A is an avid reader. Her head is always in a book and she finds such joy in discovering a new literary morsel to savor. I remember the day she learned to love reading. She was two and we were reading One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss for the first time. As she heard my voice change with the rhyming words and saw my facial expressions her little face lit up. At the conclusion of the book she looked at me, smiled and said “Again.” Of course, as any parent would, I read it again, and again, and again. After a few days with this one book I’ll admit, I hid it. I hoped she wouldn’t find it, and when she did I held my breath and waited for her to say, “Read.” This started a beautiful cycle of reading (mostly Dr. Seuss at first) and then discovering new topics and authors. Nowadays she wakes up and picks up a book until everyone else wakes up. She also usually begs to read a book in bed (in a dark room) which I always say no to. I lose some level of popularity with her in these moments.
These days A enjoys silly books, like Captain Underpants and informational texts like National Geographic for Kids. But she will literally give any book a try. Given her love of all kinds of texts I try to find books that interest her at her age. Along with her interests I’m invested in finding her books that represent people who look like her as strong protagonists and relate to her daily life. Since her diagnosis talking about diabetes, the way it has impacted her life, and how to adapt have become important aspects of our new normal. Finding children’s books that represent diabetes in a hopeful and positive light while also educating has been difficult. Let’s not even talk about trying to find these types of texts that ALSO represent children of color. I M P O S S I B L E. At least based on my research.
I’m still fighting the good fight to find interesting texts that will be meaningful to her. I recently came across The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes by Riva Greenberg while doing an online search. At first I thought this may be a children’s book, however once we received it and started reading we found it to be for a more mature audience. The readability level is appropriate for A but the content in certain sections seems to be geared towards adults. Overall this book has a genuinely positive vibe that focuses on the possibilities around the life experiences that come with being diabetic. The illustrations are endearing and sweet.
In the introduction the Greenberg says “I believe all of us with diabetes, and our loved ones, can benefit from the emotional nurturing, spiritual principles, understanding and support you’ll find here. It is my hope that this little book will put a tiny “I love me” patch on the hearts of all who read it.” Although not a book you might choose for some of our littlest sweet children, there are some beautiful messages here for those with this condition and those who love them. We could all use a few ‘ABCs’ of self-love and acceptance.