At a recent screening of Fresh, the movie, I met a lot of great folks who care a lot about food and health. One was author and local mom Mary Rand Hess, who just published a children’s book called The Day I Met the Nuts (illustrated by Candice Hartsough McDonald) with Earth Day Press.
The book is a great little story of a boy who has a reaction to nuts at a birthday party and comes to understand he will need to avoid nuts for the rest of his life. He goes through disappointment and anger on his way to understanding and acceptance, helped along by supportive friends and members of his community.
I love that the boy gets to express all of his emotions and that message at the end is that the boy feels good.
In my home, we eat a lot of nuts because we can. My son and I can’t eat gluten, and I can’t eat dairy (the jury is still out for my little one). The message of this book is less literal for us and more about the fact that everyone needs to do what is right for his or her body. The book can appeal to anyone with any food issue, health issue or challenge in general.
I haven’t yet read the book to my son but have given copies to two friends and will get a third in the mail soon to another friend. I don’t think our time has come yet for needing the book, but I’m very glad to have it in our collection. My son is only 3.5 and is just starting to whine occasionally about wanting the “gluten one,” but mostly he seems happy with alternatives, which we usually make together. A gene test was positive for celiac, so I plan to keep him gluten-free as long as he’s in my home. We’re waiting for results on a sensitivity to dairy (casein), and this book might come in handy if we find he has to give up dairy, or when gluten becomes more of a battle — when Mommy’s logic and her example/model are no longer cutting it!
I keep trying to convey what this book shows, that eating a certain way is not a sentence to a less-than life. It does require careful attention, but the goal is health and happiness. We all have different needs to be our best selves. I’m glad that we’ll have this book to turn to address our own issues or to help him understand about other friends’ allergies.
Thanks to author Mary (and her mom, pictured here) for a great contribution to our library!
For more on this screening of Fresh, see this article my new column on the Washington Times Communities: “Reading Ingredients: Tales from a Health-Conscious Mom.”