Jessica St.Louis is not only the mother of children with multiple food allergies, she’s the author of a new book titled “Mangos for Max,” which aims to introduce food allergy to preschool and young elementary school children in a gentle manner. She is also generously donating 10 percent of proceeds from the book to FARE to help us fulfill our mission of ensuring the safety and inclusion of those living with food allergies. We asked Jessica to tell us more about her book, available on Amazon and in select book stores:
Tell us about your book. How did you think of the idea? Why did you decide to write it?
My book is about a monkey who is allergic to bananas. Most people associate monkeys with bananas, so I thought this would be a good way to describe food allergies to a younger audience. When my oldest son was entering preschool, I wanted to find a book that I could read to his class that would describe food allergies without all of the details of anaphylaxis. I felt some stories could be a little overwhelming for the little ones. So I was on the hunt for a story to gently introduce food allergies, which could benefit not only the food allergic child, but the classmates as well. Since, I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted to read to a younger audience, I decided to write it myself.
Besides writing a book, what are some ways that others can get involved with food allergy education?
There are opportunities at all levels! It starts by educating yourself and your family, next the classmates, friends, and peers of your children. Children make wonderful advocates. I think focusing education on not only children with food allergies, but their friends, is a great way to get involved and help keep everyone safe. I have had multiple opportunities to read “Mangos for Max” at different preschools and elementary schools. After I read the story, I have been able to engage in questions about the book, about allergies, and just interact with this young audience to help reiterate keeping everyone safe. I encourage all parents of children in preschool and elementary school to go in to the classroom and read a story about food allergies. I have had a very positive experience in educating this way.
Why did you decide to get involved with FARE in particular?
I have been a big fan and supporter of FARE. The vision of FARE is to make the world safe for people with food allergies. With a vision like this, it was a very easy decision for me to include FARE on a portion of my proceeds. This organization has done a wonderful job at educating the educators, providing resources, and funding research. I actually can’t think of a better organization to support!
What’s been the best part about publishing your book?
The best part about publishing my book is reading it to young children at the preschool and elementary school setting. “Mangos for Max” has been a dream of mine. I wrote this story four years ago; it is finally a book and the adventures it has taken me on have been surreal. I have been able to read to preschoolers and talk with directors about food allergies and education. I feel so honored that I have had this opportunity to each others about food allergies.
Thank you, Jessica, for providing a new resource to parents, children, and teachers, to help educate children about food allergies!
If you would like to purchase “Mangos for Max,” visit Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Mangos-Max-Dr-Jessica-St-Louis/dp/1477602070.