I just love this beautifully illustrated book about eight little bugs - the BugaBees - each with a different food allergy. These bugs share how they manage life's daily food challenges, whether in school, at a party or even at the beach, they know that bugs can still have fun without the foods that make them sick.
Children with food allergies often struggle, not knowing what to say when they are offered unsafe foods or when others are eating foods that are not safe for them. This book provides allergic children a simple sentence that let others know "It's really OK" if they can't eat the foods that they are being given. Often, my angel struggles to tell adults that a certain food is not safe. While our angel knows all of the key phrases, such as, "No, thank you, I am allergic," or "Mo-o-o-om! Take this off my plate!", this book goes a long way toward further equipping our allergic angels with vocabulary that could save their life.
What an important lesson for all children, and adults, to learn! So much of life in all cultures evolves around sharing food with each other. It is how we celebrate, we mourn, we meet and we part. This is not going to change today or tomorrow but with a little awareness, we can learn to take the focus of gatherings off of which foods we are eating and place it on the people with whom we are sharing that time. In this generation of allergies and obesity, I think that we can all use a reminder that the real blessings of life are good friends and the fun that we have together."No thank you," he says. It's really okay.I can still have lots of fun without soy anyway."
This is such a heavy message for such a joyful children's book. So I asked my angel, "What do you like about the BugaBees?" I expected to hear something like, "The colorful pictures," or "All the little bugs with the allergies." But, kids are so much more complex than we think. My angel said that the best part of this book was "that part in the back". The back of the book contains eight pages devoted to educating children about food allergies. One page is devoted to each bug and its food allergy. Then, the children are asked to identify foods that would make the bug sick, what would happen if the bug ate that food, and which foods are probably safe. Children are given more language that the bugs use to find out if a food is safe and are also asked to think about what the bugs might do instead of eating the unsafe foods. I was surprised and thrilled to see that this is the part of the book that my angel loves the most. We can never spend too much time reviewing safe foods, language and procedures with our allergic angels.
I can't wait to share this book with one of you. Educating angels with and without allergies will go a long way toward societal understanding and acceptance of the challenges that come with food allergies. I truly hope that you and your children enjoy this book as much as we do.
Check back later this week, I will be giving away a copy of the BugaBees: friends with food allergies by Amy Recob. Thank you, Amy for sharing a copy of this with us!