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Children's Fiction Diseases, Illnesses & Injuries

Don't Stand So Close to Me

by (author) Eric Walters

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Jun 2020
Diseases, Illnesses & Injuries, Friendship, Disasters
Recommended Age
9 to 12
Recommended Grade
4 to 7
Recommended Reading age
9 to 12
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2020
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2020
    List Price
  • Downloadable audio file

    Publish Date
    Apr 2021
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Download Teacher’s Guide

Where to buy it


Thirteen-year-old Quinn and her friends can't believe their luck when spring break is extended an extra two weeks—even if it's because of some virus.

But when the impact of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic becomes apparent, everyone, not just the students, has to learn to adjust to their new reality. Quinn’s father is an ER doctor and has to self-isolate to protect his family from the virus. Isaac’s mother is the chief of police and now has to enforce new physical-distancing bylaws. Reese can’t visit her grandmother in her care home anymore. And their entire school has moved to online classes. Sacrifices have to be made to keep everyone safe, but there’s more to life than rules and scary news reports. In an effort to find some good in all this uncertainty, Quinn comes up with an idea that she hopes will bring the entire community together.

About the author

Eric Walters is the author of many acclaimed and bestselling novels for children and young adults. His novels have won numerous awards, including the Silver Birch, Blue Heron, Red Maple, Snow Willow, Ruth Schwartz, and Tiny Torgi, and have received honours from the Canadian Library Association Book Awards and UNESCO's international award for Literature in Service of Tolerance.

Eric lives in Mississauga with his wife, Anita, and three children, Christina, Nicholas, and Julia. When not writing or touring across the country speaking to school groups, Eric spends time playing or watching soccer and basketball, or playing the saxophone.

To find out more about Eric and his novels, or to arrange for him to speak at your school, visit his website at

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Eric Walters' profile page


  • Nominated, YALSA, Quick Picks List
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens
  • Commended, Apple Best Books of the Year So Far

Editorial Reviews

“Brings us to what is truly important – community and trying to bring everyone together…An important read. Highly Recommended.”

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“Wow - just wow! I LOVED it! Great story, cute without being overly so, funny, honest and fast- paced.”

Kristen Badger, Media Specialist, Switzerland Point Middle School, Jacksonville, Florida

“So timely, so perfect for right now…This is the perfect book for these pandemic times. It presents the difficulties families face but gives hope that creativity can find solutions. Middle school students will love it. A quick read.”

Must Read Literature

“Walters certainly has his pulse on world events and the minds of young people. So true is the narrative of this timely book, that it reads like nonfiction as much as fiction. Walters helps readers to identify, connect and make sense of a powerful turning point in history. Eric Walters, you are a hero!”

Larry Swartz, author of <i>Teaching Tough Topics</i>

“Navigates the experience of this unique time period with heart. I couldn't put it down. My students won't be able to either.”

Kim Moss, Teacher-Librarian, Creekside Middle School, Bentonville, AR

“It’s a positive story about a very negative event that will be one for the history books. Don’t Stand So Close to Me takes readers into the pandemic of their experiences and, while teaching them important safety concerns that not all children will have learned about, reassures and provides hope.”

Helen Kubiw, CanLit for Little Canadians

“Provides clear visual representations that are easily understandable for an elementary audience...Aptly illustrates that the worst of times often brings out the best in people.”

Canadian Children's Book News

Other titles by Eric Walters