by travis gupton
office of university marketing and communications
with a world still in a pandemic because of covid-19, one of the big topics is the use of a mask to help protect against the virus.
as k-12 schools reopened, university of central arkansas biology professor david dussourd wanted to assist parents and teachers explain mask-wearing to youngsters.
dussourd recently wrote a children’s book called “mommy says i have to wear a mask.” the book was released sept. 20 and is available on amazon.
“mask-wearing has become a huge political issue in this country,” dussourd said. “creating more division was not the goal of the book. the goal was to help parents and teachers.”
written in july, the book is 30 pages long and features pictures of animals, as well as photos of children, to help explain the importance of mask-wearing. the book emphasizes that mask-wearing is an act of kindness in preventing the spread of disease.
“i was trying to figure out what i could do to help out. i’m not trained as a virologist. i don’t have the skills necessary to work on vaccines or to work on treatments. i’m not trained to be a doctor or a nurse, so this was a way i could help parents,” dussourd said. “i was very fortunate to have colleagues at uca that were just really helpful. candice thomas, marvin williams and wendy holbrook helped me find parents who were willing to have pictures of their children in the book.”
even though the book is about masks, dussourd said he has a second concept he wants readers, including adults, to gain from the book.
“there are all kinds of animals in my backyard in conway,” he said. “i think it might surprise people what is living around us. creatures like armadillos, opossums, rabbits and all kinds of birds and insects. getting in touch with these animals can help us deal with the stresses that at times are overwhelming us. returning to nature is a way of bringing some calmness to our lives and some comfort amidst all the chaos.”
dussourd earned a bachelor’s in biology from dartmouth college, graduating magna cum laude. he earned a doctor of philosophy in neurobiology and behavior from cornell university. after working as a research associate at the university of maryland, dussourd came to uca in 1991.