Guelph artist Barbara Salsberg Mathews has created a beautifully illustrated children’s comic book called Kid COVID Fights Back! to help kids and a local non-profit in these challenging times.
The book shows children how Kid COVID fights off the coronavirus using a variety of tactics including super speed cleaning and 20- second hand-washing moves. The Kid has a special Hockey Stick suit, designed to keep others a safe distance away, and always carries extra toilet paper to give to those in need. Kid COVID has super staying-at-home powers enjoying everything from baking bread to making masks from socks.
Mathews got the idea
for the book during a video chat with her buddy, who is turning 5. He told Mathews he wants her to visit him, then looked confused and added, “when the virus is gone”. Mathews says that got her imagining how this pandemic might be scary and difficult for children. So she created a comic book to “entertain kids and their families with hope, beauty, optimism and fun.” The book is downloadable and printable through Mathews’ website: http://kidcovid.ca
. She hopes people will make a donation in exchange for the book, with all funds going to Guelph Arts Council (GAC), where she is a volunteer board member. “Artists need support more than ever in these challenging times, and Guelph Arts Council is working to help,”
says GAC Executive Director Patti Broughton. “We’re grateful to Barbara for supporting our work through her amazing storytelling and illustration skills, and her volunteer service on GAC’s Board.”
Barbara Salsberg Mathews has been creating art since she was a child. While in her teens, she wrote and illustrated two children’s books published by Annick Press. She also studied mime in Paris, France in 1979. She graduated from Ontario College of Art [now OCADU] before getting her B.A. in Fine Arts at University of Guelph. She then earned a B.Ed. at University of Toronto and a M.Ed. from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and taught arts in high schools for over 25 years. Barbara has received a number of grants and awards for her work, including from Canada and Ontario Arts Councils, and Ontario Society of Artists. Since retiring as Head of Visual Arts from Toronto District School Board’s Northern Secondary School, Barbara and her husband live in Guelph where she continues to paint and illustrate.
“Mathews’ book, with its imaginative illustrations and easy to follow text, is the perfect remedy for kids' anxiety and confusion during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only does Kid COVID Fights Back! offer useful information about the virus itself, it acts as a gentle reminder that children indeed have the power to take control by washing their hands, physical distancing and having fun at home with the people they love.”
Kira Vermond, Guelph-based award-winning children’s author and journalist.