As any parent of a food allergic child knows, children attending school is one of the more difficult parts. That is why I was intrigued by the book "Taking Food Allergies to School." It is written specifically for children about this issue.
Synopsis of the Story
The story is about Jeffrey, a child with multiple food allergies, including milk, peanuts, corn, strawberries, and wheat. The book opens with Jeffrey being ill from something he ate. Through this, the author describes Jeffrey's symptoms, including breathing problems, a stomach ache, and hives.
The authors stresses the fact that Jeffrey is "just like every other kid" since he play sports and other fun activities. Jeffrey, however, does have food allergies. From this, the author goes into a rather detailed explanation of an allergic reaction on a level that a child (depending on their maturity level) would most likely be able to understand on an elementary level.
The the story continues with how Jeffrey stays safe at school, including calling home if he is unsure of the safety of a food.
At the end of the book there are several bonus features:
- A pizza recipe that is free of several allergens.
- A quiz for students to take to help reinforce their food allergy knowledge after hearing the story
- 10 tips for teachers to help further their food allergy knowledge
First, I will say I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The story itself is not spectacular. However, the extra information the book provides is.
I really enjoyed the detailed explanation of what happens during an allergic reaction. There were terms like "mast cells" and "histamine" that are the correct terminology.
The book is listed as a target age of 5-10 years. At first, I thought it might be a little deep for Tyler (he will be 5 next month) but, on second thought, he is a very aware kid. He asks intelligent questions all the time about health issues and about his peanut allergy. Giving him terms and a more detailed explanation in a language that he can relate to might not be a bad thing.
The other thing I really enjoyed was the bonus features at the end. The pizza recipe did not look outstanding but is a great starting point for people that have never been introduced to food allergies.
The quiz for kids was very good. If this was read to a classroom of kids, it would be a great tool for reinforcement about the new information they just learned.
The information for the teacher was also good. Even though I think a lot of teachers are more aware of these things than they were even a few years ago, I am often shocked at stories I hear of how some don't get it in the least. The culprit is probably a lack of education.
This book is certainly worth buying. I think having several food allergy books in the library of a child with a peanut allergy is important.
I think this book would also be a great donation to your peanut allergy kid's classroom. It is a way to educate the whole class without being "the mean food allergy mom."