Mom is Hiding
Mom is Hiding
Qian Mo, illus. Zhou Yi, transl. Helen Wang. London: New Classic Press, pb, 978 1 91255 396 9, 2021, £8.99, 40pp.
Picture book, 3-7 years
Nina is a six-year-old girl whose father works abroad and whose mother is a kindergarten teacher. As the pandemic flares up, they try to stay home as much as possible and follow the recommended measures. But not everyone is as careful as them.
One day, Nina’s mother sees their local grocery shop on the news: many people who shopped there got infected. Fearing the risk of infection, she decides to ‘hide’ in her room. At first, Nina is furious and scared. But with her stuffed rabbit and her dad over video chat, Nina realises she is not alone during these confusing times, and distance cannot separate love.
Translated from Chinese, Mom is Hiding is part of Fighting the Epidemic/Staying at Home series of books that show the pandemic through a child’s perspective. As with many similar books on this topic, COVID is represented through ‘the invasion of little monsters’ (depicted as anthropomorphised spheres with spikes). At the same time, Nina takes on the role of a ‘hero’ who needs to fight it through several behavioural measures, such as frequent hand washing and cleaning. Such a strategy helps to make the virus an intelligible and knowable threat. The common-sense guidelines are organically incorporated into the sweet illustrations by Zhou Yi.
Created to educate children about the novel virus and the precautions we must take to keep ourselves and others safe, this picturebook might still be helpful for situations when children are separated from their sick relatives or friends.
Review by Ekaterina Shatalova