June 25, 2024
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Book for Difficult Times Brings Comfort to Kids

Highlighting: “It’s Okay to Be Scared” by Sari Kopitnikoff.

“Sometimes, we have to write and illustrate a book in under a week. This was one of those times.”

With that, Sari Kopitnikoff—an educator, author and artist—announced her latest literary creation, “It’s Okay to Be Scared.” In just under a week, Kopitnikoff wrote and illustrated it, and then, with the help of a team of volunteer translators, translated it into Hebrew. Both versions are available online as free downloads, so kids and their families anywhere can read it.

After the awful news came out of Israel on Simchat Torah, Kopitnikoff reached out to parents and caregivers in Israel via social media, asking how she could offer support to them as an educator, artist,and author. The response was immediate, with numerous parents sharing their concerns about their children, who were grappling with understandable fears and anxiety. These parents sought a way to provide comfort and support to their kids, helping them stay calm and also feel a sense of connection to Hashem. Kopitnikoff got to work right away.

In “It’s Okay to Be Scared,” a young boy shares with his little ducky what helps him when he’s feeling afraid: which includes some helpful strategies from modern psychology as well as some ideas from Jewish wisdom. The goal of the book is to encourage kids to use helpful coping methods during times of fear and uncertainty, and to remember that Hashem is with them. Before releasing the book, Kopitnikoff asked a psychologist and psychotherapist to review the book—to make sure the concepts in the book are aligned with best practices. They fully supported the project.

Kopitnikoff shared the book widely on social media and posted it in her new WhatsApp group dedicated to parents and caregivers of children in Israel, where she has been sharing puppet shows and activity sheets as well. Some of her content’s focus has been addressing the reality of what kids are experiencing, such as the puppet show in which she shared affirmations to say during a siren or the “I Miss You” packet for kids to fill out about loved ones. And some of her work has been aimed at providing distraction or comfort, such as the color-by-number activity sheet that spells out “Am Yisrael Chai” or the Jewish-themed Sudoku activity.

Since the book’s release just one week ago, Kopitnikoff has received numerous messages of gratitude from parents and educators who have found “It’s Okay to Be Scared” to be very helpful in their settings. Some unexpected responses came from adults who expressed that the book had provided them with much-needed comfort during challenging times as well.

Kopitnikoff’s prayer? “May we soon live in a time when we don’t have to feel afraid. But until then, let’s help kids learn to cope with fear.”

You can find the books below, available as free downloads. And to join her WhatsApp group for parents and caregivers in Israel, reach out to the author: [email protected].

Find the English version here: bit.ly/itsokaytobescared

Find the Hebrew version here: bit.ly/hebrewitsokaytobescared


Sari Kopitnikoff, creator of That Jewish Moment, designs creative Jewish educational games, books and materials for all kinds of settings. She also runs workshops and mystery challenges for kids, teens and adults with the goal of helping participants tap into the beauty, playfulness and joy of Judaism. Find out more on thatjewishmoment.com or on social media, @thatjewishmoment.

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