Kid Lit Authors Stepping Up During the COVID-19 Crisis and Quarantine

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Ashlie Swicker


Ashlie (she/her) is an educator, librarian, and writer. She is committed to diversifying the reading lives of her students and supporting fat acceptance as it intersects with other women’s issues. She's also perpetually striving to learn more about how she can use her many privileges to support marginalized groups. Interests include learning how to roller skate with her local roller derby team, buying more books than she'll ever read, hiking with her husband and sons, and making lists to avoid real work. You can find her on Instagram (@ashlieelizabeth), Twitter (@mygirlsimple) or at her website,

These are uncertain times. I’m writing from my home office—I would normally be halfway through a day of teaching in the media center at my local elementary school. In my state and many others, there are government mandated school shutdowns, restaurant and bar restrictions, and limits on large gatherings of people. However, the real MVPs are the people who have not yet been forced to avoid others, and have chosen to self quarantine. At the moment, the best bet is to stay home.

Easier said than done, for sure. Even with the enormous privilege of being employed by a school that’s closed, having a stocked pantry, and having an educational background, I’m still slightly queasy staring weeks down the calendar stuck home with two active kids. Luckily, I’m not alone. Around the country, people who care about children are coming together and using their considerable talents to provide entertainment and education for the masses who are out of school and in need of stimulation.

The links I’ve shared are all current as of Monday, March 16. I’m sure many more offerings will be cropping up as potential quarantine orders go into effect around the U.S. Some of the below are one-off readings, but many more are archived on websites or YouTube channels and can be revisited at your leisure. Some are simply read-alouds and others are drawing lessons or craft activities. All of them reinforce my faith in humanity and make me feel less alone. I hope they can do the same for you!     

Draw Every Day with JJK

Jarrett Krosoczka will be posting a drawing lesson daily, archived on his YouTube channel. For starters, all you need is a pencil and paper!

Oliver Jeffers

Oliver Jeffers will be reading a book a day on Instagram Live and then posting the videos to his website.

Mac Barnett

Mac Barnett will be reading a book a day on Instagram Live.

Monique Gray Smith

Monique Gray Smith posted videos of herself reading her picture books on her Instagram. 

Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Debbie Ridpath Ohi is doing read-alouds and drawing lessons on her YouTube channel.

Roda Ahmed

Roda Ahmed is doing a reading of her book Mae Among the Stars on Instagram Live.

Kate Messner

Kate Messner has done an enormous amount of work gathering offerings from authors far and wide. This great collection of resources is continuously updated and has great selection for students who read middle grade and YA titles. If you click one link, click this one.

Storyline Online

While this site is technically produced by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, an excellent resource for read-alouds is Storyline Online, which offers a wide selection of picture books read by celebrities. My students are obsessed with Arnie the Donut read by Chris O’Dowd.

I hope this post has given you something to share with the children (or adults) in your life. Stay healthy, keep reading!