We have been focusing quite a bit on back to school here on Go Dairy Free this past week, but our round-up would not be complete without mention of Gina Clowes recent book, One of the Gang: Nurturing the Souls of Children with Food Allergies. Gina Clowes has been a huge inspiration to the food allergy community. Years ago, she reached out by creating Allergy Moms, an amazing online resource and support group for parents of children with food allergies. But she has taken it one step further by creating One of the Gang to help inspire food allergic little ones directly.
I found an awesome quote in a story about One of the Gang on the John Hopkins Children Center’s website that seemed like such a great synopsis of the book, “Gina set out to illustrate for her son [who has multiple food allergies]and others like him, that food allergies, while a part of their lives, are not roadblocks to happy ones. ‘I wanted to validate their feeling that it just stinks to have allergies, and then introduce them to other allergic children and adults who are leading rich, purposeful lives.’” And in my opinion, that is exactly what One of the Gang does.
I was smitten by the layout, pictures of actual food allergic children that perfectly coordinate with the message on each page. It is the first food allergy children’s book I have seen that used such a technique and I think this is so much more effective for the kids to be able to relate to the information, understand it, and not feel alone. I took a picture of one of the pages to give an idea for the style …
This page just happens to include Gina Clowes and her son (I thought it fitting), but there are various children and adults highlighted throughout the book. In fact, the book closes with a series of pages focused on successful adults (and children) who live with a severe food allergy, giving little ones the opportunity to dream big.
Bottom line: One of the Gang is an adorable, well thought out, and helpful children’s book. Though no children’s book is a one size fits all, this is the best food allergy children’s book that I have ever come across and a ‘must have’ to read with your food allergic children!