Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tears of Joy

So it's Thursday of the first week of school, and things are going well. Katherine is off to a great start, and she hasn't heard any other children complain about the new food allergy policies. Eli came bounding out of preschool on Tuesday announcing, "I have a good day at school!" And he didn't shed any tears on day two of preschool (today). Helen is adjusting to being alone with Mama.

Mama, on the other hand, has been weeping at the drop of a hat. Or the turn of a page, as it were. Oh hai. Has you met Gina Clowes' book, One Of The Gang: Nurturing the Souls of Children with Food Allergies? Well, buckle up, Buttercup, and grab your Kleenex. Remember when we were all talking about what a good children's book about allergies would look like? It's here, and its name is One of the Gang.

Do you know the Mister Rogers First Experiences series of books on divorce, when a pet dies, potty training, etc.? I love these books and have used them for many a parenting milestone. They have a calm, confidence-building tone, and they show photographs of real children going through the situation being discussed. (Yes, Amazon reviewers, some of the nice people in the photos are wearing dated clothing from the 80s. Listen to me: kids don't care. Never once has my child said, "Wow, I could really relate to these people if only they weren't wearing blouses with big bows at the neck and tinted eyeglasses with initial stickers on them.") One of the Gang has the same gentle, empowering tone as these books, if not the retro fashion sense. I think Family Communications should publish it.

One Of The Gang starts with a brief discussion of how children are different from one another, then moves into a specific discussion of food allergies and the struggles and emotions that go along with them. The book is addressed to children with allergies, but I think other children could learn from it, too. Then--genius. Gina writes that food allergies won't stop you from being what you want to be, and she includes photos of famous people who have food allergies, such as Jerome Bettis and Dr. Robert Wood. She ends by writing, "You are here for a very special purpose! I wonder what it is."

*Cue Parental Crying*

Here is what I think is most important about this book. More than any other allergy book we have read, this book prompted discussions about the emotions that go along with being a child with a food allergy. Katherine talked a lot about the page that says, "You might wish that you didn't have food allergies and that you could eat whatever you wanted." Her favorite photo is one of happy children eating ice pops, with the caption, "When other grown-ups bring treats that are safe for you, it's terrific!"

I am so grateful for this book. Thank you, Gina.

One Of The Gang: Nurturing the Souls of Children with Food Allergiesis available on Amazon for $15.29.

This review was written for Go Dairy Free.


  1. this sounds like a great book and your review is wonderful. and this line "You are here for a very special purpose! I wonder what it is."...that about put me over the edge. beautiful.

  2. Oh, I love it.

    I actually didn't know about the Mr. Rogers' books. I think I'll go look them up. Thanks.

  3. The book sounds great--thanks for letting us know about it. I know I'll be getting--80s styles or not!

  4. Oh, no! Gina's book is not 80s-esque at all--I was speaking of the old Fred Rogers books.

  5. I'll start working up the tears. Ha Ha. This book sounds great - thank you for letting us know about it.

    I've read more than enough about the physical part of it - the emotional just isn't covered so much.

  6. Sounds like a great book! I do love that ending line. Awwww. And how nice that the book validates an allergic kid's feelings of frustration instead of glossing over it with "oh you're fine and happy la la la!"

  7. Whatever. Grunge plaid punk is back and you know the 80's will be back too (or have they already been? Hmm...) Love the review, want the book.

  8. My husband fixed my computer and my internet explorer doesn't crash constantly - I am so happy to be catching up on my blog reading!!! This looks like a wonderful book. I am going to have to get it. Thanks for sharing about it.