The self-publishing journey has allowed me to connect with so many wonderful authors, and author Lisa Woodruff happened to have more than just self-publishing in common with me. She is also the mother to a child with food allergies and wrote her book around this topic. But what caught my eye about her book was the perspective it was from. Her book focuses on food allergies from the perspective of siblings who do not have food allergies and how they had to learn to be food allergy helpers!
About the Author
Lisa Woodruff, RDN, LD is a Waterloo, Iowa native currently based in the Omaha-Council Bluffs area. She knows firsthand how food allergies affect the entire family; her youngest child had an allergic reaction to peanuts when he was just six months old. He has since been diagnosed with multiple food allergies.
Lisa started a nutrition private practice in 2020 that specializes in food allergy nutrition. Prior to that she worked for eight years as a clinical dietitian and corporate wellness coordinator. In 2020, Lisa received the Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year Award from the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
In her free time, Lisa enjoys experimenting with allergy-friendly recipes and being outside with her family and dogs.
What Was Your Inspiration to Become an Author?
I started wanting to be an author somewhere around second or third grade. Over the years, that career path shifted to journalism and then to dietetics. However, I never lost the dream of publishing a book.
Why This Book?
The inspiration for this book came out of necessity. I strongly believe in the power of books to help start difficult conversations. I was looking for a book about food allergies for my two children that did NOT have food allergies, to help them understand their feelings and lived experiences because of their younger brother’s multiple food allergies.
Food allergies affect the entire family. There are so many great food allergy books designed to explain food allergies to preschoolers or to help normalize food allergies for those who have them. I wrote my book to help all children, but especially siblings without food allergies, validate their lived experiences and learn how to become a Food Allergy Helpers.
What Have You Enjoyed Most About Writing and/or Publishing?
My favorite part has been doing special story times or author visits in the community. It gives me hope to see young children and families learning about food allergies and making the connections of empathy and understanding.
What is Something That Has Surprised You During Your Book Publishing Journey?
My motivation throughout the book publishing journey was to provide needed resources for my children, as well as other siblings without food allergies. I was not expecting the book to become a platform for community and professional advocacy.
As a food allergy parent, I am motivated by a desire to make my son’s community a little bit safer place for him. As a food allergy dietitian, I’ve discovered an advocacy outlet that involves educating other healthcare professionals about recent advancements in food allergy nutrition. My book has led to unique professional opportunities that I have been extremely grateful for.
What Advice Would You Give to Aspiring Authors?
Don’t give up on your dreams! And keep writing – there are so many ways to practice the craft, from private journaling to blogging to storytelling. There can never be too many books for children!
Book Description: Rebel and Sam are two kids that like to eat ice cream, play at the park, read books, and watch baseball games. But when their younger brother Luca has an allergic reaction to peanut butter, their family must learn what foods he can eat and how to help keep him safe.
(Katie) Cover Review: I love the bright colors and fun and unique illustration style.
(Kids) Cover Review:
(9-yr-old): I like the style of the illustrations.
(7-yr-old): I like that they look like superheroes!
(Katie) Story Review: I love that the book focuses on the siblings of those with food allergies, a perspective you don't hear much about. As author Lisa states, food allergies affect everyone in the family. It's great to see a book that acknowledges the feelings and experiences of those who don't have them, but have to support them.
I enjoyed reading how the non-food allergy siblings were involved and understood the precautions that needed to be made for their younger brother.
(Kids) Story Review:
(9-yr-old): I really liked how the siblings knew how to take care of Luca and bring his medicine with. I also liked the illustrations a lot. They are very colorful.
(7-yr-old): I liked the end where they all looked like superheroes and the part where they got to eat snow cones.
(Katie) Overall: This is definitely a great book to include in your home library, especially if you have children with AND without food allergies. It's such an adjustment to the food allergy lifestyle and I really enjoy how Lisa made sure to include an audience that is not addressed often - siblings of those living with food allergies.
Interested in adding Be a Food Allergy Helper! to your library? Book details and where you can find it are listed below!
Title: Be a Food Allergy Helper
Author: Lisa Woodruff
Details: Paperback & Hardcover, 32 pages
Currently available at: Online wherever books are sold (Amazon, Target, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, etc.)
Facebook: Lisa Woodruff Nutrition