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A Kids Book About Food Allergies is a book for kids with or without food allergies. It’s all about how to keep our kids safe, how to be inclusive, and how to support our food allergy families. I published this book with A Kids Co., a wonderful media company. I love that their other books encourage kids and parents to have honest conversations about tough topics. But I noticed that among the many important topics they cover, there was not yet a kids book about food allergies. I have really found my advocacy voice this year when it comes to my 5-year-old with food allergies, and I wanted to use it to write this book. So I applied and got accepted! And A Kids Book About Food Allergies was born.

Kids are allowed to express emotions..

There are lots of books educating classmates about what food allergies are, but I also wanted to directly address kids with food allergies themselves. Just like I say to my daughter, I wanted to tell kids like her that they’re allowed to be disappointed, they’re allowed to be frustrated by their food allergies. At the same time, I also wanted to use the book to communicate the power they have in their own advocacy.

Improving education for food allergy families

Something that could be improved globally for food allergy families is more comprehensive education for new food allergy families. I have heard from so many families that most of what they learned–about how to identify anaphylaxis, how to read a food label, to carry two epinephrine auto-injectors–was from social media, not from their allergists. I also think many governments can do much better by requiring stricter labeling laws, especially regarding cross-contact at the manufacturing level.

Many of us food allergy parents struggle with how and how much to advocate for our kids, whether that’s with our allergists, school or religious communities, or extended family. The idea that grounds me when I’m uncertain of what to do is this: I will advocate for my child the way I would like her to advocate for herself. And I hope my fellow allergy moms and all parents and carers will find sturdiness and confidence in this guiding principle, too.

Misconceptions about Asian food allergy parents

I’m @theasianallergymom on Instagram, and I have noticed that so many food allergy parents think that all Asian food is riddled with allergens and that all Asian food is off-limits. I’m on a mission to educate people about how diverse Asian food is. For example, many with peanut and tree nut allergies think that they have to avoid all Asian food, when traditional Korean and Japanese cuisines hardly contain any tree nuts or peanuts at all.

I also think it’s a misconception that the Asian diaspora in particular are less aware of allergies. From my observation, ignorance about allergies is just as prevalent among the majority in English-speaking countries as people of Asian descent in these same countries. I think everyone could use a healthy dose of some food allergy education.

A perfect gift

My book, A Kids Book About Food Allergies, is intended to be read aloud, parent to a child, teachers to a class. The more everyone understands about food allergies, about cross-contact, about anaphylaxis, the safer our kids are. Purchase the book for yourself, gift it to your school or submit a request for your public library to carry it. Let’s get the word out so that our kids with food allergies can get what they deserve: inclusion and safety. Available on Amazon now.

Ina Chung, Instagram @theasianallergymom