Food allergies are a serious condition which can be hard for kids to understand. While they may know that their friend can’t eat certain foods, they may not understand how that affects their daily lives. While kids can try their best to avoid their allergen, they need to be hyper-vigilant. Luckily, there are many books available to teach kids about dealing with food allergies with respect and empathy.

There is also a lot of misinformation out there about food allergies. Learning about food allergies and how it affects the lives of food allergy kids and their families is an important step to combating the false information. Lauren from Peanut Free in the Queen City provided a list of things that food allergy parents would like you to know. Check out her post here to find out what you can do.

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Friends with food allergies

Nutley, the Nut-Free Squirrel by Stephanie Sorkin and illustrated by Tim Warren introduces young readers to the concept of food allergies through Nutley, a squirrel who is allergic to nuts. His friends also suffer from allergies of their own. This book is a great introduction to food allergies for very young readers, without going into too much detail about dangerous reactions, which may scare them. The bright and lively illustrations and fun characters are sure to grab their attention and keep them entertained.

The Bugabees: Friends With Food Allergies by Amy Recob follows 8 bugs who are best friends and each suffer from a different food allergy. These friends go about their day with positivity and fun, all while trying to stay safe and avoid their allergens. The bright and colorful illustrations and the activities in the back of the book provide lots of engagement for young kids.

Making changes to help your friends

The Princess and the Peanut Allergy by Wendy McClure and illustrated by Tammie Lyon tells the story of Regina, a little girl who is preparing for her perfect princess birthday party. Her dream cake presents a problem though. Her best friend has a severe peanut allergy, and the cake is covered in nuts. Regina’s mother gives her a copy of “The Princess and the Pea” to read before bed and it helps her to see that a small thing can make a big difference. This story is great for introducing kids to food allergies and the difficulties that their friends may be facing. It also discusses how important it is for kids with allergies to share with their friends so that they are aware.

The Peanut-Free Cafe by Gloria Koster and illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler follows Simon and his friends at Nutley School, where peanut butter is the favorite food. When Grant, a new student who is allergic to peanuts, has to sit alone at lunch, Simon decides to create a nut-free area in the cafeteria that will be full of fun. The other students decide to go without peanut butter so they can join in too! This is a great story for kids without food allergies to learn about how they can be kind and make accommodations for their friends who have a food allergy. The illustrations are colorful and fun as well.

Dealing with food allergies at holidays & parties

The No Biggie Bunch Trade-or-Treat Halloween by Heather Mehra and Kerry McManama, and illustrated by Michael Kline, is part of a series “For Kids Creatively Coping with Food Allergies”. The group of friends in these stories have different food allergies, ranging from peanuts to soy to shellfish. They introduce readers to different situations that kids with these allergies may face, but in a way that makes them less intimidating. This book shows kids how food allergies can affect trick-or-treating on Halloween, and ways that Halloween can still be fun! The warm illustrations and friendly characters will give kids with allergies a group of friends they can relate to. Kids without allergies will learn about some of the situations that kids with allergies have to deal with.

Why Can’t I Have a Cupcake?: A Book for Children with Allergies and Food Sensitivities by Betsy Childs and illustrated by Dan Olson tells the story of Rory, a little boy who loves cupcakes. Except, Rory can’t eat gluten. When he goes to his friend’s birthday party, he finds out he isn’t the only one who can’t eat certain things. This is a great story to show kids with allergies that while they can’t always have the things they want, there are other things they can enjoy. It is also a great way to remind other children to consider their friend’s allergies when making plans.

Things That Food Allergy Parents Want You To Know

In addition to teaching our kids about food allergies, parents can learn about how to be understanding and empathetic to food allergy parents. To combat false information, the blog Peanut Free in the Queen City has created a list of 5 things that food allergy parents want you to know. From asking questions to being proactive, there are lots of small things you can do to make a big difference. Check out her post here.

Do you have a favorite food allergy book?

Food allergies can be a difficult thing for kids to understand, both for the kids dealing with the allergy and the kids around them. Literature is a great place to start teaching kids about food allergies, the effects of these allergies, and things they can do to make it easier for their friends who have them. Do you have any books about food allergies that you have found particularly helpful? I would love to hear about them. Share them in the comments below!

51 comments on “Using Books to Teach Kids about Food Allergies”

  1. Great info! Its so important to teach empathy and food allergies are a growing problem so its good that we make our non allergy kids aware of their peers’ hardships!

    • Thank you! I agree it is so important that kids are made aware of food allergies in a respectful and empathetic way!

  2. There are so many great books out there on this topic! I have 2 with severe allergies and all 5 of my kids have some form of food allergy. We’ve read some of these but not all of them. Great list!

  3. I wish there were resources like these books and better awareness for food allergies when I was growing up. I’ve had a dairy allergy my whole life and childhood was rough because people who don’t live with an allergy just don’t get it. It’s so wonderful to see times change in this arena.

  4. This is awesome and I’m so glad there are books like this out there! What a better way to explain allergy to your children! I’m sure it’s very tough on the parents as well!

  5. What a great collection of books! Happily my daughter does not have any allergies but it is important for her to empathize with those who do.

    • Thank you! I agree it is so important for kids without allergies to learn about what their peers may be dealing with.

  6. I think it’s great that there are books like this out there to explain to the little ones in an understandable way about the food allergies. I wish/wonder if they had these books around when my boys were little.

    • I didn’t realize there were so many out there now, until I started digging into the topic. I don’t remember there being any about them when I was younger!

  7. Such great resources! I grew up with a brother who has anaphylaxis to oeanuts and this would have been so helpful to educate those who don’t quite understand the severity.

    • I think it is so important for kids without food allergies to be educated on the severity of allergies and how day to day life is affected by them!

  8. I had no idea there were so many books on this topic, but totally makes sense in today’s world of so many food allergies.

    • I didn’t know there were that many out there before writing this post, but I’m so glad there are authors out there writing books on the topic!

  9. Aren’t books such a fabulous teaching tool? I love that you can find friendly books to introduce kids to just about any topic. Thanks for letting me know about these!

  10. These books sound awesome! Especially Nutley and the trade or treat halloween! Definitely a great idea to read these to your kids to help them understand!!

  11. This was so informative! I honestly would have never thought of reading such books since my daughter does not have any food allergies, but I now understand the importance of everyone being informed so thank you!

  12. You know that I’m usually pretty in tune with the kid’s lit on the market, but I honestly had never heard of any of these! And as a mom with a kiddo who lived with a food allergy for several years until finally outgrowing it, I was actually looking for some. Definitely will have to check these out.

    • I hope these are helpful! I’m so glad there are resources like these now for kids with allergies.

  13. I think it’s amazing that children’s books have such real topics that kids can relate to. So many children these days suffer with allergies so I think its such an important issue to address and teach them about.

    • I agree it is so great that there are resources like this out there for kids to learn from. I don’t remember there being many books like this when I was younger.

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