It’s official. We’re in lockdown. As announced last night in a historic address from President Cyril Ramaphosa, starting from midnight this coming Thursday, 26 March, South Africa will be operating under strict lockdown rules in an attempt to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. For 21 days, nobody is allowed to leave their homes outside of purchasing groceries or seeking medical care. This extreme action has already been undertaken by a number of countries worldwide, leaving millions of households cooped up and in each other’s faces for an extended period of time. Families are desperate for distractions and entertainment to help pass this time and Amazon is answering the call.
The multimedia giant has opened up over 40 children’s shows to be streamed for free worldwide. Previously, these shows were all part of Amazon’s paid-for Prime Video subscription service. The shows are ranged from those for pre-school kids to young teens and include a number of Amazon Originals such as Pete the Cat, Just Add Magic, and The Dangerous Book for Boys, as well as licenced content like Arthur and Odd Squad. A special landing page has been created for the new free kids offerings, and all you need to access it is a valid Amazon account. And yes, this works in South Africa, I’ve tested it this morning.
If you’re trying to maybe curb screentime though, Amazon has you covered there as well. Audible, Amazon’s audiobook service, has launched a new Audible Stories section that contains a huge selection of audiobooks for anybody to listen to for free worldwide. Just about every genre you can think of is represented here, ranging from books to be read to the smallest kids, like Winnie the Pooh and Peter Rabbit, to thrilling tween stories from R.L. Stine and more, to timeless literary classics like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (one of the greatest novels ever written, in my opinion), Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Aventures in Wonderland, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and much, much more.
On top of that, lending their voices to narrate these audiobooks are a list of popular celebs like Scarlett Johansson, Thandie Newton, Dan Stevens, Rachel McAdams, and Pablo Schreiber among others. There are also non-fictional books, like Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Astrophysics for Young People in a Hurry and even An Introduction to Indian Philosophy. For international listeners, there also audiobook offerings for all ages in French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese.
This is really impressive and laudable stuff from Amazon in a time when we need all the distractions we can get to take our mind off what’s happening outside our homes. Families need to support each more than ever through these tough times, and efforts such as this will help to do that.
Last Updated: March 24, 2020