by Kelley Lindberg
A great way to help kids learn about their own food allergies, or to help their classmates in preschool or elementary school learn about food allergies, is through colorful, informative, and engaging book.
The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) blazed the trail with food allergy books for kids. On their website, you can find plenty of books they’ve produced, as well as books written by other authors and publishers (see FAAN's books for kids here). Many more food allergy titles are available on http://www.amazon.com/ and http://www.barnesandnoble.com./
Here’s what my survey of food allergy books for kids turned up. I haven't read them all, so I don't guarantee they'll fit your needs, but use this list as a starting point. Got a favorite I haven’t listed? Post a comment and share the title and author!
Alexander the Elephant – This wonderful series of books from FAAN covers lots of events, like school bullies, babysitters, plane rides, birthday parties, and Halloween trick-or-treating. There are also coloring books. Alexander is allergic to peanuts, and his friends are allergic to other common allergens, so the lessons are universal. The Halloween book is a great way to prepare little ones for a safe trick-or-treating experience.
Lenny the Lion – Also from FAAN and similar to Alexander the Elephant, Lenny the Lion is allergic to milk. Perfect for little kids, this series includes Lenny Learns About Food Labels and How Lenny Found Out About His Food Allergy.
Susie’s Sister Has a Food Allergy – This FAAN book is perfect for siblings who are maybe a little confused or even jealous of the attention their allergic sibling receives.
Kim Goes to Camp – This FAAN book is for slightly older kids who may be worried about going to sleep-away camp. In Kim Learns How to Take Care of Herself, Kim learns the value of managing her own food allergies and eczema.
Allergy Tales, by Carey S. Shoemaker – FAAN and Amazon offer two books in this line: A Birthday Party, and Making Friends.
The BugaBees: Friends with Food Allergies, by Amy Recob – This book features 8 bugs with different food allergies having fun together in a variety of places.
No Lobster, Please!, by Robyn Rogers – James starts out upset, but learns that he’ll be okay with his seafood allergy if he’s careful.
One of the Gang, by Gina Clowes – Includes photos of real children “who come together to understand and cope with their feelings about living with food allergies.”
The Peanut-Free Café, by Gloria Koster – In this story, teachers and friends find a way to make school lunch safe and fun for a new peanut-allergic student.
Why Am I Different, by Naomi Antenucci – A picture book for preschoolers that explains how having a food allergy is just part of who they are.
Taking Food Allergies to School, by Ellen Weiner – A colorful picture book that explains food allergies to kids. Includes a Kids’ Quiz and Ten Tips for Teachers.
Allie the Allergic Elephant, Chad the Allergic Chipmunk, and Cody the Allergic Cow, all by Nicole Smith – A good introduction to food allergies for kids. Allie is allergic to peanuts, Chad is allergic to tree nuts, and Cody is allergic to milk.
The Princess and the Peanut Allergy – A girl plans her birthday party, complete with a nutty brownie birthday cake, but when she finds out her friend can’t come because of her peanut allergy, they have a big fight. Then the birthday girl reads “the Princess and the Pea” and realizes that her friend is so sensitive that even a tiny piece of peanut can hurt her – just like the tiny pea under the princess’s mattresses. So the birthday girl finds a solution that will make everyone happy.
A Day at the Playground with Food Allergies, by Tracie Schrand – Shows why it’s important to be careful at the playground, and why sharing isn’t always a good idea.
No Nuts for Nutty, and Nutty Scurries to School, by Stacey Fisher – In this series, Nutty the squirrel can’t eat nuts.
Abby the Alley Cat: Staying Safe from Dairy, by Myronie McKee – A picture book about Abby and how she refused dairy without feeling like she’s missing out.
The Very Non-Dairy Christmas, by Stephanie Haag Foraker – Jonathan feels sad that he’s missing out on Christmas goodies because of his milk allergy, but guess who is also learning to deal with a milk allergy? Santa!
Food Allergies and Me: A Children’s Book, by Juniper Skinner – Join Jack for a day as he goes to school, an allergist visit, and a playground, and even takes his own “safe cupcake” to a birthday party.
The Day I Met The Nuts, by Mary Rand Hess – A boy discovers he’s allergic to The Nuts one day at school, and goes through a range of emotions and he learns about them.
The Allergy Buddy Club, by Cindy Rice Andrea – From the Green Apple Tales, this book shows three animal friends learning how to protect themselves, make new friends, and help others. The book includes info for adults, as well as two recipes at the end.
Can I Eat This?, by Trinace Johnson – Appears different from other food allergy books because this one uses rhymes and crosses racial barriers.
Horace and Morris Say Cheese (Which Makes Delores Sneeze), by James How, Amy Walrod, and Jason Harris – Delores the Mouse finds out she’s allergic to cheese just before the big Everything Cheese Festival, and all she can think about is cheese. These characters appear in two other books (non-allergy related), and the language is rhythmic and delightful.
Everyday Cool with Food Allergies, by Michael Pistiner, MD – Designed for both kids and their caregivers, it discusses food allergy safety and management.