Just over a year ago Emma Amoscato published her excellent Living with Food Allergies – a blueprint for getting families with allergic children through their first few scary years. (See here for my review.) But her idea had always been to follow it with a companion book for the children themselves – and now, with the help of Allergy UK, she has done just that.
As a parent desperate to keep your child safe, it is crucial for you to understand your child’s allergies and how to manage them. But in the process of getting your head around the restrictions, the labeling, the action plans, how to use an auto injector and how to explain it to the school – or the grandparents who think you are just being paranoid – it is very easy to all but ‘forget’ your child. Yet it is your child who is best placed to keep him or herself safe so the earlier that they understand about their allergies and how to manage them, the better.
That sounds sensible to say but certainly not easy to achieve. Allergy, and especially food allergy, is complicated, unpredictable, dangerous and scary. So empowering your child to really understand their allergies and keep themselves safe without them becoming anxious, angry or depressed is no easy task. Which is why books such as Emma’s You, Me and Food Allergies are SO crucial.
Lots of lovely simple illustrations from Helen Braid mean that it is suitable for any age from toddler up to 9 or 10 – older children can read the text for themselves. The information is simple and clear and straightforward. Every page also comes with a:
- ‘call to action’
- an interesting and often reassuring ‘fact’ (1 in 13 children has a food allergy so you probably know someone who has one two)
- a ‘did you know?’ (allergic reactions can be different every time – often there is no rash or swelling on the body)
- and a ‘remember’.
This is the page about the possible allergic reactions they could experience.
The book is only 20 well spaced pages long – so not too daunting. But it manages to cover everything important including a page about how the kids feel about their allergies and how to handle those feelings. It also includes lots of really helpful hints for getting through the day both safely and enjoyably. Just to pick two:
- ‘Remember’ – Think about all the great foods that you CAN eat – not the ones that you can’t.
- ‘Action’ – Choose food-free fun. Write down all the things that you enjoy doing that don’t involve food.
And….. There is not only a book but a website, youmeandfoodallergies.com.
This offers posters that you could use at home or at school, colouring sheets, action and management plans, recipes, resources, articles and a childrens’ corner where children can meet others with food allergies. You can also buy both of Emma’s books from the site!
You, Me and Food Allergies costs £9.99 and is available right here.
If you have – or know – an allergic child – go buy it! Totally invaluable.