When my daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease nearly 11 years ago I would have given anything to have a quick little book she could read to help her (and even my husband and I) understand what was going on with her. There are a handful of books out there now, and you can add Mommy, What Is Celiac Disease? by Katie Chalmers to that list.
I received the book (free of charge) from the author to review and post. I read through it, but had an epiphany to have my 8-year-old non-celiac child read it as well and get her take on it.
Overall I would say this is a good book for a family after a child is diagnosed with celiac disease, it’s positive, hopeful and educational. My 8-year-old, Grace, also enjoyed it saying, “actually I think it’s a really good book.”
Grace loved the illustrations– with the fun girl that was drawn and the backdrop was “real life”. I, too, thought the illustrations were unique and fun. I asked Grace how the book would be helpful for people who read it? She referenced two pages, one that explained what gluten is “..this page kind of introduces it a little bit: they would know not to eat wheat, barley and rye,” Grace said. And she also brought up the great quick reference to (mostly) easy-to-find and tasty gluten-free products as well the link to the author’s website. I had noticed that too and really liked it. In that regard, this is book could be a great first-reference tool for the new celiac family– seeking important information in a very easy-to-read format. In fact I think it would be a great handout book at a peds GI office.
One thing that struck me is that it seemed a little complicated for a kids book. To me a book with this look and feel is meant for an early reader of oh, say, 6? But I’m not so sure that’s the reading level of this book. I asked Grace if the book was easy to understand, she said “mediumish”. Then I asked her if she thought some of her younger friends would understand it and she said, “Maybe their mom could read it to them and explain it to them a little bit,” which is a great idea. I think the visuals in the book keep the younger kids entertained while everyone reading it (or getting it read to them) gets a great basic education on celiac disease.
The author noted to me that the book doesn’t tackle the whole issue with cross-contamination, which, as we all go forward with a gluten-free lifestyle, we learn cross-contamination is a issue that must be paid attention to. She said she has that and more information including a list of well-respected resources listed on her supportive website. However I would recommend a “keyword search” function on the site.
Bottom Line: if you’re thinking of purchasing this book for a new celiac family, go for it. Just know that kids 6 and younger will need some additional help. How to buy? Click here.