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Diabetes and Allergies: Using Literacy to Help Children Cope with Medical Issues

Children’s literature is a developmentally appropriate and fun way to educate about illness. Whether sharing with classmates and friends or individual children, we were sent two books that can help youngsters understand their potentially life-threatening health conditions.

The Princess and the Peanut by Sue Ganz-Schmitt is a very well done.  This delightful story is loosely based on the Princess and the Pea, only the pea is a peanut. Referring to several other fairy tales, this book not only informs but entertains children.

Every queen knows that in order to find out if a princess is REAL, one must send the “alleged” princess to bed on a magnificent pile of mattresses, slip in a pea, and see how she sleeps. But when the royal kitchen is fresh out peas, the queen tries a peanut instead. The princess turns out to be as real as her food allergies.

This vibrant and humorous tale inspires, and educates children with allergies, as well as those who live in, and around food sensitive kingdoms. Includes a food allergy guide for adults, and kid-friendly allergy definitions.

Even Superheroes Get Diabetes is also by Ganz-Schmitt. It is not as well done as the princess book, but that may just be my preference for fairy tales over comic books. I did learn a lot about diabetes from the book.

Even Superheroes Get Diabetes focuses on the gift within the illness. It is the story of a boy named Kelvin who loves Superheroes. His childhood days are spent in imaginative play–saving the day. One day, his fantasies are marred by the reality of getting diabetes…the incessant finger pricks, shots, and the constant doctor’s appointments. When a mysterious doctor uncovers that Kelvin has superpowers, the story reveals itself as the genesis of a new kind of superhero. Kelvin is monikered ‘Super K’ and uses his superpowers to help other kids with diabetes. The discovery of Super K’s superpowers is akin to the discovery of one’s inner strength in the face of adversity–in the face of illness. The comic book style illustrations by Micah Chambers-Goldberg beautifully connect children and parents to the world of diabetes. The book includes a kid friendly diagram that explains type 1 diabetes, and definitions that discuss both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

I would like to find a similar book for my son’s heart condition.

Would I buy these books?  Yes, if I had a student or child dealing with these medical issues.

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

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