LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom

Caroline Conquers her Corona Fears

A free resource created by LSU Health New Orleans to help the nation’s children

Caroline Conquers her Corona Fears book

A trio of LSU Health New Orleans Clinical Rehabilitation and Counseling colleagues who are counselors and Registered Play Therapists, have developed a creative and innovative resource for parents and caregivers to help children cope with the stress and anxiety of the COVID-19 pandemic. And it is helping children not only in New Orleans, but all over the United States.

“Caroline Conquers Her Corona Fears allows kids to discover ways to cope with the many evolving changes through playful, alleviating techniques,” says Erin Dugan, Ph.D., CRC, NCC, LPC-S, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor, Professor and Interim Head of the Department of Clinical Rehabilitation and Counseling at LSU Health New Orleans School of Allied Health Professions.

“When cases began appearing in New Orleans and our University was making plans to implement remote learning, we knew we needed to create a resource, a bibliotherapy resource, to help support the children during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Associate Professor Krystal Vaughn, Ph.D., CRC, NCC, LPC-S, Registered Play Therapist Supervisor.

Bibliotherapy is a technique where therapists use books as a tool to treat mental or psychological disorders. “It has gained much recognition over the years and especially helps connect kids to current events, thoughts and feelings,” adds Dr. Dugan.

Follow Us Subscribe RSS Feed

Media Contact

Leslie Capo

Office: 504-568-4806

Cell: 504-452-9166

“We knew it would be important to find ways to connect with our patients as this pandemic has increased the stress levels and worry levels of not only our clients, but their family members as well,” notes Assistant Professor Kellie Camelford, Ph.D., LPC-S, NCC.

They started brainstorming. What would the children be thinking about? What would concern them the most? What questions would they have? What information would be the most helpful? And what was the best format to reach the children?

children drawing at home with family
“Dr. Camelford started doodling and drawing, and that’s when we collectively thought it might be fun to have it as a coloring book since that is a great activity for kids to utilize as a coping technique,” says Dr. Vaughn.

“Coloring is often a coping technique I share with clients of all ages as a way to reduce stress or anxiety,” Dr. Camelford says. “There’s something freeing for someone to have only one task to focus on that is mindless and mindful all at the same time.”

Camelford also illustrated the book. “Drawing, doodling, and coloring are techniques that I use as a personal coping technique and probably why I enjoyed working on this project so much.”

What began as an idea in a meeting in a conference room quickly began to take shape, and as much more than a simple coloring book.

“We would pass the book off to one another to make edits and share ideas,” recalls Vaughn. “It became a passion project that we would work on at night during the first hectic week of working remotely and training to provide for telehealth services.”
illustration from Caroline book
And Caroline Conquers her Corona Fears was born. It is a coping skills book that children can enjoy while learning to navigate the strange new world of the COVID-19 pandemic. They travel along with Caroline, a New Orleans girl who is the main character. Her journey takes her through her school closing, staying at home with her family while her parents work, and she goes to school on her computer. They see her question why her friends can’t come over and why she can’t hug her grandmother. It explains terminology like “social distancing” and “flattening the curve.”
The book offers numerous coping skills, the development of a coping bag, and a visual schedule to organize their days.

“What started out as a way to help our clients in our clinic has really taken off nationally,” Vaughn says.

“Since we posted this booklet on our website, it is accessible to many and we made it free because we know many are in need of resources,” Dugan says. “We’ve had extreme outreach from schools in Oregon to hospitals in Chicago looking to use the book and thanking us for making the book available so that they can give it to members of their community,” reports Dugan.

“We have been surprised at the impact this small project has made throughout the nation and humbled that we have created a resource that people connect with,” adds Camelford. “The project was fun for me because it allowed me the opportunity to practice what I preach. At a time when things were unknown and changes were fast-paced, I could focus on simplistic images to create and draw.”

Caroline Conquers her Corona Fears is free and available for download at