What is a baby bee to do
When he can’t touch or eat pollen in flowers of yellow or blue?
Find out in this tale about HumFree the bee
As he learns how to fly safely with a food allergy!
About HumFree the Bee
HumFree’s story was inspired by my child, whose joyful enthusiasm for playing, running and being “super fast” while bravely handling the day-to-day ups and downs of food allergies makes me so proud. When events, activities and classes involve food, they can be unsafe for our friends with food allergies who can’t eat or even touch their allergens. This happened to us when we tried certain sports activities and classes. This was the inspiration for HumFree.
HumFree shows us that if he learns how to avoid his food allergens and sticks to flowers that are safe–with the help of his friends and family, he can still have lots of fun with his friends and fly super fast! I hope HumFree’s story will serve as an empowering tale of awareness and inclusion for our children with food allergies. I want them to see that it can be possible to do what we love while staying safe!
It’s a simple message with a big meaning. We need to help our children–all children–know that anything can be possible. It may not be easy and there may be obstacles, but it doesn’t mean we can’t reach for it. It doesn’t mean it can’t be ours!
In this spirit, I hope HumFree’s story will serve as a helpful foundation of food allergy awareness and education, starting with our most important members: our precious children.
A Q&A entitled “HumFree’s Food Allergy Bee” provides parents, teachers and caregivers with an informative and fun way to educate and talk with children about food allergies. I am dedicating a portion of the book’s proceeds to our food allergy community, which has been such a wonderful support system for my family.
I’m also grateful for the very talented Brian Talbott, who brought HumFree to life with his beautiful illustrations, and the team over at Mascot Books for all of their support!
About the Author
I’m Alison Grace Johansen, a freelance writer who lives in Northern Virginia with my husband and two children. After being a journalist in Washington, D.C., for several years, I founded Mothernova.com—a parenting website about food allergies, allergen-free cooking, motherhood, pediatric health, children’s literature and other topics close to my heart.
When one of my children was diagnosed with multiple food allergies, we began our journey of managing an ever-changing and challenging area of pediatric health. I’ve now discovered I have food allergies as well. When not jogging around the neighborhood with stroller in tow, you can find me taste-testing one of my dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free and nut-free recipes or reading to the kids while sipping a strong cup of coffee!
You can find out more about me by visiting me here.
(If you would like to help promote the book, please visit my Media Kit for resources to make this faster and easier.)
The Reviews Are In!
Book Nook: Short Review of Fun Childrens’ Books – Northern Virginia Magazine
“HumFree the Bee was inspired by Alison Johansen’s son, who like any young boy loves to run and play, but like many children these days suffers from allergies. The tale of HumFree follows an energetic young bee that finds he is allergic to the pollen of yellow and blue flowers. Instead of focusing on the things the bee can’t do and being excluded from bee activities, with the help of friends, he learns to explore his environment and have fun while simply avoiding what can harm him, a lesson Johansen hopes to pass along to young allergy sufferers. (September 2015)”
Book Review: HumFree the Bee Has a Food Allergy – Rachel Hayden with Mom Vs. Food Allergy
“Here’s what I love about HumFree the Bee Has a Food Allergy:
- It teaches kids they aren’t alone. HumFree can’t land on flowers that are yellow or blue, but once he learns how his cousin avoids certain flowers, he gains his confidence back!
- The illustrations. The artwork in this book is fabulous! The illustrations are both whimsical and cartoon-like at the same time, making HumFree come alive. The pages look like they came straight out of a movie!
- The rhyming phrases. Kids love rhyming books! Rhymes are great for teaching because the phrases are easy to remember. The catchy phrases stick in your memory and make it fun to read over and over.
- The storyline and message. I love that this story is all about teaching kids that it’s important and easy to avoid their allergens, and how to be confident while doing so. The message of inclusion is a sweet, added bonus. There are great Q&A starters in the back of the book to continue the conversation about food allergies. Alison did a fabulous job putting this whole book together.
If you’re looking to add a book to your home collection, this is the book for you. I promise this cute story is worth it!”
Reviews: Allergy-Friendly Children’s Books — Alisa Fleming for Allergic Living
“Bound to become a hardcover classic, this whimsical tale cross-pollinates human food allergies with an adorable flying insect’s experience to help kids understand the essence of living with a diet restriction.
HumFree’s “food allergy” is to yellow and blue flowers, but he learns from his family (mama bee and his cousin with the same allergies) how he can enjoy the pollen of so many other plants. HumFree feels healthy and liberated as he plays with his friends on the pinks, oranges, greens and purples instead. The beautifully illustrated story ends with a little “spelling bee”, which includes a clever vowel acronym to address your child’s questions and provide easy take-away information.”
New Book Is the Bee’s Knees! —Caroline Moassessi at gratefulfoodie.com
“HumFree the Bee Has a Food Allergy is a wonderful story book infused with a lesson on food allergy management skills. If your kiddo is anything like mine, once this book is in their hands, they may not want to let it go, even after outgrowing it. One of the first thoughts that came to my mind is how bright and colorful the illustrations are. Bright, vibrant colors symbolize happiness and everything that is good. A child with food allergies may feel the same happiness when opening Alison’s book. Perhaps a child going through a difficult transition into food allergies may find this book comforting with its positive message and bright, colorful illustration.
Alison’s book uses rhyming words to drive home several positive messages. It’s a smart way to teach our food allergic kiddos management strategies and this book has it. One such message is of HumFree avoiding his allergens. Another message is how to find a way to socially interact with friends (peers), all the while avoiding allergens. Having food allergies can sometimes make a kid feel lonely. Social and peer interaction is important for us as human beings. Therefore, it is important for children with food allergies to know they are not alone and have support. Alison has intelligently included these topics into her book in a simple, child-friendly way. HumFree the Bee Has a Food Allergy combines positive, educational messages with bright and colorful illustrations for children with food allergies to enjoy, and for the parents who read to them.”
“HumFree the Bee Has a Food Allergy is a true treat for those wanting to educate young ones about food allergies. Author Alison Grace Johansen flies you through a rhythmic story while you enjoy Brian Talbott’s colorful illustrations and the familiar A, E, I, O, U vowel teaching technique. In no time, kiddos are zooming their way through food allergy safety and inclusion. A must have for every family with a food allergy as well as library, childcare center and school.”
—Kristin Beltaos, M.A., MNCPD Licensed Trainer, A Gift of Miles
“HumFree the Bee Has a Food Allergy is a cute, colorful story that shows children with food allergies they are not alone and that they can do everything others do with a little extra care and planning. My children loved the rhymes and the illustrations, and my son, who is sensitive to certain food dyes, could relate to HumFree. I love that rather than focusing what Humfree can’t have and do, the story focuses on what he can do. I also like that HumFree’s friends get involved in keeping him safe. My son has seen first hand how his friends now try to bring dye-free snacks and treats to the classroom or events so he can take part, too. The rhymes and illustrations keep kids engaged and make the book a great read—both for those with food allergies and those without.”
—Mindy Long, freelance writer and blogger
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