Last week I received a super fun package, containing a copy of “The Celiac Kid“, by Stephanie Skolmoski. The cover is amazing – I wish I could have a t-shirt in this design (except with a cartoon that looked a bit more like me, and a bit less like Charlie Brown with a toupee on:) ).
Since I don’t have any kids, I was trying to put myself in the seat of my 6 year old self when I read the book. I know that kids with Celiac’s must have a really hard time feeling “normal”, explaining their food choices to their friends, and learning about what is and is not okay for them to eat. I can see how a book like this could be really helpful in explaining the disease to younger siblings, cousins, or classmates who have never heard of a kid who can’t eat bread. There was obviously a lot of thought put into explaining each type of situation that a kid might find him/herself in (at school, at home, at a picnic, at a party).
I especially appreciated the pages about the mechanics of Celiac’s disease, how it destroys the villi in our intestines and makes us feel sick and lose nutrients. I wish that I could give some of the people I meet such a simple tutorial!
I also like that the author integrated a lot of typical kid foods into the book, to show that the diet doesn’t have to be so restrictive or unusual. However, there were a couple of things that I thought could be confusing to kids. Like there’s a page that says “I love waffles and pancakes – gluten free, of course… So you see, there are lots of different foods I can eat.” But, without describing that these are special waffles, made with different flour, I can see how another kid might think, “Oh great, my friend can eat waffles! I’ll make sure to share mine with him/her next time!”
When I first saw the cover of the book, I thought it was going to be more of a fairy-tale-like story about a kid who fights off gluten-filled foods, and maybe takes a journey inside his body (ala The Magic School Bus) to defend his GI Tract from the evil gluten proteins. Maybe he’d even have some kid of gluten-killing wand, or a sidekick of vitamins to defend himself with. Instead, the book is more of an explanation of what it’s like to live as a kid with Celiac’s. Which is definitely helpful, just not as exciting as I thought it would be. Maybe I should get to writing that Celiac Fairy Tale myself!
After reading the book, I was curious how many other children’s books were out on the market about having Celiac’s, and I found this whole list on Amazon! Who would have known that there were so many emerging resourced out there? Hopefully this trend continues so there is plenty ready for when I have kids.
The book is only $6.50, so there’s really no good excuse for not buying it for yourself, your son/daughter, or any young Celiac you know.