What are the best children’s books about food allergies? As a food allergy mom whose firstborn was diagnosed with peanut and tree nut allergies at 15 months old, I’ve been teaching children about food allergies for years.
Children’s books are an excellent way to teach kids about food allergies. You can start reading books to children with food allergies as infants or toddlers. Kids are never too young to start learning about food allergies and how certain foods can make people feel very sick.
Read below for an honest review of four food allergy books, including a sneak peek of our favorite at the end.
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Books about food allergies are great for teaching children without food allergies too, such as classmates, family members, and friends.
The books and DVD about food allergies below are perfect conversation starters to increase awareness about how to create safe environments at school and in daycares for individuals with food allergies.
4. DANIEL HAS AN ALLERGY (DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD)
Daniel Has an Allergy was written by Angela C. Santomero in 2017.
CHARACTER’S FOOD ALLERGIES
Daniel Tiger discovers he has a food allergy when he feels itchy and has a stomachache after eating a peach for the first time. Dad takes Daniel to see Dr. Anna, who teaches him how to manage his food allergies and stay well. This book is based on an episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, the popular TV show.
- Response to an allergen is not as serious as how those with anaphylaxis must respond.
- Peaches are not a common allergen, but it does show people can be allergic to any food.
- Normalizes having a food allergy with a well-loved character.
- Easy to remember tips from the doctor about how to communicate with others and what to do to stay safe when you have a food allergy.
- Fantastic resource for teaching young children (toddlers, preschool, kindergarten, and even elementary students) about food allergies.
3. TAKING FOOD ALLERGIES TO SCHOOL
Taking Food Allergies To School was written by Ellen Weiner in 1999.
CHARACTER’S FOOD ALLERGIES
Jeffrey is a lot like other kids, he likes school and playing sports, but he feels sick from eating foods like milk, corn, strawberries, peanuts, and wheat. Food allergies are not contagious and it’s ok to be friends with him.
Bonus pages in the back include
- While I don’t agree that food allergy parents will happily provide safe treats for the entire classroom (that would be a LOT of treats with how often some classes eat treats), I know most parents are happy to send an allergy-safe treat for their child and offer safe snack ideas for other families if they’re in a peanut-free or tree nut-free classroom.
- It’s important to note this book does not mention that allergies can be life-threatening and cause anaphylactic shock. It describes Jeffrey’s allergic reaction as rashes, sneezing, stomachaches, and possibly breathing trouble. So if you’re trying to teach about food allergies that are severe and life-threatening, you’ll need more than this book.
- This book states that Jeffrey’s food allergies will likely be less severe as he gets older. While this is more likely for egg, wheat, and milk allergies, it’s not likely for peanut, tree nut, fish, or shellfish allergies.
- Something unique about this book is the way it explains what happens with white blood cells, antibodies, mast cells, and histamine during an allergic reaction. This is good information for older kids, but probably too advanced for toddlers to understand.
- This book encourages teachers that parents of kids with food allergies appreciate advance notice about treats, so they can provide a safe alternative.
- I love the teacher tip to substitute rewards for a job well done instead of candy or a pizza party. Non-food treats like stickers or a cool pencil are good substitutes.
2. THE PRINCESS AND THE PEANUT ALLERGY
- Allergen-Free Pizza Recipe
- Food Allergy Kids Quiz
- Ten Tips for Teachers on how to be inclusive of students with food allergies
The Princess and the Peanut Allergy was written by Wendy McClure. I read the 2009 version and it appears there’s a newer 2019 version also.
CHARACTER’S FOOD ALLERGIES
Paula’s best friend was planning a big Princess Birthday Party and she really wanted to have her favorite cake–with peanuts. Paula disclosed her severe peanut allergy and her friend was not happy about it. The girls had to figure out how to resolve their conflict and keep Paula safe.
- Allergic reaction description is very simplistic. Paula says, “Once I ate one by mistake, and I had to go to the hospital!” and “It’s a really big deal.” If describing what happens to one’s body during an allergic reaction is what you’re looking for, this book does not go into that information.
