation on COPE COVID-19 Stay Safe and Smiling. The book is available online for free, and is sponsored and supported by UNICEF (The United Nations Children's Fund). What’s more, it is the latest instalment in the COPE Disaster Series books for children, written by Martha Keswick and illustrated by Mariko Jesse.

In these books, vibrant and engaging artwork coupled with captivating stories help children to increase their disaster preparedness and resilience. The COPE COVID-19 book in particular covers lockdown and post-lockdown scenarios, and teaches children easy-to-understand steps to stay safe during these troubling times while also encouraging them to stay smiling.

Professor West said, “Being invited to collaborate on the COPE books was an absolute honour. Not only did it allow me to work with international colleagues and friends from the disaster space, but it provided me the opportunity to value add and invest in the leaders of the future. It is today’s children that will be the problem solvers and decision makers of the future, so investing in their skills and knowledge is critical.”

JCUS-Prof-Caryn-West

(Pictured: Professor Caryn West)

Professor West holds a diverse research portfolio which includes disaster preparedness, mitigation, and recovery. This allowed her to share her expertise as a technical advisor to not only the COPE COVID-19 book, but also the COPE Cyclone book.

She explained, “Being able to ensure that the books were conceptually correct, that a common disaster language was being used, and that the storyline reflected the place the disaster happened and the events that took place were all really important to ensuring credibility and authenticity to the message being delivered.”

Commenting on the COPE COVID-19 book, Professor West said, “With something like a global pandemic, children have been exposed to conversations, news stories and experiences such as isolation, illness and at times deaths, that they are ill-equipped to deal with.”

“The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030), clearly states that children have a vital role to play in strengthening community resilience and even shaping legislation to better protect against disasters. The COPE series not only encourages children to learn how they can value add but aims to empower themby giving them the tools and understanding necessary to survive.”

As anxieties run high amidst the current situation, reading is a good start to educate the younger generation on how they can manage the “new normal” more effectively as well as make a difference.

Check out the COPE Disaster Book Series here.

Check out Professor Caryn West’s staff and research profiles here.

Contacts

Research: Professor Caryn West researchdean-singapore@jcu.edu.au
Media: Pinky Sibal pinky.sibal@jcu.edu.au