I have been wondering how I am going to teach J about his allergies so I was excited to read the illustrated book “James and the Big Battle”.
It is written by a mum and her family affected by multiple allergies.
James fights his allergens in a video game only to find he has the tools and team he needs in real life to stay safe. It is a simple and uplifting story that can help to empower children dealing with this difficult condition.
The comic book style illustrations are very appealing to youngsters and the punchy, rhyming text is easy to follow.
Food allergies and anaphylaxis affect the whole family so Jen Burns decided to harness that experience in a positive way by working together on the book.
“My son Chris and I were talking about how cool it would be to have a video game in which he could “fight” his allergens. I have written a few other kids’ books and so it was natural for the conversation to turn into ‘Let’s write a book about that!’”
But it soon became a whole family affair, with everyone lending their talents to the project.
“My oldest son, Bobby, is a film-maker and offered to make our book trailer. Chris and his brother, Nate, voiced the video. My husband, Mike, designed our cover and edited our book. My oldest daughter, Kati, did the illustrations using Chris’ original sketches for inspiration.”
Chris is allergic to nuts, peanuts, coconut, soy, cats, and dust mites and started having reactions when he was a toddler.
“We had to use an epi pen on him around the age of 4. He was old enough to remember and now, at almost 10, still talks about it with deep emotion.”
Writing the book has helped Chris deal with his own allergies.
“I know he is thrilled each time I tell him positive feed back we get from another family reading it. Another child who read and liked it. Another kid who realizes he also is not alone! He and I do a “happy dance” or high five each time!
Jen thinks the book is also a great way for parents to talk to their non-allergic children about being a support to in their circles affected by severe life threatening allergies.”
“I have loved hearing the stories of kids reminding their parents that they need to wash their hands, or not eat a particular thing around their allergic friend.”
James and the Big Battle is a great way to open the conversation about food allergies and help make the topic a little less frightening.