by Bonnie J. Kruszka
For children, a diagnosis of celiac disease and an abrupt change to a gluten-free diet can bring about an overwhelming number of questions and concerns. What is gluten? Why can’t I eat cake, cookies, and chicken nuggets like everyone else? What do I tell my friends? Answers to these and many other questions are provided in EATING GLUTEN-FREE WITH EMILY. Written by the mother of a child with celiac disease, who also has the disease herself, this book offers a reassuring look at celiac disease in language that a child can easily understand. This fictional story is based on the real-life experiences many newly diagnosed children face.
Five-year-old Emily and her parents wonder why she’s not feeling well. Her belly is swollen, and she feels moody and sick. A trip to the doctor raises some concerns and further tests show that Emily has celiac disease. Emily talks about what food she can and cannot eat, how her Mom buys special gluten-free food, and the need to stay on a gluten-free diet at restaurants, birthday parties, friends’ houses, school, and camp.
With its lighthearted, colorful illustrations, EATING GLUTEN-FREE WITH EMILY helps children see that having celiac disease is not so scary after all. Emily acknowledges that having celiac disease is sometimes tough, but talking about her feelings with her mom always makes her feel better. She knows that celiac disease is only part of who she is – she also likes to jump rope, paint, tell jokes, and pick flowers! This book’s positive message will be a huge boost to children with celiac disease, especially those who have been recently diagnosed.