Introduction: DIY Children's Book Teaching COVID

This is a short little book that teaches kids about COVID 19.

The idea is NOT to make the book FOR them but to make the book WITH them. Have them help draw the pictures and decorate the pages, even write the story. My hope is that they will understand how the bacteria survives and is spread, the risk of exposure, the importance of social distancing and proper hygiene.

With better understanding, there is less fear. Feel free to adapt this any way you want. Be safe.


For this project I used:

  • 8x11 white cardstock (2 pieces)
  • a thicker paper for the cover.Some ideas:
    • manilla folder inserts to shoe organizer ( this is what I used )
    • inserts to mattress comforters etc
    • cereal boxes or similar
    • cardboard (a little harder to put the needle through FYI)
    • Or simply adhere a couple of sheets of cardstock together
  • 12x12 patterned double-sided paper (1 sheet)
  • washi tape
  • scissors
  • glue
  • ruler
  • markers/ crayons or whatever you want to decorate it with
  • scoreboard and scoring tool (not necessary)
  • a compass (not necessary) - You just need something to poke holes)
  • needle and embroidery floss (yarn would work too)

You can feel free to get creative and make this a tactile book and use a pipe cleaner or something to make COVID pop out. Let your imagination go and have fun. The goal is to do this with your kids so they REMEMBER these things better.

Step 1: Assemble Cover

1. I used a 9x12 inch insert from a shoe organizer I recently purchased but you can use any material you prefer.
A cereal box or doubling up on standard cardstock would work fine.

Note* We will be stitching the paper in this tutorial but, again, there are other ways to make your spine as well.

2. I glued a 12x12 piece of double-sided paper down in the center and then wrapped the ends around and glued.

3. Gently fold in half. (Fold the 12-inch side so that it is a 9x6 booklet).

4. Set aside.

Step 2: Prepare the Spine and Signature (the Pages)

1. Cut a 5x81/2 piece of cardstock and fold in half (the long way so it is now 21/2x81/2)

2 Reopen. I used a compass but you don't have to. You just need 2 holes. You want to make sure that they are at least an inch in and you want them evenly spaced. * You can do as many holes as you want but for this small booklet, 2 were sufficient.

We will go through the sewing in the next step!

3. Make sure you mark the top so that you do not accidentally flip your paper. The holes may not line up if you do. This is why I wrote on the paper!!!

4. After marking your holes, use a sharp tool, a needle, awl or end of the compass, like I did, to poke through your marked spots.

5. Next, on the backside of the cardstock, score 1/4 inch away from the right AND left sides of the center.

6. Fold the score lines, accordion-style, as shown in the photo.

7. Set aside.

8. Gather several sheets of standard 8 1/2 x 11 paper ( I used regular copy paper) and fold in half.

* I ended up using 6 pages. To figure this out I simply outlined my story idea on a scrap piece of paper first.

Step 3: Sewing Your Signature to Your Spine

Sewing the spine is not as daunting as it sounds and it is not your only option!

You can simply staple it with a couple of staples, use your actual sewing machine and zip a straight stitch right up the center or tie a long piece of yarn around the whole thing (although this one might not hold so well.)

Here, I will show you the sewing using a needle and roughly 24 inches of embroidery floss.

1. To gauge the length of floss, I just measure 3x the length of my spine. I ended up with a few inches excess.

2. I used the spine we marked earlier as a guide to mark my sheets. (Here is where you want to make sure you have the top on the top!)

3. You can paper clip the papers together if needed but with just a few pages, you probably won't need to.

4. I poked the 2 holes the same as I did in the cardstock and then I placed the cardstock behind the papers so that the papers were snug in the centerfold.

5. Start from the inside of the center of the book and make sure to leave a couple of inches of floss so you have something to tie a knot with!

6. feed the needle through the booklet holes and through the corresponding cardstock hole then cross over the back of the cardstock to the other hole and feed the needle up through the hole and in through the book pages.

7. Make sure you pull the floss snug and then repeat steps 5 and 6 once then proceed to step 8.

*Make sure when you make the second pass through the holes that you try not to thread the needle through the floss that is already there. Just gently pull the floss in one direction and feed the needle down on the opposite end of the hole. This will allow the floss to tighten better and not get tangled up.

8. Once again, pull the floss snug and remove the needle.

9. Tie a double knot near one of the holes and snip off the extra floss.

Step 4: Assembling Your Book

Grab that cover we made! Make sure you have the upside up and know where the centerfold is.

Feel free to burnish (fold and crease) it a bit better if needed.

1. Apply glue to the edge of the spine ( that cardstock with the "m" shape we just sewed the book to!)

2. Do NOT glue the whole thing! We want it to be a bit flexible.

3. Line up the center of the cover and your spine and then press it down.

4. Repeat on the front/back.

5. You should be able to see a gap at the top and bottom of your book between the spine and the cover as shown in the photo.

6. Just for some decoration and added color, I took a 4x9 piece of DSP (double-sided paper) and cut it lengthwise. I glued it alongside the book on each side.

7. For the inside cover pages, I simply used a standard piece of 81/2 x 11 white cardstock and cut it in half making 2 - 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 pieces which I glued down on the inside of the front and back of the shell of the book.

Step 5: Finishing Touches!!

Almost done!

Next, glued on some washi tape around the whole border of the book just because it covered where the paper didn't and it matched COVID. (by the way, washi tape does not stick well so use glue...)

I decorated the cover and made a final look through.

Then I set it aside and let it dry for a bit. ALL DONE!!!

You are now a bona fide author! Congrats!

Step 6: "Let's Talk About This Guy... 'COVID'"

Here is my complete little booklet, front to back! I had help from youngsters :)

Take care and stay safe!

Step 7:

Step 8:

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