Grandmother Mosquito: A new education tool for OCMVCD
Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District (OCMVCD/District) considers education an essential function of vector control. The challenge is in making a lasting impression. The District values all the interactions and educational opportunities with the public, both online and in-person. The challenge is how to keep mosquito control in people’s minds, beyond a fleeting interaction.
The idea of a children’s book seemed perfect for keeping mosquito control in people’s working memory. Children love books and for many families, shared reading is a nightly ritual. A typical habit of many children is to reread books over and over. As children hear stories, they internalize the message of the story. Parents who read with their child also learn as they read.
The story centers around the character Grandmother Mosquito, whose words are a warning to her grandchildren. Many of her children were found by humans and did not make it into adulthood. As she spins her tales, the readers discover through words and illustrations where mosquitoes live and how they can be eliminated. In addition, there are informational pages at the end of the book that describe the characteristics and behaviors of invasive Aedes mosquitoes, common mosquito production sources, differences between male and female mosquitoes, and the functions of the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District.
In addition to education, this book is an opportunity to celebrate the Art in STEAM. The science in public health is assuredly technical. OCMVCD chose to highlight the beauty in science in Grandmother Mosquito’s illustrations. Instead of having highly scientific illustrations, the District sought to work with Ana Ramírez, a graduate student in entomology at UC Davis and an artist. With Ana’s help, the illustrations featured in Grandmother Mosquito tell the story in a colorful and whimsical style, while still providing key educational facts about mosquitoes living and thriving in backyard environments.
Grandmother Mosquito launched on June 18th during National Mosquito Control Awareness Week. Events promoting the book included a story time partnership with the Orange County library system; education events with read-aloud, singing, and crafts at Pretend City Children’s Museum; and Mosquito Education Week from June 18-25 at Discovery Cube of Orange County.
In addition to sharing Grandmother Mosquito at public events, the District wanted to make the book as accessible as possible. To accomplish this goal, the District’s Public Information and Education program staff developed the following initiatives:
- Provide copies of the book to Orange County Public Libraries
- Feature Grandmother Mosquito during story times at Orange County Libraries
- Expand partnerships with local children’s museums
- Provide free digital copies to all teachers who participate in the District’s mosquito education program
- Provide free Kindle eBook for members of Kindle’s unlimited subscription service and free download during the first five days of National Mosquito Control Awareness Week (June 19-23)
- Include book giveaways at events (after completion of mosquito-themed activities)
- Create a competitively priced book sold on Amazon for $6.99 and Kindle eBook download for $1.99
- Make a free digital copy available on the OCVECTOR.ORG website
- Attend the Orange County Children’s Book Festival to promote Grandmother Mosquito and to provide “traditional” educational materials to attendees.
Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District invites you to pick up a copy of Grandmother Mosquito today!
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