Guest Blog by Kath Grimshaw
My son Laurie was diagnosed with a peanut allergy at the age of three after a bite of his friend’s peanut butter sandwich.
Over the years, we have learned to adapt, check ingredients and avoid may contains in order to keep Laurie safe, but we also try to make sure that he is not defined by his allergy.
We have found one of the most challenging aspects of living with a food allergy to be the lack of awareness in other people. I wanted to create a fun and accessible picture book that not only teaches children with allergies how to navigate their world safely, but helps to teach all children (and their parents, teachers and caregivers) about allergies and how they can help keep their friends safe. I also wanted to write a story that is, at heart, a tale of friendship and empathy.
The Cookie is a story of two friends who have been taught that sharing is good. But then one day, Lewis shares his snack and Laurie has an allergic reaction. Will their friendship ever by the same?
I am extremely grateful to Dr. Helen Brough, consultant in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, who read the book and offered to write a foreword for me. She says; "This book is a great introduction to allergies for young children and I would recommend it in the classroom and for families who have just received an allergy diagnosis."
This is the first time I’ve self-published a book so it’s been a steep learning curve but I’ve really enjoyed the process. You have to learn to do everything - from building a website, buying ISBNs, designing a logo, to working out how to try and get the word out there. I’ve had a lot of help along the way; friends who have proof-read, allergy bloggers and experts who have checked the content and teachers and several young readers with allergies who have given it the thumbs up. I've created the publishing imprint Little Green Elephant Books and plan to publish future titles around similar subjects that help children develop empathy.
I live in Devon, UK, with my husband, two boys, three cats and a mad spaniel.