HumFree the Bee Has a Food Allergy is now available to order here! This media kit should make sharing information via blog posts, news articles and other media platforms super easy.
This page contains the following sections:
- Promotional Images
- Text for Sharing on Twitter and Facebook
- About HumFree the Bee Has a Food Allergy
- Author Bio
- Fact Sheet
- Reviews and Related Articles
Click on the links below to download images.
Author Alison Grace Johansen:
Text for Sharing on Twitter (Click to Tweet!) and Facebook
About “HumFree the Bee Has a Food Allergy”
HumFree’s story was inspired by one of Alison’s children, who was diagnosed with multiple food allergies while less than one year old. Learning how to manage food allergies, stay safe and still have lots of fun being included in activities like everyone else has been challenging. But with several years of experience and the help of their friends, family and local community, Alison’s family has learned how to create a safe, inclusive and fun environment.
HumFree is a baby bee who loves flying super fast, just like Alison’s children. Their joyful enthusiasm for playing, running and being “superfast” while bravely handling the day-to-day ups and downs of food allergies makes her 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 them when they tried certain sports activities and classes over the years.
HumFree the bee is allergic to the pollen in blue or yellow flowers. This means he can’t touch, eat or be around it. But he shows us that if he avoids his food allergens by sticking to flowers that are safe and advocating for himself to avoid dangers such as cross-contamination, he can have just as much—and even more!—fun with his friends and still do what he loves: fly super fast! Similarly, through good communication, education, persistence and resourcefulness, Alison’s family now safely enjoys all of the activities that they love!
Alison hopes HumFree’s story will serve as an empowering tale of awareness and inclusion for children with food allergies so they believe it is possible to do what they love while staying safe! She is hopeful his story will be a helpful foundation for food allergy awareness and education, starting with our most important members: our precious children.
Please visit my book page to learn more about HumFree the Bee Has a Food Allergy!
Alison Grace Johansen is a freelance writer who lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and two children. After being a journalist in Washington, D.C., for several years, she founded Mothernova.com—a parenting website about food allergies, allergen-free cooking, motherhood, pediatric health, children’s literature and other topics close to her heart. When one of her children was diagnosed with multiple food allergies, she and her family began their journey of managing an ever-changing and challenging area of pediatric health. She now has discovered she has food allergies as well.
To find out more about Alison, check out her website Mothernova.com, where she writes monthly blog posts about parenting and food allergies; read her portfolio; subscribe to her free newsletter; follow her on Twitter @Mothernova, and like her at facebook.com/Mothernova.
Alison is a member of the following groups: Kids With Food Allergies, Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), Loudoun Allergy Network, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and freedible.com. She also is a book reviewer for Children’s Literature in Washington, D.C.
A Q&A section at the end of the book entitled “HumFree’s Food Allergy Bee” provides parents, teachers, caregivers and friends with an informative and fun way to educate children about food allergies.
About 15 million Americans, including 5.9 MILLION CHILDREN, have food allergies and this number is on the rise. This means there are about 1 in every 13 kids, or 2 children in every classroom, who have food allergies. (Food Allergy Research & Education provides these statistics and more at: http://www.foodallergy.org/.)
COW’S MILK, EGG, SOY, WHEAT, PEANUT, TREE NUT, SHELLFISH and FISH are the “top eight” most common food allergens, but any food, drink or product may be or contain allergens.
While the book focuses on HumFree’s discovery of his food allergies and how he learns to avoid his allergens with the help of his friends and family, the Q&A gets more specific—and serious—about how to manage and treat allergic reactions. In particular, it drives home that those with food allergies always must have two epinephrine auto-injectors with them. This can be life-saving medicine! The Q&A also emphasizes the importance of acting quickly, finding an adult and calling 9-1-1 because EVERY SECOND COUNTS.
Here is helpful Q&A for blog posts, interviews and other media platforms:
Q: What is your inspiration behind the book? What message do you hope HumFree will give children?
Food allergies affect 5.9 million U.S. children and this number is on the rise. When one of my children was first diagnosed with food allergies, we were thrown head-first into learning about how to keep him safe. Because of being contact allergic, many local classes incorporated snacks and therefore were not safe for us. However, over time we found some great classes and teachers who have conscientiously worked with us so our son is able to participate just like everyone else–and having a ton of fun!
By learning how to stay away from unsafe activities and find ones that are safe and just as fun, it opened up a new world for us. It can be done with diligence, perseverance, trust, kindness and help! My kids love being superfast. By finding activities that are free of their allergens, they have thrived and made wonderful friends, just like HumFree. I wanted to write a story that would show children that there may be obstacles, but there is a way! Just like HumFree, we can work with what we have to be the best we can be, and have even more fun than we would have had before!
Q: Why did you choose a bee and pollen as the food allergy instead of one of the “Top Eight” most common food allergens?
Yes, pollen usually is associated with environmental allergies. These are very different from food allergies, which can have much more serious and fatal reactions such as anaphylaxis. But I wanted to change the tables a bit by having pollen, which bees eat as their food and similarly is a protein, be HumFree’s food allergen. This way, children aren’t as focused on whether it’s cow’s milk or peanut. Instead, we all can home in on the universal message of being careful and avoiding all food allergens, whatever they may be.
Q: What led you to write a children’s picture book?
According to my mother, I’ve been reciting rhymes since I could speak, and writing poetry ever since I can remember. It’s just the way I think and communicate my feelings. Now that I have two kiddos of my own, I’m immersed in the beautiful world of picture books, stories and the imagination once again. I know I may be biased, but I think picture books are one of the best ways to capture a child’s interest and imagination. And isn’t this a fantastic way to teach lessons and give important messages!
Too, my kiddos always prefer my made-up stories before bed. After all, you can base your character on your children so they relate and your story on their interests. Thus, HumFree was born! I want to show them and all children that the sky’s the limit! They can do anything they want in life. It may not always be easy at first and we may have to tackle obstacles in different ways, but we can use our heads and hearts to make it work and do what we love to do!
Q: What is your hope for the food allergy community?
Most importantly, I hope we can find a cure. It is so hard to protect ourselves from what often is invisible–allergen residue. For children, touching the residue and then putting hands in eyes or mouth (which we all—but especially they—do, right?) is bad news. The repercussions can be fatal. But with planning, understanding, knowledge, persistence, communication and an inclusive community, it can be done! I hope everyone who has a special need is able to find a way to do what makes them happy with the help of their communities! Thus, I am dedicating a portion of the book’s proceeds to the food allergy community, which has been such a wonderful and important support system for my family.
Q: Who is the illustrator who brought HumFree to life so beautifully?
Brian Talbott is an illustrator based in Seattle. He also is an SCBWI member, which is how I found him. And as you can see, he is so very talented! I can happily say he has other projects up his sleeves and will posting updates on his website very soon.
Reviews and Related Articles
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 Books 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