Hey, bookies! I just read The Peanut-Free Cafe by Gloria Koster. It’s a story about a new student at the Nutley School, where everyone enjoys PB&J at lunch, forcing the peanut-allergic new kid to eat by himself at a peanut-free table. In an effort get to know him, the school offers an irresistible peanut-free cafe for anyone willing to give up their peanut butter.
The story is clever and the idea of a creating a peanut-free cafe at our house greatly excited my son (as if my house isn’t ALWAYS a peanut-free cafe, but who’s counting…). However, I would have liked it better if the story focused more on Grant, the child with the peanut-allergy, and his feelings rather than the kids who are able to eat regularly.
Kids with food allergies are looking to see parts of themselves reflected in the media and literature. And, while my son appeared ready to connect with the Grant, his relationship with the character and plot faded rather quickly as it more prominently focused on a child without food allergies.
That said, I think this is a great book to have in school libraries. It should teach students a bit about what kids with food allergies go through and inspire compassion. The librarian at my son’s school already ordered a copy earlier this year and the book is constantly checked out.