Elmo Stars in New Children's Book About 'Heroes' Wearing Masks During COVID-19 Pandemic
The one and only Elmo is stepping up to the task of teaching kids why wearing a mask is not only the responsible thing to do, but downright superpower-inducing.
In Heroes Wear Masks: Elmo's Super Adventure, out Tuesday, the popular red Sesame Street Muppet holds young readers' hands as he navigates the changing world amid the COVID-19 pandemic that sees some big changes to his usual school-day routine.
The picture book guides readers through many new practices kids are going through as they head back to school, like having to wash their hands more often, social distancing in the classroom, getting their temperatures taken at regular intervals and, yes, the importance of wearing a mask.
"We are so excited to work with our extraordinary partner Sesame Workshop in bringing forth a story that can spark playful learning and offer comfort to families and children facing a new sense of normalcy," Karen Shapiro, Sourcebooks Wonderland publishing manager, says in a statement.
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The press release explains that Heroes Wear Masks "will also feature tips for parents and caregivers, including language they can use with young children around handwashing, face masks, back-to-school anxiety and other ways to stay healthy."
Of the inspiration behind the story, Sesame Workshop COO and President of Media & Education, Steve Youngwood, says in the release, "One of the most powerful things about the Sesame Street Muppets is how deeply kids identify with them. When they see their friend Elmo adjusting to something unfamiliar — like wearing a mask to school — they realize that they can do it too."
"We're thrilled to work with Sourcebooks to get this special book to families—we hope it helps ease their back-to-school transitions in this difficult time," Youngwood adds.
This isn't the first time Elmo has taken the reins in teaching kids about coronavirus. In April, the beloved character hosted Sesame Street: Elmo's Playdate, which is a half-hour special featuring celebs like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anne Hathaway and Tracee Ellis Ross as part of Sesame Street's Caring for Each Other initiative.
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The "virtual play date" special followed Elmo and his fellow Sesame Street residents as they found new ways to learn together online and discover fun things to do at home with their families.
They also celebrated today's heroes, like EMTs and doctors, plus sang songs, took dance breaks and played games. (Hathaway, 37, even joined in a round of "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.")
The special was taped to look like a video conference — a familiar sight to most kids and their parents these days amid the ongoing global health crisis.
Heroes Wear Masks: Elmo's Super Adventure is available for $9.90 now on amazon.com.
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