Around Christmas 2010, my mother was diagnosed with Celiac disease. She couldn’t eat gluten – breads, pastas, cakes, cookies, and grains of all sorts were suddenly off limits. In fact, her intestines had suffered so much that for a year, she couldn’t eat dairy either! Going to a restaurant? Forget it! Who even knew what gluten was in 2010?!
More than a decade later, there are a lot more options for people with dietary restrictions. Some restaurants even have a dedicated gluten-free menu. And the more we talk about Celiac, the better it will be. It’s not a fad young adults enjoy – it’s an autoimmune condition that even affects young children!
Enter Abigail Rayner, author of Violet and the Crumbs – A Gluten-Free Adventure. Poor little Violet is afraid of her food being contaminated with gluten… so she sits alone at lunch and doesn’t go to birthday parties anymore. Then she begins standing up for animals who shouldn’t be fed gluten either – the classroom hamster needs hay and pellets, and the neighbourhood ducks can’t digest breadcrumbs!
As Violet stands up for others, she realizes she could do the same for herself. And you know what? Her classmates are accepting and happy to learn how to make and eat food without cross-contamination.
This is a fantastic book to address dietary restrictions – especially one as sensitive as Celiac – with kids of all ages. The beginning and end of the book even include illustrated lists of off-limits and acceptable foods for those with the disease. More importantly, it shows how kids can work and grow together to help everyone feel welcome and respected.
The illustrations by Molly Ruttan really bring the foods and characters’ expressions to life – literally, if you count the anthropomorphic crumbs! Even the backgrounds give off the impression of grain. With festive fall colours, this book is perfect for tackling Celiac in the back to school season.
Buy a copy today through Simon and Schuster.