I received a review copy of Mommy, What Is Celiac Disease? by Katie Chalmers and have been meaning to post my thoughts and share the book with you. Now I am sure you are wondering, hmmm, GFM you don’t have any children. That’s just it. Had Katie not contacted me I would have likely not come across the book and I can safely say that would have been a major loss on my part. You see, yes, it is a children’s book that is both wonderfully written and illustrated but while I was reading it I found that it spoke to all Celiacs no matter where they are in their gluten-free journey.
I remember a time, around my diagnosis, where few had even heard of Celiac disease (myself included) and after my diagnosis it was pretty much a learn as you go experience with quite a few missteps along the way. Alas, that which does not kill us makes us stronger – and now I feel like a gluten-free veteran. Sure, there are tons of resources available to the newly diagnosed but as I read Katie’s book I kept wondering how great would it have been to have something like this 10 years ago? I am certain that even today a Celiac diagnosis can be overwhelming and remains a challenge for both adults and children. I was diagnosed in my twenties and was often perplexed with what being Celiac meant so I can only imagine how difficult it must be for young children to suddenly be told No, you cannot have what everyone else can.
What’s great about Katie’s book is that it does not explain Celiac as a singular experience but rather something an entire family must learn to come together and deal with. The central message of you are not alone is a powerful one that Katie managed to capture beautifully. Her focus was not on the taking away of foods but rather a learning experience on what (and why) foods could be safely enjoyed and what a Celiac must also look out for. The mother in the book quickly offers replacements for some favorite treats and approaches Celiac as something that makes the child special (i.e. bringing their very own cupcake to a friends party) rather than alienating the child and making them feel like they are the odd one out.
I can see this book being great to not only educate children and their friends about Celiac disease but also for various family members and friends who still might not get it yet. I can think of a few people in my life that could benefit from this book :-). It is important for all of us to take a page from Katie’s book in that we are not alone and being Celiac is not limiting but actually empowering and uniting.
Head on over to Katie’s Web site to learn more about her and her book and how to get your very own copy. She also has some great Celiac information and resources on there as well.