In a kindergarten classroom at Indianapolis Public School 91, Anissa Hakim ’15 calms a young girl who is terrified of receiving a vaccine.

This is not the first time Hakim has spoken with a child scared of vaccination, but this time, she knew exactly how to approach the subject to ease her student’s nerves.

Hakim is working on a children’s book project called “Max Greene and the Vaccine Team,” which focuses on educating children about vaccines to dispel fear and anxiety over shots.
Anissa Hakim and Mara Olson did the illustrations for "Max Greene and the Vaccine Team."

“I thought, ‘Perfect, I’m writing about this!’” Hakim, an Elementary Education major in Butler’s College of Education, said. “I started talking to her about the story and the characters to show that the shot doesn’t want to make you feel bad. The book project was only in the editing process, but I was already seeing how it could affect children.”

The intercollegiate project organized by Butler University joins students from several of Butler’s colleges to publish and sell a children’s book on the topic of their choice.

Authors of “Max Greene and the Vaccine Team” include education majors Hakim and Katrina Rodriguez ’15, business majors Matt Speer ’15 and Andres Pena ’15, and pharmacy majors Emily Ellsworth ’15 and Terri Newman ’15.

The team has worked on the project since last spring, when the members decided the book topic would be vaccination. After conducting some research, Hakim said they found only one piece of children’s literature that focused on vaccination.

Enter Max Greene, a friendly vaccine who just wants to help kids and their communities stay healthy and happy.

Newman said she put her pharmacy background and experience with children to use while writing the story. The plot uses the characterization of objects in the doctor’s office and fun rhymes to help children understand the importance and ease of getting a shot to keep them healthy.

Speer said the goal of the project is to produce at least 1,000 copies of the book to place in doctor’s offices, private homes, and schools.

The Indiana Immunization Coalition has funded the first round of publishing for 1,000 books in addition to about $1,100 of presales. “Max Greene and the Vaccine Team” can be pre-ordered online at the book website.

Speer said the team is exploring options to donate a portion of the proceeds to fund child vaccination in developing nations.

Stephanie Fernhaber, Assistant Professor of Management in the College of Business, helped to organize this book project as well as past intercollegiate book projects. She said the strength of collaborations such as this one comes from the diverse minds and talent brought together into one large project.

Fernhaber said the team of students has worked cohesively to independently manage all book responsibilities.

With the story and illustrations sent off to the publisher, it is just a matter of weeks before the team will hold copies of the book. Hakim said this is a moment she has anticipated since the start of the project last spring.

“I’m a real author! It’s hitting me all the time,” she said. “It’s cool to think that this book is always going to connect us. We’re all wondering where in the future this might take us.”