Explaining Celiac Disease to a child (and even adults!) can be difficult. So, when I was recently introduced to a new children’s book that explains Celiac Disease, I was anxious to read it and see how the author approached this subject with her own child. My son was so young (18 mos) when he was diagnosed, that I didn’t need to tell him a lot about it in the beginning. His knowledge about Celiac Disease has grown gradually, as he got older and was better able to understand it. It gave me time to understand it myself, and think about how to approach the subject with him. By the time my daughter was born, a few months later, we had already switched our household to being completely gluten free.
As my kids got older, we did have conversations (and still do) about Celiac Disease, gluten, and how to deal with school, friends, restaurants, and other outings dealing with food. For us, the acceptance and understanding of being gluten free was a natural process because we dealt with it as new situations were presented to us. My children don’t know any different. We don’t lament over it, we just deal with it as a natural result of our intolerance to gluten. They are not embarrassed or uncomfortable about it. And I’m happy to say that they feel confident enough to tell friends about it and to ask about the gluten content in food before eating it. So, I don’t think that part of being diagnosed has been difficult for us.
I have, however, known other families who were diagnosed when the kids were older. They had already developed favorite foods – favorite gluten foods. Before the diagnosis, they were able to eat any snacks, lunches and treats at any party, event or restaurant without having to question the ingredients. For these kids and their families, I think the transition is more difficult. The parents are often overwhelmed by the experience. They are immediately forced to face it all: explaining it to family members, teachers, friends, cafeteria, restaurants, etc. This new book may be the first step to helping families accept the diagnosis and treatment, and see it as a happy alternative to an otherwise unhealthy life.
“Mommy, What Is Celiac Disease?” by Katie Chalmers is a children’s book that is beautifully illustrated and written as a dialogue between a mother and daughter. And to be honest, at first I was a little uneasy with the dialogue format. I read so many books to my children, that I guess I was expecting a story book. But, instead, I found this book to be a thoughtfully written suggestion of how to introduce and explain Celiac Disease to a child. Perhaps it will help you and your family members better understand Celiac Disease. It includes questions and answers about what Celiac Disease is, what gluten is, what it does to the body, and what that means for the family. As I read the book, I was drawn in by how the mother creatively explains Celiac Disease to her daughter in a language and terminology that a young child can easily understand. I was surprised by the detail that was put into describing the physical effects on the body. But, it is not a medical book. It was all explained in language that is appropriate for young children. And best of all, it is written with a very positive, loving voice that embraces the diagnosis and sees it as an opportunity to thrive.
My final thoughts? I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to explain Celiac Disease to a child 3-10 years. I think it’s probably too detailed for a younger child to understand. However, even if you have younger children, it would be a good book for parents to read. It certainly gives you ideas about how you can continue to explain the disease to them as they get older. Older children may also be interested to read it as a first step to understanding the disease. I feel like it is written for younger children, with analogies to nature and playground equipment. So, older children may not find the references to playground equipment very exciting, but they will be able to relate and easily understand the comparisons.
Buy the book. If you have children, grandchildren, or other young people who are curious about Celiac Disease, you can buy the book at Katie Chalmers’ website. Buy one for yourself, for friends, and maybe one to donate to your school’s library and the public library. It would be an easy way to introduce friends and classmates to Celiac Disease, and hopefully, help them gain a good understanding of what gluten free means. Perhaps it will even impress upon the teachers how important it is for children with Celiac Disease to remain gluten free. It isn’t just a diet of choice. For Celiacs, it is a necessary diet for a healthy life. [I do not get a commission for these sales. I simply think it is a worthy investment for increasing awareness about Celiac Disease.]
Gluten Free Holiday Giveaway x10! Not ready to buy the book? Or, maybe you like the idea of having multiple copies to give to other family members. The author of the book, Katie Chalmers, has put together a fabulous giveaway with fabulous gluten free products. Celiac Family and 9 other blogs will be hosting the same giveaway over the next two weeks. One winner will be chosen from each blog. You may enter the giveaway on each of the blogs to increase your chances of winning, but you can only win once. Several companies that make gluten-free products have donated items for the giveaways. Just take a look at all the good stuff in the giveaway.
