Highlights: One year on from the release of the IASC MHPSS RG children’s storybook on COVID-19 in April 2020

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One year ago, during March 2020, over 1700 children from 104 countries helped to create a children’s storybook on COVID-19 that has reached many hundreds of thousands of children worldwide and became a success story of global reach. The children’s storybook My Hero is You, how kids can fight COVID-19, was initially launched in six languages, and one year later, there are now over 138 translations and more than 50 multimedia adaptations and accessible formats available.

My Hero is You is a project of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (IASC MHPSS RG). This Reference Group is a unique collaboration of United Nations agencies, national and international nongovernmental organizations and international agencies providing mental health and psychosocial support in emergency settings. The IASC MHPSS RG developed a wide range of mental health and psychosocial support resources and practical tools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can find the full list here.

The IASC MHPSS RG used storytelling to share mental health messages on COVID-19 with children. The book for 6-11 year-olds explains to children how they can protect themselves and others from COVID-19 and how to manage difficult emotions related to this pandemic.

After its release in March 2020, My Hero is You has become one of the most translated children’s books and one of the most translated UN documents ever. Translations and adaptations have been produced by IASC MHPSS RG members and other collaborating UN organizations, international and local nongovernmental organizations, universities, governments, professional associations and individuals. A variety of accessible formats and creative adaptations were developed based on the story at the international, national and local level, such as braille transcripts, sign language interpretations, audio files, animations, colouring books, educational materials, audio files, puppet theatres and more. These translations and adaptations have been used in schools, homes and families, and the story’s imaginary character, ‘‘Ario,’’ has become a source of support and a close friend for children worldwide.

Thank you sincerely to everyone who has helped Ario reach as many children as possible to share messages that support the mental and psychosocial wellbeing of our children during the unprecedented COVID-19 times.

In 2020, the My Hero is You storybook for children on COVID-19 became a story of global solidarity and a symphony of collaboration among actors and communities to support children and their families’ wellbeing and its imaginary character Ario has travelled around the world supporting children, teachers and families. Take a seat on Ario’s wings and read the highlights of the one year journey around the world.