AN author has produced a free audio book to help parents explain the coronavirus pandemic and ease anxiety in young children.

Writer Giles Paley-Phillips teamed up with audio system company Tonies to release his story In This Together through their website.

The award-winning author from Seaford, who has two children, said: “When we started self-isolating and went into lockdown I thought about writing a story that would help parents discuss it with their children.

“Tonies got in touch with me as they were looking for someone to do a story children could listen to which would help parents talk to them about the pandemic in a comforting way, so they would not feel panicked about what’s going on.

“Within 24 hours I came up with a first draft and they did some artwork to go with it, and then I recorded myself reading it as an audiobook.”

In This Together tells the story of Rosie, a pupil who comes home from school thinking she is on an extended holiday, and it is up to her parents to explain the real situation to her.

Giles said: “They help her learn about the practical things she can do to help, like washing her hands and protecting older people.

“But the big themes are about how even though we are physically apart right now, we’re actually all in this together and we have got to work together to get through it.”

Giles, who started writing after his first son was born more than a decade ago, has tackled difficult subject matter in his stories before.

His book Little Bell and the Moon, about a little girl who grows old and turns into a bright star, depicts mortality in a sensitive way.

He said: “I’ve been writing books about other difficult subjects for a while, like grief and loss.

“My wife and I have always been honest with our own children and we’ve been honest with them about the coronavirus from the outset.

“We also put in place a strong routine for them, which I think has really helped.

“It’s important not to sugar-coat things but also not to panic.

“We need to find a way to explain how things are going to be challenging for a while.”

The audiobook, which is available to download for free on the Tonies website, also comes with an illustrated sequencing game.

Parents can print out the illustrations to go with the story for children to put in order and colour in.

Giles said: “It’s really nice to be able to read your own story. That’s why I started writing in the first place – to read to my own children.

“Particularly at bed time, audio books are great. My children are really into them.”

Giles hopes In This Together will help parents open up the discussion with their children if they are feeling anxious, and will be reassuring for them.

He said: “Story-telling is a great way of opening up conversations about bigger subjects. It’s an opportunity for them to be made aware of it.”

To download In This Together, go to