What a fun and rewarding few weeks I’ve had as friends, fellow food allergy mamas and bloggers have reached out to talk about my new children’s book, HumFree the Bee Has a Food Allergy!
One mama in particular asked some questions that really got me thinking about how the inspiration for HumFree began and what his message of inclusion means to my family–and hopefully will mean to you. (You can read Caroline Moassessi’s review of HumFree here!)
HumFree has taken us on an amazing journey, from the lunch break long ago when the emotions I felt about our food allergy experience spilled out into a first draft, to seeing the first adorable image of HumFree himself. It all became real last week when we sent the final proofs to the printer!
I’m pleased to share that HumFree the Bee Has a Food Allergy is now available! The official launch date with Mascot Books, Amazon and other retailers was Sept. 1, and I have received my copies and can mail them to you asap! I can’t wait!
What Does Inclusion Mean to You?
When thinking about what I’d like you to take away from HumFree’s story, the messages of awareness and inclusion are in the forefront. What does HumFree’s message of inclusion really mean to me? I thought for a while about everything we’ve done over the past several years while managing food allergies.
When my son was little, there were several local classes that incorporated food. They were not safe for us. But over time, we found caring and conscientious teachers who got it. They worked with us to ensure food wasn’t in the classroom and that everyone wiped hands before class. They kept the equipment clean. With planning, good communication, patience and persistence, we set the stage for my son to be able to do what he loves–run super fast with his friends!–just like HumFree.
Inclusion. It’s a single, loaded word, isn’t it? Inclusion means so many things that get to the heart of the messages we want our children to receive and feel….
You are accepted. You are valued. You belong. You’re important. We want you with us. We will do what it takes to make it happen. We will care for you and help to keep you safe.
For HumFree, inclusion means being able to fly safely with his friends. He figures out how to do this by avoiding his allergens and communicating his needs. His friends, in turn, avoid his allergens too. They avoid cross-contamination. They fly with him. They are a group. They keep him safe. Together.
For me, the “glee” HumFree feels at the end of the story truly pops out of Brian’s illustrations. It really grabs me and hits home.
There was a moment a few years back when my son was running “superfast” with his friends in gym class. It was the first class where parents sat to the side to watch. My son gave me the biggest grin while running past me. Pure joy. I’ll never forget it. It was the beginning of finding our way.
Being able to do what you love with your friends while being safe and feeling happy? For kids, is there anything better?
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This positive message is one of the many reasons I’m so excited for everyone to meet HumFree. I can’t wait to share him and his friends with you.
With the help of web designer Brett Atkin, we’ve set up a shopping cart on my website so I can take orders, personalize books, and send them out asap!
Too, subscribers on my newsletter list will receive a special discount code! (If you aren’t on my list, sign up here!)
I hope that after you read HumFree’s story, you will let me know what you and your kids think. If they are like mine, they might take particular interest in a certain little lady bug that is always by HumFree’s side! And please, I’ll be so grateful if you help spread HumFree’s message and share with others!