Jeffers, in quarantine in Belfast, reads a story a day, having started with his very first book How to Catch a Star.
According to Jeffers, “[This is] for anyone stuck at home in the coming weeks due to Covid, I’m going to read one of my books every day of the week and talk about some of the things that helped make it happen. We are all at home, but none of us are alone. We are bored together.
In this time of social isolation, her live readings make you feel like part of an intimate family Skype call, with interruptions from her young children.
And judging by the tsunami of love hearts, emojis, and adorable comments, Jeffers clearly has quite a fan club. Every day, thousands of children and their parents around the world tune into IGTV to commune with their idol in what is great virtual love.
His stories are usually about a boy – “Once upon a time there was a boy …” – and the sheer sparseness of his language immediately grabs your attention, for you know you’re going to have a good thread. The books are illustrated in her signature pencil and watercolor style, and full of little visual cues that make them a fun read for all ages. The plots are also suitable for adults, with original and often implausible plots. They have a perverse sense of the bizarre but are full of humanity.
The boy (and often his penguin or moose) embark on extraordinary but ordinary adventures, but the real story is in how they deal with feelings. Jeffers doesn’t shy away from harsh emotions (sad, lonely, scared), but most of all, offers uplifting and universal moments of connection, love and friendship – which makes his stories very real to the core.
In his fifth quarantine reading, The Great Paper Caper, he had listeners prepped with a piece of paper, a cryptic clue to this mystery intrigue. The paper is used to create paper airplanes, which Jeffers duly made and discussed with his young listeners so that they could make some themselves at home.
With his live readings, Jeffers has created a calm sanctuary in the midst of fear, and it feels like a very safe, warm and comfortable place to spend time.
You can tune in on Instagram on weekdays at 6 p.m. GMT, 2 p.m. EST, 11 a.m. PST.
Here are a few other authors and organizations entering the virtual literary world for children.
Trouble hunters just for girls
The right people at Tales of Talou have joined forces with some of our favorite authors and it’s just the wellness story we need to soothe the soul, make the heart shine, and inspire the imagination.
As the Talu team sees it, “The world is a bit turned upside down right now, and many of us are feeling the effects of the canceled events, a lot of work, children locked in their homes and isolated from their families. friends and a regular regular. Today we’re celebrating all things community, reading, creativity and storytelling. Poke your head when you need a little pop and we’ll be there all day !
Talu Tales is a world of fantastic stories that inspires kids to learn more about science, technology, engineering, and math. They’re on a mission to bridge the gender gap one story at a time, with stories featuring female characters in non-stereotypical storylines. So expect to spark future female leaders with these empowering role models who embark on some fantastic adventures.
Incredible Freedom Machine, read aloud by Kirli Saunders
In this story of exploring and crossing borders, a young girl discovers her own freedom machine, a vehicle that takes her to all kinds of wonderful places. A proud Gunai woman, linked to the Yuin, Gundungurra, Gadigal and Biripi peoples, Saunders currently resides in the land of Dharawal.
All bodies are good bodies, read aloud by Charlotte Barkla
A book about celebrating amazing, awesome bodies doing amazing things. Like digesting food. What a crazy, crazy thing. Charlotte is an Adelaide-based writer who worked as a civil engineer and professor of physics, but now creates picture books. And maybe if you ask her nicely, she’ll share an interesting physics fact!
My Dog Bigsy, read aloud by Alison Lester
A book she wrote about her dog, Bigsy, Alison’s picture books blend fantasy worlds with everyday life, encouraging children to believe in themselves and celebrate the differences that make them special.
Books and Cartoons Live with Mac Barnett
Mac Barnett Book Club Show is an interactive treat. He has created themed mini-shows that have regular time slots that kids can listen to every day. They are part live theater, part comedy sketch, part craft classes. They score high on the value of entertainment and regularly feature surprise guests. Someone needs to have this guy on his own TV show (wait, it’s IGTV, so I guess he made his own).
Tune in to: the After Dark chapter books where Barnett introduces himself as a 1950s TV host, where “Every night I’m going to pour a glass of milk, put on my most comfy tuxedo and read a chapter of my own. briefs, Mac B, Kid Spy # 1: Mac Undercover, illustrated by @mikelowerystudio. The new chapters go up around 5:00 a.m. CA time, and they will stay on my IGTV until the end of the “school year”.
If cartooning is your thing, Mac has teamed up with his oldest friend and racquetball nemesis, @ shawnharri5, to create what they claim to be the world’s first ‘live-action cartoon’. In his words “How is that possible? What does it mean? Does Shawn own a dog, and if he does, is that dog super cute? Stay home tomorrow and find out!
Based on Instagram stories of aspiring cartoonists joining in on the live drawing and duly donning their hats (that’s a Barnett thing), Mac hit the right spot with her old-fashioned charm and quirky humor and them. fans keep coming back for more.
Home Readings and Art Classes with Chris Haughton
Chris Haughton’s book readings are more of a live art tutorial for aspiring young illustrators, some with songs to sing along to. He’s packed resources on his site to download and join at home. Her die-cut stencils and coloring templates featuring her signature collages are a homeschooled parent’s dream.
Stay home # 2 asked viewers to learn how to make their “Lost Little Owl” out of paper from the stencils available online.
As Haughton puts it, “Log on to meet George himself. There will be cake. We will be well behaved. And of course bring a pen and paper for some drawing after… I’ll show how I do my art and we’ll make a collage together.
Her books are simple and naïve in style, but present stories with a social conscience where themes such as climate change, gender equality and racial equality are integrated into the narrative.
To maintain the good atmosphere, it offers free downloads of its Monkey Hat app which includes music and dance routines.
Log onto Haughton’s Facebook page at 5:00 p.m. GMT every day of the week.