In the fall of 2020, four students worked together on a final project for Professor David Hecht’s interdisciplinary seminar, “Health, Culture, and Society.” For their project, Basmattie Dookie ’21, Emma Hahesy ’22, Joanna Lin ’22, and Hikmah Okoya ’21 decided to write and illustrate a children’s book entitled Coronavirus Heroes: Life During a Pandemic, which centers around a young girl who learns to use healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the isolation of the pandemic. Their collective experience working with children along with material from their seminar helped the group recognize the importance of having accessible information about the pandemic for children, many of whom found themselves confused and upset after COVID-19 upended their lives.
After their course had concluded, these students found a pro bono editor who wanted to help them publish and distribute copies of Coronavirus Heroes. They applied for the Ladd Fund to cover the costs of publishing 120 copies of their book to donate to schools in the greater Brunswick community, as well as to list on Amazon to generate proceeds for future printings. To make it accessible beyond the Brunswick community, they also made the book available as a free PDF. By putting their book out into the world, they hope to help children better cope with the pandemic and the emotional strains it put on them.
An article published by the Portland Press Herald on Coronavirus Heroes can be found here.