The holidays are just days away! Try giving a book that a family with food allergies will treasure. Or, donate a book to your child’s classroom or school library!
Despite the growing number of cases, food allergic kids often feel alone with their allergy. It is so important for kids with food allergies to see this aspect of themselves reflected in literature and elsewhere. Plus, these books are great teaching tools for both a child with a food allergy as well as their siblings and classmates!
1.The Bugabees – Friends with Food Allergies, by Amy Recob
Ages: preschool – 7
Beautifully and colorfully illustrated, The Bugabees is a story about eight insect friends who each have one of the different Top 8 food allergies. They talk about their need to stay away from various treats and lightly touch on allergic symptoms they might experience. Importantly, the bugs each repeat a mantra for kids with food allergies which reinforces that they can have fun without their allergen! My daughter immediately noted that her brother has food allergies and was singing along with their rhythmic mantra by the end!
2. The BugyBops – Friends for All Time is the sequel in which the Bugabees friends learn about why their friends avoid certain foods, what an EpiPen is and why it’s important, and what they can do to keep their friends safe. This is a fantastic companion book to The Bugabees! I would highly recommend for a classroom visit and school library.
Ages: preschool – 8
3. Joey Panda and His Food Allergies Save the Day: A Children’s Book, by Amishi S. Murthy, MD and Vivian Chou, MD
Ages: Preschool – 8
Written by two pediatric allergists, the story of Joey Panda – a kid with multiple food allergies who is nervous about his first day of school, a situation that many food allergy families face. To Joey’s surprise, not only does he find out that many of his new friends are already familiar with food allergies but that he has the knowledge and power to become a superstar. This is story that acknowledges a child’s fears about going to a new school with food allergies and turns it into a story of empowerment. Just the kind I love!
4. The Peanut Pickle, A Story About Peanut Allergy, by Jessica Jacobs
Ben has a peanut allergy. Sometimes he finds it hard to talk about. But now that he’s six, he’s finding ways to tell family and friends about his food allergy. Kids with food allergies will recognize themselves in Ben and the situations he faces – important for children who often feel alone with their allergy. This is a great book for your child to practice what to say to keep him or herself safe.
5. The Princess and the Peanut Allergy, by Wendy McClure
Centered around two best friends, Paula and Regina. Regina wants a nut-laden cake for her birthday. Her friend, Paula is allergic to peanuts – causing problems for them both. The girls have an argument that is ultimately resolved when Regina realizes that having her nut-filled cake may compromise her friendship with Paula. And, Regina surprises her friend by ordering her birthday cake nut-free. The princess and pea analogy used to enlighten Regina works as a way of explaining that even the smallest bit of peanut could be extremely harmful to someone who is allergic to them. Importantly, the book addresses some of the social issues that can arise from having a food allergy and helps articulate conflict resolution in an age-appropriate way.
6. The Peanut-Free Cafe, by Gloria Koster
Ages: 5-9Grant is a new student at the Nutley School – where everyone enjoys PB&J at lunch. As a result, he’s forced 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. This story is clever and the idea of a creating a peanut-free cafe at our house and at his school greatly excited my son!
(Thank you in advance! A portion of the proceeds of affiliate links go toward AllergyStrong.org – an organization aimed at helping at risk families with food allergies.)