Getting a celiac disease or gluten intolerance diagnosis as a child can be tough.  Even tougher– making that gluten-free transition and explaining to young kids why this has to happen.

Some gluten-free situations are most certainly easier to deal with than others.  Kids books created in the last few years has helped bring that potentially complicated information down to a manageable level for kids to understand.

Free to be…Gluten-Free! is one such new book. Authored by Heather Spergel, M.S. and illustrated by Anita Martino,  the book — all set in rhyme, tells the tale of a boy, who is very sick and no one knows why.  One drawing even depicts the sick boy laying listless on the couch while the rest of the family looks on the Internet to find out why he is so sick (remember those days?).

It depicts gluten as a “gluten monster” sort of a devilish creature causing harm to this boy.  At first of course he doesn’t know this, but eventually he is tested and finds out he can’t eat gluten.  He finds different ways to eat safely and push the gluten monster out of his life.

Gluten Monster as depicted on the back of the book.

I think this could be a good book for an elementary-aged student, as long as you don’t think they would get scared by the “gluten monster”.  He did seem creepy to me.

I did like that the book focused on gluten and the gluten-free diet.  While the boy does get a diagnosis in the book, it doesn’t say whether it is celiac disease.  So this book is good for any gluten-free child whether they have celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

The very beginning,  the book discusses getting tested before you go gluten free and it has recipes at the very end.  So while the guts of the book is for kids, there is some other takeaway information for adults as well.

Spergel sent me the book free of charge to review it.  I am donating it to our Twin Cities Celiac Walk fundraiser on May 4. If you are in the area and want to try to win a copy before you can get it anywhere else, come on over the the event!!

Otherwise, pre-orders are available now on  It will be available in June.  I do think the $19.99 price point is a little steep for a children’s illustrated book.  But there are other gluten-free related children’s illustrated books that are in the $15-19 price point too.  This book may be just right for your family.

You can also find out much more about the author on her Facebook page:


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One Response to “Kids’ Book Review: Free to be…Gluten-Free!”

  1. I cannot wait to get this book! My almost 7-year-old son is going through this! We just did blood work and now waiting for his endoscopy. He has had a tough time, but almost gluten-free!

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