Patty’s Secret: A Tale About Living with Food Allergies
is the story of a pig who is nervous to start school and tell others about her food allergies. It highlights some of the anxieties and fears children with food allergies have – how to tell others, how to be around kids eating their allergens, and how to turn down an unsafe snack or treat. Tough stuff for our little ones! The book takes a slightly more serious tone than other allergy books. When Patty knowingly takes a bite of an unsafe snack, she suffers an allergic reaction. Patty’s teacher administers her Epi-Pen and she feels better. The author leaves out the next crucial step in appropriate medical care – a trip to the hospital. However, as long as you discuss the importance of this with caregivers and your child, I think this omission is okay. The author used that post-reaction moment for Patty to be able to hear from her friends that they would not have laughed at her allergies. I think the broader message of the book – the importance of telling others about your allergies – is an important one. Patty’s Secret would be a great book for a food allergic child to share with her class. It could speak ‘for’ her, help share some of her silent fears, and open the dialogue with classmates about acceptance.
I think the book would pair greatly with FARE’s Be A Pal program which helps teach students how to keep their food allergic friends safe. Print a free Be A Pal poster here and include it with a Patty’s Secret book donation to your child’s school.