After spending the first few months of the pandemic watching Netflix, Priya Shah decided to do something productive. She collaborated with RBHS students to create The Kids Quarantine Challenge Book.
A mix of puzzles, word scrambles and other activities, the book teaches children how to stay healthy. Shah was responsible for the book’s dental content, including a coloring-page lesson about tooth enamel, dentin and dental pulp.
“I wanted to teach them more about what dentistry is and what they’re teeth are like rather than just telling them what to do,’’ says Shah, a fourth-year student who plans on becoming a pediatric dentist.
Shah and the book’s other contributors are members of the New Jersey Medical Student Coalition, who took a comprehensive approach. “It was great working with students from different fields. It started out as a dental thing but I wanted there to be a dental component,” said Shah. The book’s co-creators are Neil Jain, Abhay Aradhya, and Nehi Patel.
An important aspect of their mission was to alleviate childhood fears of doctor and dentist visits. “We know that sometimes kids are scared of the doctor and dentist and we wanted to change that perspective,’’ she explained.
Shah, who lives in Montville, has always enjoyed writing and welcomed the chance to employ her skills with The Kids Quarantine Challenge Book. But every day in the pediatric clinic is a reminder that communicating with kids is a crucial part of the job.
“I think a big part of pediatric dentistry is storytelling,’’ she said. “You have to engage your patients and you want them to be involved in their own dental care. That’s the only way they’re going to take care of their teeth, is if they’re interested. And it starts in the dentist’s chair.’’
The self-published book is available on Amazon.com for $6.99. Proceeds benefit the work of the NJ Medical Student Coalition.