PEN America Children’s and Young Adult Books Committee - Children's books reading list covers

With so much put on hold—including going to school, playing with friends, after-school activities, visits with grandparents, and even weekly trips to the library; not to mention the fear of catching a scary disease that is transmitted in invisible ways—the COVID-19 crisis has upended children’s lives. Families reading books together can create a sense of comfort and perspective, whether it involves re-reading family favorites or taking a fresh look at some of the books on this list, compiled by members of the PEN America Children’s and Young Adult Books Committee (CYAB). These books describe upended lives, resiliency, and stories of children and others who rise above. In addition, there’s a new book here that’s available for free online and presents facts about the coronavirus in a child-friendly way.

—Amy Nathan, CYAB member,