How to talk about eczema at school? New book for kids explains how through stories
Victoria Yap-Chung’s life was already busy. As an actress, model and producer, she had a full plate. But when her daughter Imani was born in 2020, it became a whole lot more complicated. “Imani’s eczema was obvious within the first month. She couldn’t sleep and neither could we. At night she scratched until her skin was bleeding. It broke my heart.”
Like many parents of children with severe eczema, Victoria spent hours researching how she could help her baby. Many foods triggered Imani’s eczema and once Victoria identified them, Imani’s eczema became a little easier to manage, although flareups still occur. As she read more about the hurdles that her daughter would likely face, she became increasingly concerned about how eczema would affect her self-esteem when she started school.
“I felt I had to do something to help Imani and kids like her deal with the emotional challenges of eczema,” said Victoria. So, whenever she could grab a minute to herself, she began to write a story that would eventually become a children’s book, Caroline’s Itch – A Story About Eczema. “I wanted to write something that would give kids perspective on their eczema and help them to talk about it to others.”
Beautifully illustrated and told in rhymes to engage young readers, the book follows 6-year-old Caroline during her first day at school, which includes swimming class.
“Her face was red as a beet,
and the patches were bleeding,
But worse were her classmate’s stares,
which gave her an awful feeling.”
Caroline feels so awful, in fact, that she doesn’t want to go to school ever again. But her mom steps in to support her and provides a strategy to help.
“We’ll arrange a presentation at school for all to see.
Then everyone will know what eczema is!
You’ll feel better soon. Trust me.
Let’s write down the facts about eczema.
One thing you must know:
You don’t have to feel sad;
you’re never in this alone.”
Caroline goes on to make the presentation and her newly educated classmates begin treating her like any other child.
Writing and launching the book required focused effort. “I really had to find every spare minute to do it,” says Victoria. Victoria’s life is not likely to get less busy anytime soon though – her second child is due any day now.