It’s Food Allergy Awareness Week! I think there’s no better time to share with you how my sons celebrated their birthdays in school this year. Of course, the celebration was an allergy friendly. In fact, we even had Nutley the Nut free Squirrel.
For starters, I’m so blessed to say that ever since my children started school, birthday parties were no longer allowed in the classrooms. This rule was practiced not only by our town’s public school system but also by the Catholic school that used be my daughters first school. (The later closed a few years ago though.)
While I’ve read so many horror stories from other food allergy moms about their child being left out during birthday parties in school, my children never experienced such. Even before they were diagnosed with food allergies. Why? It’s just that no child is allowed to have a birthday party in school.
Was the practiced too harsh? Well, as far as I can remember, it has always been like that. My oldest is currently in 7th grade and so far, not a single child in our town died because he or she was not allowed to serve a cupcake to his or her class on her birthday. As the school officials point out, “No one says that your child can’t have a party. You are always free to schedule an event for your child and his/her friends. The school however does not book such events.”
So, how does a child free special in school during his or her birthday?
Here some of the things we do in our school district:
1. Birthday crown for the celebrant and the whole class will sing special song.
2. Celebrant will be greeted by the principal on the PA system.
3. Teacher can give the celebrant a pencil, sticker, eraser or the most treasured 1 Day homework pass.
4. The birthday child will be able to have the “birthday teddy bear” on his or her desk for the day.
5. A Special Person or the celebrant will read the child’s favorite story in class.
This year, I brought signed books by Stephanie Sorkin on the boys’ special day. The boys’ favorite Nutley, the Nut-Free Squirrel, Chocolate Shoes with Licorice Laces and Frenemy Jane: The Sometimes Friend. These books are perfect for children ages 10 years and below. Nutley, specifically is a great book to be read in class because it talks about food allergies in an educational and emotional level. Since it was written using the point of view of animals, the kids were able to personally relate to a specific character in the story.
Child#4 read the book Nutley, the Nut Free Squirrel by himself. While Child#3 and I took turns reading the same story in his class. I have to say, Nutley was a big hit with both the first and third grade classes. No one can’t get over with the Dog who’s allergic to bones!
The wonderfully illustrated pictures not only caught the children’s attention, they also showed so much emotion. I love how the kids interacted with me by asking questions and sharing their experiences about allergies. You should see their excitement when I told them that we were donating these books for their class library.
Not only did we have a great food allergy safe celebration, we were also able to share with the class some things about food allergies.
It was definitely a day to remember.
Since food allergy awareness is the theme this week, I’m happy to inform you that Stephanie Sorkin graciously provided the prize for this giveaway. One lucky US resident will get a chance to get all three of her books including Nutley. The big plus — all are signed by the author! That’s over $50 in value!
Hurry, the giveaway ends on May 22, 2016 11:59 pm EST.
(Note: I received free products in exchange for this review. See my full disclosure here.)