This second Covid Chronicles short story collection (that came out a few months after the similarly titled Covid Chronicles that was penned by Ethan Sacks and illustrated by Dalibor Talajić ) is an anthology that incorporates many different authors and illustrators. It gives these creators chances to recount their experiences or share commentary about the pandemic to varying degrees of success.
COVID-19 Diary by Jason Charfield
This first story in the collection kicks off with a cartoony day-by-day diary of the author’s experience when he had COVID-19.
Librarying During a Pandemic by Gene Ambaum & Willow Payne
As a librarian, I was of course interested in how other librarian’s dealt with patrons once they reopened. While I didn’t run into the scenarios illustrated, it was an amusing story.
And This Is How I Leave You by Sean Seamus McWhinny
A poignant recounting of the author’s last days with his mother as she lay dying in a hospital and he was unable to be with her.
Small Acts by Stephanie Pitsirilos & Seth Martel
We can’t save the world, but our small acts of kindness can help. Lovely use of color in one of the best illustrated stories.
My New Normal: Rinse and Repeat by Rob Kraneveldt & Mike Garcia
A woman goes about her new normal routine and all her issues are swept under the rug in a fake blog entry in which she pretends everything went well that day.
Between Two Worlds by Julio Anta, Jacoby Salcedo & Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Excellent side-by-side comparison of how white people and POC have to deal with authority figures when they start venturing outside during the pandemic. The POC are harassed while whites flaunt the rules with no recourse.
Covid Hardball: World Leaders Step Up To The Plate by Rich Johnson & Eli Neugeboren
Illustrated to look like trading baseball cards, leaders have the facts about their response to the pandemic shared. Trump is vilified (in this story, in addition to a few others throughout the book). Dr. Fauci gets the MVP card.
Same by Jazmine Joyner & John Jennings (the only artist I was familiar with)
A woman locked down in a city apartment begins to experience paranoia and visions. But her cat shows her an alternate way out…
Author/illustrator Rivi Handler-Spitz was given several one page spreads throughout the entire book, and they were always spot on.
Frankly, I was not a fan of this very uneven collection of 63 stories. I’ve read many other anthologies such as Love is Love, Puerto Rico Strong and Where We Live (the best of the bunch), but this book just didn’t pass muster. Many of the stories lacked depth, were trite or were not illustrated well. I hardly recognized any of the contributors, so while I so appreciate their effort and intentions, readers who want a timely and poignant retelling of the horrible pandemic we all have been suffering under should read the Sacks/ Talajić graphic novel instead.