Contributing GAW writer Michelle K. recently gave a lesson on food allergies to her nut-allergic, seafood-allergic son's class. To read more about Michelle's presentation, check out her previous post.
Taking Food Allergies To School by Ellen Weiner is great for food-allergic children, classmates, teachers, and friends. When I was looking for a food allergy book to read to my son's 2nd grade class, the title alone immediately caught my attention. It stated my exact intention of taking the topic of food allergies to school and doing a classroom presentation to increase awareness. This book is based on the author's son, Jeffrey, who has multiple food allergies including milk, corn, strawberries, peanuts and anything made with wheat. Jeffrey shows us that having food allergies is just a part of life and that although he must take safety precautions and follow a strict diet, food allergies don't have to interfere with the things kids love to do such as playing sports, going to school, and playing with friends. The book also describes the visible signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction as well as what happens microscopically. It goes as far as to describe the immunologic response to a food allergen, but in a very kid-friendly way. The language involves words such as white blood cells, antibodies, mast cells, and histamines, but the illustrations offset any hint of a strong technical tone by colorfully depicting these cells as having facial expressions. The cells come to life as they interact with each other and the allergen itself. By providing this explanation, I feel that this book reinforces the fact that having a food allergy is not made up, that it is a real thing, and therefore, should be taken seriously. Finally, the author even includes an Allergy-Free Pizza Recipe and a list of Ten Tips for Teachers. For those reasons and more, I think this book would make a great teaching tool for a classroom presentation on food allergies and a perfect donation to any classroom library.
Kian's classmates are now more aware of food allergies, what happens to the body during a reaction, what he has to do to stay safe, and what they can do to keep their food-allergic friends safe! Want to browse through some food allergies books for kids? Come to our Food Allergies Rock event! RSVP on our event page by 8pm PST on Monday October 31 for your chance to win a set of Allergy Alert Stick Ons.