With Covid-19 cases in children continuing to rise amid concerns over school openings during a pandemic, Sourcebooks has announced that it is collaborating with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational foundation affiliated with Sesame Street, to publish a picture book appropriate to the current circumstances. Heroes Wear Masks: Elmo’s Super Adventure will be released on September 15 under Sourcebooks’s Wonderland imprint, with a 300,000-copy initial print run.
Heroes Wear Masks is meant to alleviate children’s anxieties regarding safety procedures in classrooms and playrooms enacted in the wake of the pandemic. Elmo prepares to go to school, with a few changes to his morning routine, including making sure that he has a clean mask. When he arrives at school, he must follow certain safety measures, such as a temperature check, washing his hands frequently, wearing a mask indoors, and refraining from hugging his friends or even giving them high-fives.
Children identify with Sesame Street’s Muppets, Sesame Workshop’s president of media and education and COO Steve Youngwood explained in a release, adding, “When they see their friend Elmo adjusting to something unfamiliar, like wearing a mask to school, they realize that they can do it too.”
The book will also feature tips for parents and caregivers on how to talk to children about the pandemic and how to stay healthy, including language adults can use with kids about handwashing, face masks, and back-to-school anxieties.
For more support, parents and teachers can find videos, articles, and games on the Sesame Street: Caring for Each Other website. The site is regularly updated with free resources designed to help caregivers provide comfort to their young charges, manage anxiety, create routines, and encourage playful learning.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the initial print run for Heroes Wear Masks and has been corrected.