Allergies and Awesome You
Believe You Can Get There Too!
Jeannine Chartier Hanscom
It seems that allergies are diagnosed more than ever before and people of all ages are being tested and treated for them daily. Yet, the task of explaining allergies, testing procedures, and treatment plans to children can be daunting. Doctor Atul N. Shah endeavors to address childhood allergies in his engaging and useful Allergies, and Awesome You.
Structured in story format with vivid and effective illustrations, Allergies, and Awesome You explores the subject through two children, Jack and Samantha, soccer teammates who are afflicted with environmental allergies that affect their ability to play. Jack has been to an allergist and manages his allergies well. Samantha has not seen a specialist and she is very uncomfortable. Jack tells Samantha all about his visit to the allergist, the tests that were done, and the treatments he received.
The story is clearly written, conveying the important points in such a way that even younger children will understand and be reassured. Since allergies can first appear at a very young age, the book’s clarity and overall kid-friendly tone is an asset. Jack’s tale of his first visits to the allergist is sure to ease the fears of young readers.
Shah includes several activities and exercises at the end of the book, as well as a helpful section of frequently asked questions. Also included are lists of common allergy medications and various resources to help parents manage their child’s allergies.
The story is well-written and engaging enough to maintain the interest of younger readers, although one inconsistency may give some readers pause. The narrative states that after sharing his story with Samantha, “Jack pulled out the same book you are reading from his backpack. ‘This is the book that helped me find my AmazingAllergist. I am so thankful.’” Parents and more astute young readers will note that Jack’s role as one of the main characters in the book would prohibit him from having read the book earlier. However, this authorial oversight proves minor in relation to everything the book does well and its overall value.
Shah is referred to on the cover of the book as “The AmazingAllergist,” and Allergies, and Awesome You is the first of seven books in the AmazingAllergist’s Awesome Book Series. Shah maintains a comprehensive and informative website for the series and states that “a portion of the proceeds from these books will help to fund research and education in the field of allergy, asthma, and immunology.”
In addition to Shah’s storytelling skills, Lowell Hildebrandt’s illustrations are bright and appealing. Both parents and children will find the explanations and descriptions of allergy testing and treatment enlightening and reassuring. Despite the small glitch in Jack’s characterization, Shah’s book is a must for young children with allergies and their parents.