Thursday, February 24, 2011

Books provide an allergy-friendly nook

I came across a bookmark today from one of my favorite bookstores, the Book Nook in Block Island, Rhode Island. Much to my children's amusement, I immediately starting singing the silly little song I made up about the shop during a ferry ride leaving the island several years ago.

We haven't been back in eight years, but I have so many fond memories of our trips to the beautiful island in the Atlantic Ocean, such as enjoying sun-soaked days at the beach, walking on the bluffs, watching boats in the harbor while enjoying tasty seafood and stopping at the cozy bookstore on Water Street to pick out some reading material for our visit. The books I picked out during our trips to the Book Nook hold sentimental value because they transport me to those wonderful vacations with my husband. I hold emotional attachments to many other books because they remind me of various people, times or places.

My children, who also love books and the stories they tell, gladly accompanied me this week to two book sales — one to benefit our local libraries and the other to say goodbye to our local Borders store. Pamela was thrilled with her selections that featured Barbie, Kai-Lan and Dewey the library cat. Joseph was happy to pick up a guide to writing magical stories, a book about football and a Geronimo Stilton selection. But he was most excited to add to his Harry Potter collection.

He has been engrossed in J.K. Rowling's tales, joining Harry and his friends at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for adventure. He can feel exhilarated as he imagines speeding on a broomstick to catch the snitch during a quidditch match, face the evil Lord Voldemort or beckon items with the wave of his magic wand. He can even enjoy a huge feast at the end of the term just like all of the other students without even mentioning his life-threatening food allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk, egg and soy. That is not an option in real life, where even touching one of those allergens could cause a reaction and eating the same food as hundreds of other kids certainly doesn't happen.

Books give Joseph a chance to embark on fantastic adventures without worrying about what he or anybody else is eating. Sure he pauses when an allergen is mentioned in a story. For example, I think Joseph felt more fear when a schoolmate passed Harry Potter some peanuts at a celebration than when Harry went against a Death Eater. But it gave us a chance to talk about how he would handle the same situation and he went back to enjoying his book.

I'm so glad that my children find so much joy in books. Maybe someday they too will visit the Book Nook. But, whether they find those stories in a cozy island bookshop, the local library, chain bookstore or online, they are developing connections to last a lifetime. 

No comments:

Post a Comment