A good children’s book will not only entertain children, but will also teach them important things that would later help them in life. Author Brian Wu took this to the next level and created a series of books that are meant to educate both children and parents on some serious health problems. There are children who suffer from diseases that make them feel different from their friends and classmates, and it is very important for them to understand their condition and learn how to take good care of themselves. Brian Wu started from a brilliant premise: “Knowledge is power, and kids with health conditions deserve to be empowered.” He has already written four books that deal with asthma, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, and influenza.
The SI Guides have compelling covers and are filled with beautiful, brightly colored illustrations that will immediately draw children’s attention. Once they open a book, they will discover much more than a fun story: they will read about the disease the book deals with, then they will meet a character they can easily relate to. It is important for children who suffer from a certain health condition to read about characters that are in the same situation as they are, as they will understand that they’re not alone and that there are ways they can actively fight their disease.
All SI Guides respect the same structure, which means that they are divided into three sections. The first section is dedicated to adults and it contains information about the symptoms of the condition covered, preventing care, and treatment tips. Sometimes parents are not aware of the fact that their children might be suffering from something serious, so this first section will prepare them by providing them with basic knowledge. The second section contains the story itself, which is meant for children. At first, the character doesn’t know that he/she is sick. Once they find out, the next step is to learn about their disease and how to take care of themselves so that they would lead a normal life. In the third section the author offers a list of helpful online sources where parents and children can find more information about the condition.
The first SI Guide is about asthma – “The Day Jake Lost His Breath”. Jake is a little boy who loves playing outside. He is very active, so when he finds out that he is suffering from asthma, he is very sad because he thinks his disease would stop him from enjoying the games with his friends. Little by little, Jake learns more about his condition and how to control it so that he would lead a regular life. This amazing book is all about staying strong and being responsible. Children who understand that they must take care of their own health make things much easier for their parents, who don’t have to worry all the time. The book is also available in Spanish – “El Día Que Jake Perdió Su Aliento”.
“Estelle’s Winning Spirit” is the second SI Guide, and it is about a little girl who finds out that she is suffering from type 1 diabetes. This is a very serious health condition that can change a person’s life forever, so it’s only natural for Estelle to be afraid. However, she learns what diabetes is, and then she accepts the fact that she needs treatment to control the disease. Estelle is a winner, and this teaches children suffering from type 1 diabetes that they can win the fight against their disease as well.
“Joe vs. the CE-Monster” is an amazing book that teaches children about celiac disease in a very creative way. Joe discovers that his stomach problems are actually caused by celiac disease. What’s the worst thing is that now he isn’t allowed to enjoy foods that he likes. He must avoid everything that contains flour made from wheat, barley, and oats, which means that he can no longer eat macaroni or his favorite chocolate cookies. Thus, in his rich imagination, celiac disease becomes a monster he must battle each day. He imagines that in his stomach there is a village that he must protect from the CE-Monster, which he pronounces “sea-monster”. The book focuses on Joe’s struggle and how gluten-free products help him go back to his normal life.
The fourth book in the series is “The Zoo Flu Frenzy”, and it is a guide to influenza. Parents may think that it’s not that difficult to treat their children when they get the flu, and this is why the first part of the book is very important. Then, the story focuses on David and Paul, who are best friends. When one of them gets the flu, the other one must be explained why they need to stay away from each other. Influenza is a very contagious disease, and it is crucial for children to understand that. When one of their friends is sick, they must know that they can’t play with him or her until they get better, otherwise they would get the flu as well.
What Brian Wu does is to explain these medical conditions in such a way that children would understand them. At the end of each book there is also a glossary that parents can use to explain their kids some terms that are a bit more difficult. The SI Guides are all about teaching children how to deal with the diseases they are suffering from in a fun way, and showing them that they can overcome anything and enjoy life just like any other child who doesn’t have a care in the world.
Read more about the SI Guides on the official website. You can find out more about the author and his projects on the author’s website.