Children’s book review – “Judah Maccabee Goes to the Doctor” for vaccine

Judah Maccabee Goes to the Doctor” is a recently published children’s book written by Ann D. Koffsky  and illustrated by Talitha Shipman.

It’s not aimed to introduce children to the science of vaccines, or to convince the heistant. It is, however, incredibly useful to parents who intend to vaccinate and want to help young children – maybe around the age of 2-6 – deal with fear of shots. And no, it’s not only for Jewish kids, though the Hanukkah theme may need explaining for others. It’s just a sweet, accessible story.

The story starts with an introduction to Judah and his family. Judah has a little sister called Hannah – a baby. He wants to be friends with her, and the scene describing his less-than-successful efforts to friend her will be relatable to many parents of multiple children. His Bubbe – grandma – helps him deal.

His grandmother also tells him the story of Judah Maccabee, who, along with his four brothers, led a rebellion against the Greek Empire when the Greek Empire occupied biblical Israel. Judah is naturally excited to hear about fighting, and imagines himself in the role. His grandmother gives him a toy shield as a Hannukah present.

The next part of the children’s book revolves around the children’s doctor visit. They are both deemed healthy, and then Judah is told he needs a shot. He – naturally – does not want one. Not even when his father explains a shot is like a shield. Then his father explains little Hannah is too young to get her own shots, and by getting his, Judah will protect her – by being protected himself, he won’t be able to get the sickness and that will keep him healthy, and prevent him from infecting Hannah.

This message helps Judah be brave and gets the shot. The book acknowledges it hurts, but that passes, and Judah is proud of helping to protect Hannah.

It’s a very sweet story. The pictures are fun and clear, the message positive. Children will enjoy the book, should be able to relate to it and it can help them approach being vaccinated in a more positive way. Most parents protect their children and vaccinate – but all of us want to make it easier, and many children understandably don’t like getting a shot. I’m glad this book exists to help.

Disclosure – I received the first copy from the author with a request to review it. After reading the book, I ordered two more copies. I look forward to reading them to my kids.

 
 
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Dorit Rubinstein Reiss

This article is by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, providing in-depth, and intellectually stimulating, articles about vaccines, medical issues, social policy and the law. 


Professor Reiss writes extensively in law journals about the social and legal policies of vaccination. Additionally, Reiss is also member of the Parent Advisory Board of Voices for Vaccines, a parent-led organization that supports and advocates for on-time vaccination and the reduction of vaccine-preventable disease.