COVID-19 - Growing Up During The Pandemic

COVID-19 - Growing Up During The Pandemic

Some Auckland children have made comics about what life was like for them during the COVID-19 pandemic. The comics show how children have been worried and sad at times, the challenges they faced and how they helped their families during a difficult time. 


The Pandemic Generation

Some children aged between 7 and 11 from Tāmaki-Makaurau (Auckland) have made comics about what life was like for them during the COVID-19 pandemic. 26 children from different ethnic backgrounds worked with Julie Spray, an anthropologist, child health researcher and illustrator, to tell their stories. They spoke to Julie between November, 2021 and March, 2022. 

Some drew their comics themselves and others got Julie to help them. The children got to choose their own secret names, which is why some of their names are a bit unusual. 

Julie's research found the pandemic caused a lot of children to think lots, worry and question things. A lot of children found online learning hard, they missed their friends and some were sad they had to spend their birthday in lockdown. Children helped their parents in lots of ways, like reminding them to scan in to places and wash their hands.

See all the comics and find out more about the Pandemic Generation Comic Gallery

Read the full report (PDF, 7.7MB).

Children's comics 

Hudson, 11, North Shore

When asked what his overall memory or overall feeling of the pandemic was, Hudson said "depression". He was sad he had not been able to see many people. 

Hudson asked Julie to draw his comic. Hudson got a new puppy during lockdown, which helped him cope with what was going on, and made him want to get out of bed to play with it. 

He has spent a lot of time waiting for things to get back to normal. 

"It's a waiting game," he said. 

Ananya, 9, west Auckland 

Ananya first learnt about the coronavirus when a boy in her class told the class about it. She said many people in the class had "a big gigantic gasp" (panel 2). Ananya drew the coronavirus as a rainbow "because it has so many feelings…. it makes you really sick and at one time it makes you really dizzy so it gives you a lot of feelings!" (panel 3).

Ananya remembered seeing lots of news about COVID-19 on the TV. She drew herself lying awake at night  - "I stayed awake and I was just like asking myself questions in my head about what's the cure? Am I going to get vaccinated? Is, are my parents going to be safe? Is my relatives going to be okay?" (panel 5).

She also drew herself in lockdown - "sometimes you just feel like trapped in your house like your house is jail and now you can't get out!" (panel 6).

Loki, 11, North Shore 

Loki's comic is about how a normal school day became very strange. Loki, who gets a lot of anxiety, said he phoned his friend to tell him they will be staying home for a week or two - "I didn't know we were going to stay home for three months".

Loki keeps track of what is happening with the pandemic and knows lots about it, partly because his mum works for a Māori health organisation and knows a lot about it. He also finds out lots of things from the news or sees information about it online - "it just pops up on my computer". 

Loki was scared about getting vaccinated, but said he was relieved he got vaccinated just before New Zealand moved to the red setting. 

He is scared about getting a test up his nose, but has so far only had to have partial-up-the-nose swabs. 

Fifi, 10, South Auckland 

Fifi heard about the pandemic from her mum, who would talk about case numbers and other things. She found lockdown really hard and missed going to school and seeing her friends. Sometimes she would talk to her friends on Messenger when she had tablet time and they were online. 

Fifi did a lot to protect herself and her family from COVID-19. She kept her mask hanging on the wall so she could remember it, and would comfort her mum when she looked tired and stressed. Fifi's 3-year-old sister would always remind the family to wash their hands. 

Fifi also got vaccinated. "I looked at the needle and it wasn't that big because I thought it would be bigger but it was only tiny," she said. 

Katty, 8, North Shore

Katty drew the "big sick virus" that scared her and made her sleepwalk during lockdown (panel 1). The second panel shows her dad at the table with his phone. The third panel shows Katty practising social distancing with her stuffed toy cat Celeste. 

Katty was sad she couldn't hug her friends at school because they had to social distance (panel 4). Sometimes she would feel sad and lonely and sit by herself at the dinner table because she is an only child and her parents, who are both essential workers, were busy (panel 5). Sometimes her friends would come visit her outside her house and she would drop notes to them from her window. 

Vanessa, 9, central Auckland 

Vanessa remembers her sister Kira looking sleepy and grumpy when they had to do school from home. They had to wear masks when they returned to school.

They spent some time in MIQ, which was hard because they were stuck together in one room. The sisters fought a lot and also watched too much Spongebob - at one point Vanessa sat in the cupboard with the shoes. The sisters also performed talk shows where Vanessa interviewed Kira.

Vanessa remembers playing AFL as a time before the pandemic. The last panel shows their mum Christina asleep in the car while the girls do soccer training. "That means that she’s worked very hard," said Vanessa.

More KidsHealth content on COVID-19

See KidsHealth's section on COVID-19

See all KidsHealth's content on COVID-19 immunisation in children


Anthropologist, child health researcher and illustrator Julie Spray interviewed 26 Auckland children for the Pandemic Generation. View all the comics and find out more about the project and its findings.  

This page last reviewed 02 May 2022.

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