Raising Awareness for Celiac Disease, Via a Children’s Book

Ninety-seven percent (97%) of people with Celiac Disease are walking around undiagnosed.  Left untreated, their intestines become damaged, leading to other serious condtions such as nutrition deficiencies, other autoimmune disorders and possibly even cancer.  That’s why raising awarenss is so important.  And what better group to educate than kids??  They will grow up understanding the disease, the importance of maintaining a gluten-free lifestyle and, most importantly, the symptoms and side effects for helping others.  Read on for a review of Mommy, What is Celiac Disease? by Katie Chalmers,  a delightful story about a positive conversation between a mother and daughter about what it means to have the disease.

The subtitle to the book is A look at the sunny side of being gluten-free, which explains the approach taken by the author for her and her daughter Morgan, both of whom have Celiac.  An approach I certainly agree with and spoke about to parents of the Rockland/Bergen R.O.C.K.

As the subtitle indicates, this book educates children (as well as adults) about Celiac Disease in a very positive light, focusing on what kids with Celiac CAN eat and how these foods will make them strong and healthy.  This is so important as parents are the ones that set the tone for how their children will approach Celiac Disease and a gluten-free diet for the rest of their lives.  This book is a perfect example for how to properly set that example.  As a registered dietitian, I also like that the majority of foods mentioned  are health-promoting, with a minimal focus on treats such as cupcakes and ice cream for birthday parties.

While keeping it positive, the narrative also manages to educate kids about what Celiac is, how it affects the body and the importance of managing a strictly gluten-free lifestyle to maintain health.  Kudos to Katie Chalmers for achieving both ends.  The story also addresses how Celiac is (and is not) gotten, whether medicine will need to be taken, and that living gluten-free is a team approach for the whole family to engage in. 

Clearly, Katie Chalmers wrote this book keeping in mind all of the issues she addressed when her daughter, Morgan, was diagnosed.  With this book, she is making a difficult task much easier for parents of Celiac children.

This is a fantastic book for parents and family members of young Celiacs, as well as for teachers to foster understanding and tolerance of the disease in the classroom.

For more information and to order the book, visit www.katiechalmers.com

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