MILWAUKEE — A Marquette University professor is creatively channeling her expertise to help families and students prepare for a school year unlike any other.
"I think kids are really resilient, even in challenging times, and if given the strategies," said Dr. Emily Mazzulla.
Mazzulla is a clinical assistant professor of psychology at Marquette University and an expert in the field of trauma and resilience.
Now, she is combining her skills with her experience as a mother and channeling it into a new children's book called "School in the Time of the Coronavirus."
"Starting the conversation and giving parents a resource in a tool to talk about this challenging topic in a safe and enjoyable, colorful, illustrated way," said Mazzulla.
As a mother experiencing the transition herself, Mazzulla said it became clear there are not a lot of resources on how to talk to kids about the shift.
The book is about a little girl named Maria and it starts with her washing her hands, worried about going back to school, then turning to her mom.
"They discuss what's going to be the same, what's going to be different, how she's feeling, what she's thinking, and what to do if she's feeling like she needs more support," Mazzulla explained.
The book includes resilience-based coping strategies such as validating your child's emotions, deep breathing techniques and keeping things in perspective.
Mazzulla added the book could help parents as much as kids, agreeing there is power in conveying deep messages through a children's book.
"I think what those beautiful illustrations and a relatable story can do is really take the pressure off the kid and the parent in terms of talking about their own life, but really start to perspective take on the characters and so it's a fun relatable and safe way to talk about challenging topics," said Dr. Mazzulla.
"School in the Time of the Coronavirus" by Dr. Emily Mazzulla will be available starting Aug. 1.
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