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New kids book in rhyme for allergy month
Writer releases daughter-inspired book 20 years on
If she’s not allowed to eat peanut butter, why does the girl have a smile on her face?
The answer can be found in a new rhyming book for young children titled The Girl Who Cannot Eat Peanut Butter by Winnipeg freelance writer and oral historian Sharon Chisvin. It is illustrated by long-time junior kindergarten teacher Carol Leszcz.
"The aim of the book is twofold," said Chisvin, who lives in Tuxedo, noting she worked with Winnipeg-based Art Bookbindery to get the book self-published.
"It is to help make kids with food allergies not feel so different than their classmates and friends. And also, more importantly, is it to help their classmates, friends, teachers and caregivers better understand what it means to have a food allergy and what precautions need to be taken," she said.
While the book was released to coincide with Food Allergy Awareness Month this May, Chisvin actually penned the story around 20 years ago for her daughter, Samara Carroll, now 25, when she was a Grade 1 student at Talmud Torah, which is now Gray Academy of Jewish Education.
"I wrote the story for my daughter, partly to entertain her and partly to educate her, but also because I wanted her to realize that every single child has something that makes him or her different than any other child.
"In her case, it was having a food allergy," Chisvin said, noting she then stashed the story away in drawer.
Chisvin said one of the benefits of writing in rhyme is that it makes an impact on the audience.
"It makes those hearing or reading the book better remember the contents. It makes the book more fun to write and to read," she said.
Nancy Boni, co-ordinator of the Manitoba Anaphylaxis Information Network, said Chisvin’s new book will increase awareness and education.
"I like that this book not only addresses one of the challenges for children with severe allergies, but also offers some simple ways to support children," said Boni, who lives in North Kildonan. "It puts their situation in perspective in a positive way."
"At the same time, children with allergies who read this book will understand that all children are different in a variety of ways and having differences is OK."
The book, which sells for $9.95, is available on Chisvin’s website at www.allergypicturebook.com, McNally Robinson in Grant Park and nut-free bakery Sweet Impressions in Fort Rouge.
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