Giveaway Goodies. Contents may vary slightly, but each winner can expect to receive the following:
- Signed copy of “Mommy, What is Celiac Disease?”
- Schar 123 Milly PlayMais- dice game & biodegradable natural toy activity brick set
- Schar products: Cheese Bites, Chocolate -or- Vanilla Sandwich Creme Cookies, Hazelnut Wafers
- Pamela’s Products: Single Serve Pancake Mix, Single Serve Brownie Mix, Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookie two-pack, Tablespoon/teaspoon measuring spoon, kids sized t-shirt- color will vary
- Nature’s Path: Peanut Butter Panda Puffs & crispy rice bars- flavors will vary, $1 off coupons
- Mary’s Gone Crackers: one of the following: box of cookies -or- crackers -or- Sticks & Twigs
- Snyder’s of Hanover: bag of gluten-free pretzel sticks
- Chebe: pizza crust mix -or- all purpose bread mix
- Bob’s Sweet Stripes: one bag of soft peppermint candy sticks
- Stuffed teddy bear: colors may vary
- Holiday pencils, eraser, holiday notepad & plastic snowman cereal bowl
- Large holiday gift bag & small holiday gift bag & tissue paper- will need to be assembled to give as gift
Where to Enter. Be sure to visit each website below for another chance to win the fabulous prize pack! (But remember, you can only win once.)
Accustomed Chaos – hosted by Devan
Adventures of a GF Mom – hosted by Heidi
Be Free For Me – hosted by Kathleen
Celiac Family – enter below in the comments
Gluten Free Betsy – hosted by Betsy
Gluten Free Easily (gfe) – hosted by Shirley
Gluten Free is Life – hosted by Kim
Gluten Free Philly – hosted by Michael
Gluten Free Taste of Home – hosted by Cinde
Simply Sugar & Gluten Free – hosted by Amy
Finally – How to Enter the Giveaway!
- Simply leave a comment on this post telling me about the gluten free product that helped you the most when you first started on the gluten-free diet. (It can be a food, a cookbook, book about Celiac Disease, or maybe even a friend.) Or, if you aren’t on the diet yet, just tell me which of the prizes interests you most.
- You can receive bonus entries for letting your friends know about the giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog. Just be sure to come back and leave additional comments below letting us know where you mentioned it.
- Make sure when you’re leaving a comment, that you put your email address in the appropriate box so that I can contact you if you win.
- The giveaway will run from now until Dec. 15, 2010; 10 pm EST. The winner will be chosen using Random.org. The winner should respond within 24 hours after being contacted by email. If I’m unable to contact the winner, another winner will be chosen. We’d love for the winner to receive the prize before Christmas, so that you can enjoy the goodies during the holiday.
- Good Luck!
Additional Rules for the Gluten Free Holiday Giveaway Galore x10!
- All 10 of these contests are open to residents of the USA. Only the Accustomed Chaos and Gluten Free Easily contests are also open to Canadian residents.
- All 10 contests begin on Wed. Dec. 1, 2010 and will end on Wed. Dec. 15, 2010 at 10pm EST.
- Entry requirements will vary between bloggers. Please follow their directions to enter.
- Entrants can only win once total within all 10 giveaways. If anyone is chosen more than once as a winner, another winner will be chosen so everyone only wins once.
- One winner per household.
- Winners with valid entries will be selected at random. The winners will be announced and notified via email and must reply within 24 hours to claim. Otherwise, another eligible entry will be chosen, in order that all prizes will arrive before Christmas. So please remember to check your email on Dec.16th.
- If any of the 10 prizes do not arrive before Christmas because of any unforeseen holiday mail rush problems, the USPS, Katie Chalmers and hosting bloggers will not be held accountable.