• Meeg Pincus

#20truePBs (and #19PBbios) as a Pandemic Resource

The authors and illustrators of the #20truePBs and #19Pbbios books provide inspiring true stories to educators, librarians and parents/guardians during this tough time.

Many of us had very different visions of 2020 than what we're experiencing right now, individually and collectively. There's really no way to feel "normal" during this unprecedented crisis.

For us, the #20truePBs authors and illustrators who are releasing new books in 2020, it's hard to market our books in a "normal" way—as we deal with our own struggles, are sensitive to the debilitating struggles of others, and certainly aren't doing business-as-usual. I know I, for one, have felt uncomfortable sharing my book much at all, with so much tragedy and marginalization around us (not to mention my own scattered mind!).

Yet, several parents and educators have said to me during this month: "Please keep sharing your book! We need it right now. It helps." And, in this past few days, I've taken this to heart—for all of our #20truePBs books.

These 20 nonfiction picture books were painstakingly selected because they share inspiring, diverse, true stories in masterful ways. They provide children with voices, perspectives, and knowledge that are important, that expand their minds and hearts. They were written and illustrated with passion, love, and hard work by amazing creators. (This also goes for the 19 books of 19PBbios, many also by our #20truePBs creators, released in 2019.)

So, I realized, it's OK to share our books right now. In fact, it's more than OK: it helps.

When we hear from parents or guardians stuck at home telling us they're reading our books to excited kids, after having them delivered from their local indie bookstore, it's everything. When we see that teachers and librarians are reading our books to their students virtually, it reminds us that our stories are tools to help educators and students at home get through this.

I've been guiding a virtual book club with four 14-year-old girls the past few weeks, reading Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. I've read it many times, but found myself stopping to marvel this time at how often Anne writes about books—getting books from the black market, reading books to stay sane. She writes:

"We long for Saturdays because that means books. We're like a bunch of little kids with a present. Ordinary people don't know how much books can mean to someone who's cooped up."

While there's certainly no comparing the gravity of Anne Frank's cooped-up situation to what we're experiencing now, I can't help but notice how my own children, and those I see online, are taking solace in books during this pandemic shutdown of normal activity. In dark times, books provide a flicker of light, an escape from present problems, a reminder of what connects us all.

So, it is in this spirit that I wanted to share with teachers, librarians, parents and guardians that our #20truePBs books are here for you. They continue to come out, even during this "not normal" year. They are 20 stories that we hope provide some light, some escape, some connection, and some sorely-needed diverse voices. The 19 books, many less than a year old, of 19PBbios are here for you also.

You can order our books through your local indie bookstore, through Bookstop, Barnes & Noble, or other online booksellers. You can use our #20questions blog posts to supplement your reading with kids and learn more about the books' creators and their processes. You can reach out to our authors and illustrators to connect (click on any of their photos on the "About Us" page and you can link to their websites).

Most of all, we hope you and yours are safe and well. Also, we hope our #20truePBs (and 19PBbios) books can help you through this trying time.

Thank you for reading,

Meeg Pincus, co-founder of #20truePBs and 19PBbios