Help children to become a handwashing ‘superhero’

Researchers at De Montfort University, Leicester, have partnered with Medina Publishing to produce a new e-book explaining how germs spread, supporting parents and practitioners to educate young children about handwashing in relation to viruses such as COVID-19.

Taking the handwashing message to as many children as possible.
Taking the handwashing message to as many children as possible.

Bye-Bye Germs: Be a Handwashing Superhero is the latest release in the ‘Germ’s Journey’ series of books by microbiologist Dr Katie Laird and education specialist Professor Sarah Younie, with illlustrations by Jules Marinner, which communicates the importance of handwashing at a young age.

The new e-book, which is being made freely available for a limited launch period for parents and schools in Leicester, tells the story of siblings Jess and Joe who are on a mission to stop germs spreading after a tickle in Jess’ throat turns into a giant cough and sneeze.

The book is a relevant, up-to-date resource specifically produced to help educate early years children about how germs spread and why we need to wash our hands to prevent viruses like of coronavirus,’ said Professor Younie, Professor in Education, Innovation and Technology.

‘We have combined our multidisciplinary knowledge to produce an educational resource that helps children to easily digest the science behind the story.

Medina Publishing is distributing the e-book to primary schools across Leicester, as well as the Isle of Wight, where the publisher is based. The book will be launched nationally by the end of June. A print edition of Bye-Bye Germs will be available shortly, ready for the new school term. De Montford University and Medina Publishing are also planning to translate the book into other languages to reach youngsters, parents and teachers around the world.

‘We want to reach as many children as we can,’ added Dr Laird. ‘Handwashing has been at the forefront of prevention in the coronavirus pandemic, so it has never been more topical and important to get children talking about how viruses spread and where they can be picked up.’

It also includes top tips for how families can prevent the spread at home, a picture guide on how to wash hands properly and a ‘spot the germs’ illustration, to help youngsters identify where viruses can be picked up.

The idea for the first book, A Germ's Journey came about when Dr Laird was trying to teach her young son about germs and handwashing and realised that there were very few educational resources available for teaching young children about this topic.

Last year, A Germ’s Journey was also brought to life at Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum for its MiniBrum gallery; a child-sized world designed for youngsters to explore their understanding of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) through different role-play zones.

The museum incorporated A Germ’s Journey games and activities throughout the exhibition and offered health hygiene workshops for schoolchildren as part of its educational programme.

Dr Katie Laird

See here for more information about the Germ’s Journey project and order your free copy of the new Bye-Bye Germs story here 



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