Vicki Whiting, the creator of Kid Scoop, was one of 12 recipients of the Global Youth and News Media Prize for publication coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Being a publication aimed at children, it sought to explain the chaos of a world-changing event with simple, kid-friendly vocabulary and colorful illustrations.
“I knew the kids were puzzled and even scared,” Whiting said. “People wore (or weren’t) masks. It was all very mysterious.
Their issues touched on a variety of topics that arose throughout the chaos. The information included “What is the coronavirus and how is it spread?” “How to stop the virus? By joining the Kid Scoop Scrub Squad! and color the “Bubbles Prevent Problems” coloring page – the five-step handwashing plan.
Kid Scoop also included word searches using words like sneeze, cough, spread, distance and more, as well as how to talk to family members about concerns about the virus. The creative team for the project included Jeff Schinkel, Eli Smith and another local, Vivien Whittington.
Overall, the project included both booklets and news pages filled with activities, crafts, and writing spaces for kids to learn and interact in a tough time. The 16-page booklets were distributed free of charge to 70,000 children from low-income households in the San Francisco Bay Area. The news pages, which first appeared in the Sonoma Index-Tribune, now appear in more than 300 newspapers around the world, reaching 7.5 million readers.
In some Sonoma classrooms, you can find teachers who use Kid Scoop to improve their reading and math skills, deepen their knowledge of geography, history, science, current affairs and governance, learn the difference between facts and opinions and find out about local community events.
Aralynn Abare McMane, Director of Youth & News Media at the World Association of Newspapers, commented on Kid Scoop’s entry Pandemic News for Children: “Kid Scoop News, the organization’s own newspaper, offers an oasis of calm to its young readers confronted with a growing array of baffling realities. Well done for your great work!