Montgomery County News, Arkansas -

Mother-daughter collaboration leads to book, superheroes for students in a COVID year

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – The 2020 school year has been like no other. Alison Crane, Garland County extension agent, and her daughter, Anna, spent part of this summer with a plan to help teachers and students as they returned to class during a pandemic.

The result of their effort is the book, “Zoe and the Very Different New School Year.” In this book, the lead character, Zoe, returns to school and learns what it means to go to class during a pandemic and how to adjust to new situations, including not being able to share cookies at lunchtime.

“The need to help children cope in a positive manner with social distancing and sanitation steps like wearing masks is very important,” Alison Crane said. “This is going to be especially hard for young children because social distancing goes against their natural tendencies.”

The Cranes also created the Super Clean Team: Super Soaper, Mask-e-teer, Dynamic Distance Dude and Super Clean Kid, a quartet of youngsters whose superpowers enable them to help their peers understand the importance of mask-wearing, sanitizing, hand washing and social distancing. 

“We had brainstormed a kind of fact sheet with comic strips to keep kids’ interest in it with the adventures of the Super Clean Team and their fight against the invisible Mr. Covid and his evil sidekicks flu, strep, etc.,” Crane said.

Now the Cranes’ efforts are available to schools and teachers online:

The page contains digital assets that teachers and parents can use in their classrooms and other learning spaces to remind students of the new skills they need for their new school year. 

To learn more about extension and research programs in Arkansas, visit

Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk, @uaex_edu or @ArkAgResearch.


About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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