Little Health Ambassadors, a children’s book franchise by clinician-turned-author Ken Korber, has partnered with the Chicago Comb Company to create two children’s books to help alleviate children’s anxiety about the journey to their first haircut.
Toddler and pre-school children actively resisting haircuts is a familiar problem encountered by parents, which could be amplified if the child has sensory issues or is on the autistic spectrum. They may become upset before or during a haircut, and they may cry, scream, or struggle, making it hard for the barber or hairdresser to cut their hair.
To help address this, Korber authored two books for children aged 3 to 6, titled Grace Helps Marvin the Moose and Grace Helps Molly the Moose, which are aimed at boys and girls, respectively. Illustrated by Jaime Buckley, the books depict both Marvin and Molly encountering problems due to their long hair, such as running into objects due to not being able to see well. Grace, the protagonist of the Little Health Ambassadors series, helps bring Marvin and Molly to the barbershop and salon, where there is a friendly and kind man and woman with a magic comb. In the end, both Marvin and Molly emerge looking and feeling better, assuring children that there’s nothing to be scared of when getting a haircut.
As part of the partnership with the Chicago Comb Company, each book is bundled with a children’s sized carbon fiber comb.
The Little Health Ambassadors series serves to bring awareness to things that children commonly struggle with, as well as public health and safety issues. In some titles, Korber partners with experts or people with personal experience about the matter.
Recently, US Senator Mitch McConnell suffered a public health scare when he froze for around 20 seconds while speaking to reporters. Some health experts suspect that McConnell suffered a mini-stroke or seizure. According to Korber, clinical assistant Professor and former physician associate, it is important that people, including children, learn to recognize the signs of a stroke in other people, in order for them to seek timely help. This led him to team up with stroke survivor and radio talk show host, Bill Turck, to write Grace Saves the Day, which teaches children the various risk factors of stroke and how to spot its signs and symptoms. Preorders are being taken now and the storybook will be available in fall 2023.
To help children recognize the danger of fires and avoid burns, Korber and Paul Possenti, MS, PA-C, FAASPA, the Executive Director for Patient Experience, Emergency Management and Trauma Services at Bridgeport Hospital and the Yale-New Haven system. They co-authored an activity book, Grace + Friends: Burn Prevention and Fire Safety. First published in 2019, and launched at the American Burn Association conference, the book has received positive feedback from several fire departments, and one fire chief has said that the book has the potential to save lives. An expanded second edition of the book is slated to be released in early October, coinciding with Fire Prevention Week in the US.
Korber says that Little Health Ambassadors has more partnerships with various organizations on the way, and he plans to continue developing books that help address problem areas for children and public safety issues.
“In many instances, children can be anxious before they get their first haircut, and parents can find it challenging to prepare them for it and ensure that they’re comfortable enough to proceed. With the stories of Marvin and Molly, we hope to give parents a tool that they can show their kids that it’s not so bad to get a haircut. It’s written and illustrated in a way that’s engaging for emerging readers from 3 to 6 years old. It’s my goal with Little Health Ambassadors to prepare children for the things they will encounter in life, and, at the same time, sharpening their reading skills,” Korber says.
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