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Treat of the Day: New children’s book helps kids understand COVID-19

"There’s No Monster Outside: It’s a Virus" written by two A&M professors
Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 11:41 AM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - As the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to rise, children across the country are becoming more anxious about their own health and the health of their loved ones. Knowing many parents may struggle with easing those fears, several faculty in the Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development embarked on writing a children’s book that addresses some of these social-emotional concerns.

Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Dr. Beverly Irby and Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development Regents Professor, Educational Psychology Rafael Lara-Alecio teamed up with Dr. Pam Schiller, a world-renowned early childhood educator to create There’s No Monster Outside: It’s a Virus.

The book tells the story of a young boy who hears about the Coronavirus on the news. Through asking his parents questions, he learns more about the virus and how he can stay safe.

“We wrote this book for children who are hearing the news about COVID-19 and who may be experiencing fears. We have heard children’s dreams that include mean people who take them away from their families, strange things that have happened to their classrooms, friends who are going away or monsters that are coming after them,” says Dr. Fuhui Tong, Interim Department Head in the Department of Educational Psychology. “All of these types of fears seem to be internalized and expressed in dreams or daydreams of children we know—even my own young children have said such things.”

The book is available to parents and children free of charge via the Center for Research and Development in Dual Language and Literacy Acquisition. So far, the book is available in English and Spanish with work underway to trans-adapt it in Mandarin and Arabic.

“We wanted to ensure that this work was as accessible as possible, particularly knowing that many family members were out of work and could not access bookstores, or perhaps children were from very rural areas in their countries and could only have access to via a cellphone service,” says Lara-Alecio, “we are hoping to have other authors to come forward and help us trans-adapt the book quickly into even more of the most spoken languages in the world. Currently, the book is published in the aforementioned four languages to serve a basic need during this coronavirus pandemic, but we need it published in more languages.”

“I am happy that we have such caring professors who want to help children to overcome fears no matter where they may reside around the world. We are proud of the Center for Research & Development in Dual Language & Literacy Acquisition—this is an example of one way we promote the land grant mission of Texas A&M University—to serve the citizens of Texas and beyond,” said Dean Joyce Alexander.

Access the book free of charge on the CRDLLA site.

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