Monday, November 10, 2014

Princess and the Peanut

These books aren't new, Heidi Anne Heiner of Surlalune shared both of them back in 2011, but I just came across these two children's books that use the concept of "Princess and the Pea" to explore allergies.
The Princess and the Peanut: A Royally Allergic Tale by Sue Ganz-Schmitt and illustrated by Micah Chambers-Goldberg, 2011
The Princess and the Peanut Allergyby Wendy McClure and illustrated by Tammie Lyon, 2009

From this review:

"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 3 million American children under the age of 18 suffer from food allergies. Dr. Scott H. Sicherer of New York's Jaffe Food Allergy Institute estimates that about 1 percent of schoolchildren are allergic to peanuts. Allergic reactions vary from minor to severe to fatal. Even the ingestion of an infinitesimally small amount of a peanut-laden product may prove fatal. Furthermore, administration of epinephrine, an antidote injected to reduce symptom severity, is not always effective. Also, food allergens easily cause social anxiety in children as they must always be alert, at their young ages, to ingredients.
Spontaneous consumption, such as food sharing at lunch, may also present hazards. Children want to blend with their peers, but food allergies make them stand out with a self-conscious difference. One of the best ways to sensitize public awareness to the dos and don'ts of interactions with allergic children is through believable stories such as The Princess and the Peanut Allergy." 
H.J. Ford

I really like this concept for a "Princess and the Pea" retelling. The story itself is about extreme sensitivity, and children with allergies could relate to the princess who suffers under circumstances that a typical person wouldn't even notice. Allergies can be hard enough as an adult, but how hard is it to have to deny children things like birthday treats? Tony is senstitive to gluten, so over the past few years I've gotten a small glimpse into the world of having to either request alternate foods or watch other people eat what you can't, and it can be hard. Other people may view it as an annoyance when they're not allowed to bring peanut products into certain spaces, or might assume you're high maintenance if you don't eat things that are provided at parties or meetings. To a child who struggles with potentially dangerous consequences just for eating or even inhaling certain foods in the air, being able to compare yourself to a fairy tale princess might be a small consolation.
Delicious to most, deadly to some-image from here

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