- Some may not like that it only talks about a peanut allergy.
- Discusses the severity of food allergies, like that Paula can’t eat food that even touches peanuts (good for those who must avoid shared lines), that she had to go to the hospital, and why she always carries her medicine.
- Describes both perspectives of a child with severe food allergies and a child who doesn’t have food allergies.
- Colorful illustrations.
1. BUGABEES: FRIENDS WITH FOOD ALLERGIES
*Our favorite kids book about food allergies*
The BugaBees Friends with Food Allergies by Amy Recob in 2009.
CHARACTER’S FOOD ALLERGIES
- Tree Nuts
The Bugabees is a group of eight friends with food allergies. Each bug is allergic to one of the top eight most common food allergens. This a light-hearted and fun way to introduce food allergies and focus on what kids can have, even though they can’t have certain foods.
- Activities & Talking Points in the back are lengthy for young children, so may need to shorten that part.
- Overly cheerful? First page says the eight BugaBees “always have fun and never feel blue, unless they eat foods they’re allergic to.”
- Excellent beginner book to educate about allergies and normalize kids with food allergies at an early age (3-5).
- Introduces all 8 of the common food allergens in the United States
- Focuses on the positive: Even though each bug can’t have something they’re allergic to, they can have other things (different foods, friendships, fun experiences).
- Activities & Talking Points in the back with quizzes about which foods each bug can or cannot have and why.
- Tells what bugs should say about their allergies and how to ask what is in food before eating them to stay well in the talking points.
- Fun and vibrant illustrations.
PEEK INSIDE BUGABEES BOOK
Each BugaBee is allergic to one of the top 8 most common food allergens: peanuts, milk, wheat, fish, soy, eggs, shellfish, and tree nuts.
There’s a page and quick story about what each bug is allergic to, foods that bug cannot have or they’ll get sick, and they say “No, thank you. It’s really okay. I can still have lots of fun without ____ (food allergen) anyway.”
The Talking Points and Activities in the back are our favorite part. We love that the story is cute. It does a great job of teaching children about food allergies and understanding people can be allergic to different foods.
But what sets this book apart from others is the extras in the back. They help kids and adults understand things like:
- why kids with soy allergies cannot have most bagels or crackers
- why kids with peanut allergies cannot have foods fried in peanut oil
This bonus section helps kids learn a little more about the complexity of food allergies and why you need to ask what’s in all foods to stay well.
KIDS DVD ALL ABOUT ALLERGIES
PBS Kids: All About Allergies DVD is another excellent tool for teaching kids about allergies.
This inexpensive DVD is a collection of four PBS Kids Episodes about allergies:
- Daniel Tiger
- Peg + Cat
The Arthur episode goes into a little more detail that some of these other resources about using epi-pens and the need to avoid allergen cross-contamination in shared facilities. It’s a great conversation starter for children of any age.
MORE BOOKS ABOUT FOOD ALLERGIES
I have not read ALL the children’s books about food allergies yet. Here are a few more books on Amazon that can help kids with food allergies:
- Nutley, the Nut Free Squirrel
- A Lesson for Every Child: Learning About Food Allergies
- Bentley Goes to School: A Simple Story about Staying Safe with Food Allergies
- SuperDan & Food Allergies
WHAT AGE TO START READING BOOKS ABOUT FOOD ALLERGIES TO KIDS
At age four, our daughter with anaphylactic peanut allergies was incredibly aware and a confident advocate for herself. She knew not to eat any food that didn’t come from home and she proudly wore her food allergy bracelet to preschool. She knew where her auvi-q case was and how the medicine worked.
Children’s books about allergies and a lot of conversations are the primary tools we use to raise a confident advocate and self-aware child with life-threatening food allergies.
The list of books and movie about food allergies above are excellent tools to help kids with food allergies understand, cope, and become confident advocates for themselves.
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These books give parents and teachers the tools they need to start conversations and help keep children with food allergies safe.
By sharing books reviews like this, you’re helping kids who manage food allergies and the entire food allergy community.
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