Co-authors seek to ensure kids are not shut out from the pandemic's dialogue

Book unpacks Covid 19 for children

Ntandoyenkosi Kunene and Thokozane Dyosini, co-authors of Cory in the Universe.
Ntandoyenkosi Kunene and Thokozane Dyosini, co-authors of Cory in the Universe.

Two young women who are passionate about children and education have written a children’s book about the coronavirus, featuring President Cyril Ramaphosa as one of the characters.

The department of sport, arts and culture recently launched the book, titled Cory in the Universe, co-written by former Miss SA and Honours graduate in curriculum issues Ntandoyenkosi Kunene and PhD candidate and lecturer Thokozane Dyosini.

The writers, both qualified educators, want to help children between the ages of nine and 15 to gain a better understanding of Covid-19, which has caused a lot of uncertainty and panic. 

“While it’s challenging for adults to sift through information to stay informed, it’s even more difficult for children who have mixed feelings and are trying to understand what the world is facing,” says Kunene.

“We saw a huge gap in the conversation around Covid-19. It was so adult-centred and no-one was focusing on how it was affecting children. They have lived through the pandemic, just like we have, and their lives have also changed. This was our inspiration to write the book,” she adds.

“The book is inclusive and diverse. We have characters from all walks of life as we wanted to portray the truly South African child in all of their forms,” says Dyosini.

The pair, who have always wanted to write children’s books, met at varsity. “We want our children to grow up seeing a different picture,” says Kunene. “We want Cory in the Universe to be the first of many books that speak to children about social challenges,” adds Dyosini.

Kunene and Dyosini partnered with the department to make reading and entertainment a reality in South Africa.

“The book not only speaks to the heart of the children but also many social issues that plague society,” says minister of sport, arts and culture Nathi Mthethwa, who penned the book’s foreword.

- This article was originally published in the GCIS Vuk'uzenzele.

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