Yuan and Rotter’s (Eating Isn’t Always Easy, 2012) short book about eosinophilic esophagitis is a creative resource for elementary school–aged children dealing with a complicated medical condition.
Danny is a seemingly typical 7-year-old boy. He likes sports and video games, has lots of friends, and finds his older sister to be somewhat annoying. However, Danny also has EoE, an allergic inflammatory condition that causes him to choke on food and often throw up. Diagnosis takes time, and establishing which types of food trigger Danny’s condition is the most difficult part of it. The boy must eliminate many different foods from his diet, including some of his favorites, and also avoid sharing his friends’ food. At one point, he has to go on an “elemental” diet, in which he consumes a special drink and slowly reintroduces other foods to determine what specifically makes him sick. It’s a difficult process for the youngster, but his family is supportive; he also works with a psychologist who helps him deal with his feelings of frustration and sadness. Finally, his doctors determine which foods Danny needs to avoid. Although he can’t eat ice cream or cheese, his parents help him find other options, and he feels much better. Danny narrates the story, which will allow young readers to experience his journey firsthand. The authors are highly qualified to pen this book: Yuan is a pediatric gastroenterologist and Rotter, a pediatric psychologist. Their stated goal with this story is to help children with EoE better understand their condition and feel less alone. To that end, the text is well-written, informative, and age-appropriate. Danny is a very relatable character who’s honest about the challenges of living with EoE—there are struggles, but he’s still able to lead a normal life. Rotter’s full-color drawings helpfully portray Danny’s world, depicting everything from his doctor appointments and medical tests to his longing for certain foods and anger over dietary restrictions.
A helpful book for readers seeking to better understand the physical and emotional challenges of EoE.