You Can't Always TellMay 28, 2016
I am at the happy end of another lovely project. It is a story that subtly draws us into the world of children with food allergies.
A few years ago, in my part-time job in a children’s after-school club, I had my first encounter with the dilemmas of a child with a food allergy. We had a special treat for pudding that day, and a little boy with a nut allergy ended up having some because he was offered it.
We weren't sure it had nuts, but we weren't sure it hadn't either, and thankfully he had no reaction to it, but it caused a lot of worry and panic and I, being in charge of the kitchen that day, felt responsible for it for days afterwards. It was my first lesson in making food choices while working among such children.
Having grown up in India, I had never before realised the gravity of such a situation. I had interacted with countless kids, but none with a food allergy. Apart from nutrition and hygiene, it didn’t really matter what foods were ‘safe’.
Our protagonist, Neil, is spending the day with his friends, playing games and having fun, before his friends decide to dig into some chocolate cupcakes!
Knowing he shouldn’t risk eating them, but tempted nevertheless, Neil hesitates.
But his friends are insistent; the cakes are delicious, and they really want him to have some…
It is choices like these that children with allergies have to make everyday, and this book can be the beginning of a longer conversation on the topic.
Some snippets from the book...
It was a pleasure working on this project, not just because I enjoyed making the artwork, but because I had a chance to work with some of the nicest people I've met. To Priyanka and Sangeeta and the happy little team at Vakil’s, here’s a big Thank You!
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