I Can Be a Superhero During a Lockdown by Rachel Tepfer Copeland is a social story available on Kindle and Amazon in hardcover and paperback. The author wrote it after her son went to preschool and they did a lockdown drill (ALICE drills) and had hidden in a dark room behind backpacks. This book is designed for young children from preK and older. The author is a Certified Child Life Specialist and mother of two in search of a child-friendly and developmentally appropriate book for her own young son. It is written in picture book style and encourages lots of interaction between the reader and the child(ren) when reading it.
The story is illustrated and is designed in a way that it is easy to read with children and encourages them to relate to their own lives – such as following the rules about wearing a seatbelt and wearing a bike helmet. The book then transitions into talking about school rules and fire drills. The book then transitions to a lockdown drill. It breaks down the rules into simple easy to follow directions of what to do including listening, staying quiet and very still until children are told to move. The children are given jobs and encouraged to follow directions. They are told to stop when the lockdown drill happens no matter if they are working playing or being outside. The children are portrayed as superhero’s and help keep themselves, their classmates, teachers and those around them safe.
During the lockdown drill it shows a dark classroom with children hiding and reminds them of the simple directions listen, stay quiet and stay very still. It also tells the children that they may hide in unconventional places like a bathroom, closet or other place that the teacher or adult in charge deems safe.
One of the things I liked about the book was that it featured many illustrations and was easy for my preschooler to relate to. I also liked that when you tapped on the text boxes, the text enlarged making it easier to read. I also liked that the book wasn’t too scary and didn’t portray the bad guy as too scary and he did not have any weapons. The police officer was very gentle as well. I also liked that the book talked about different potential locations for the lockdown as well as telling them that any adult in charge can give directions. With my preschooler, he is very concrete and sharing with him that any adult may give directions helped him to understand a bit better.
One of the enhancements to the book would be a printable that kids could use after reading it with their parent, caregiver, teacher or other adult to remind them of the rules. Having something to color and refer to visually can sometimes help children. I printed out the page of directions for my son to review with him.
Overall, this is a non-scary book that provides great information to children and helps them anticipate what a lockdown may look like and what is required of them. By providing concrete directions, they are encouraged to listen, stay still, and quiet. This helps to break it down into more concrete language that children this age need. The social story is designed for children in PreK and older, but can be adapted based on your child’s skill level and understanding.