August 22, 2011

Book Review: Food Allergies

Food Allergies by Christine Taylor-Butler is a straightforward book about -- you guessed it -- food allergies.  The book explains the body' immune system, what allergic reactions might look like, unexpected foods and products that often contain common allergens, food labeling rules, and the risks of cross-contamination.

This is a very detailed book that goes beyond listing the most common food allergens and possible reactions.  My 6-year-old read parts of it by himself and it reinforced his need to avoid food-sharing and be vigilant with label-reading.  Much of the scientific/clinical language (immunoglobulins, antibodies) and in-depth information on government regulation will be too difficult for elementary school readers to fully understand on their own.  This would be good to read with your kids so that you can explain some ideas and gloss over others that are too abstract.  For younger audiences, definitely focus more on the diagrams, photos and accompanying descriptions. 
Common foods with allergens you might not have suspected.

Photo of a girl's swollen eyes during a mild allergic reaction.

This book is actually a terrific read for adults working with food-allergic children.  The visuals in the book are helpful and to the point, especially those that show what a child's body might look like in the midst of an allergic reaction. 
The book asks if it's safe for a peanut-allergic child to eat a friend's cookie.
Photo of a child's swollen lip during an allergic reaction to peanuts.

You can find this book for sale on Amazon.  I am planning to loan this book to Ryken's and Callan's teachers as a quick introduction to the world of food allergies.  I recommend all school libraries should have a copy of this book on their shelves as a resource to its teachers and curious parents. 

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