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Social Worker Creates COVID-19 Coloring Book to Help Kids Cope

Posted by Brian Spence on Jun 22, 2020 8:00:00 AM

Coloring Book, Social Worker, EducationAbout 35 years ago, several tornadoes hit eastern North Carolina. At that time, the University of North Carolina's Child and Adolescent Program created a series of coloring books to help children and their families cope. That history inspired Lindsey Atkins, a social worker who currently serves as a clinical instructor for the same UNC program. Atkins wrote a story called Joey the Kangaroo and Her Coping with COVID Plan that includes illustrations for children to color. Like the coloring books from decades ago, the social worker's COVID coloring book is meant to give children and their families tools to deal with the pandemic's emotional impact.

Joey's Experiences Are Familiar

In Joey, Atkins has created a character that many kids can identify with. Joey lives with her parents and her little brother Roo in a neighborhood of animal families. Joey's community is living through the COVID-19 pandemic. The young kangaroo misses her friends, her grandparents, and school. But she's most upset about her mom, an essential worker who can't quarantine at home. The whole situation makes Joey feel "worried, lonely, sad, bored, and mad". The little kangaroo uses strategies she's learned from her neighbors to cope with her "Big Feelings Storm"

The Author's Goals for the COVID Coloring Book

Atkins has several goals for the book. She expects young readers will realize they're going through the same things as Joey. Therefore, they can do the same things the kangaroo does to deal with their feelings. Atkins hopes the book will get parents and children to talk about feelings and thoughts related to the pandemic. Also, having pictures to color in the book is meant to aid healing since art can help children process their emotions according to Atkins.

The coloring book is free and available online as a PDF. Four counties in North Carolina have announced plans to distribute the book at free lunch sites.

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