Someone in Our Class has Food Allergies

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Toni Taylor
June 14, 2023

Congratulations to all those in New York State and the national allergy community who advocated on behalf of Teacher Epinephrine Information bill S209A. After 13 years it finally passed both chambers and is on the way to the Governor for signature. As Governor Hochul considers signing this important piece of legislation into law, ideally in time to be implemented when school starts in September, we have a book recommendation that perfectly illustrates the need.  Check out the book recommendation for the Governor as she considers signing the bill.On May 2nd, we hosted the annual gathering of advocates for Food Allergy Awareness Day NY 2023 in Albany. After a few years of Zoom advocacy, this was the first time since the pandemic our event was held in person at the state capitol in Albany. With many new legislators to share our concerns with, I think being together face to face made for a much more personal and positive experience.

Food allergy Mom and advocate, Hailee Oman, along with illustrator Gustyawan, have written Someone in Our Class has Food Allergies.  The book addresses two audiences, the friends of students who are managing life threatening allergies and the grown ups at school.  The student focused part of the book is written for children 3-8 years old. The age appropriate writing helps students understand the difference between being allergic to the pets that might make them sneeze and a life threatening allergy to something found at school. Oman also encourages all students to help their food allergic friends stay safe by focusing on avoidance, knowing what to look for, and to tell a grown up if they think their friend is having a reaction.

In the educator focused part of the book, Oman efficiently provides the context of why educators should know more about the 2 students in every classroom managing life threatening allergies. She provides a very quick-to-read list of what they can do to keep food allergic students safe. Gustyawan nicely illustrates the struggle of food allergic students focusing on their classwork if there is food in the room. The illustration makes the point that academic outcomes are directly linked to how safe all students feel in school.

Someone in Our Class has Food Allergies concludes with a long list of resources, accessible by QR codes, for families, educators, and administrators to support everyone as they keep students safe at school. We recommend this book to Governor and her staff.  The book would also be a great addition to classroom libraries everywhere.

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