A new, free to download printable comic and colouring book and six-minute animated film – Charlie & the C Monsters – has been created. This is designed for the unique purpose of explaining non-verbally how Covid-19 is spread. It explains steps that can be taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus. It also shows children visually how to recognise some of the key symptoms of coronavirus. The brainchild of Disabled artist and multimedia storyteller Dr Ju Gosling aka ju90 and Hannah Ensor of Stickman Communications Ltd. The resource is published by Together! 2012 CIC – a Paralympic Legacy Organisation.
Charlie and the C Monsters is completely free to view online as a PDF or film, and to download, print and colour. There is also an audio-described version to aid accessibility. This would be great to use in class as part of your recovery curriculum or in conjunction with other Covid-19 resources.
As Dr Ju Gosling, who is Artistic Director of Together! 2012 CIC, explains: “It became apparent to us early on that basic information on how infection spreads and how it is stopped was missing from official communications, meaning that significant numbers of the audiences we work with, including those with SEN, had only a limited understanding of what they needed to do to prevent infection.”
Communicating the dangers of Covid-19
The need to communicate the already complex public health messaging around Covid-19 to both children and adults with SEN was key to the development of the book and film. While other resources presented the information using more accessible language, there was clearly a need to create something which didn’t use words at all.
In developing the resource Ju and Hannah decided to create the book in black and white so that it could also be used as a colouring book. The aim of this was to increase the time that people spent engaging with it. This enables them to learn for themselves, and at their own pace. The images were also deliberately created to be as non-threatening as possible. Many children are already negatively affected by the the virus. It is important to send the message of how to keep safe rather than to spread fear.
It is Ju and Hannah’s hope that this important and timely resource will help communicate more effectively about Covid-19 across language, literacy and impairment barriers. Suitable for all ages and abilities, Charlie & the C Monsters is released under a Creative Commons licence, meaning it is free for anyone to use or reproduce. This is particularly useful for those who wish to use the images as the basis for lesson plans or teaching resources.