SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — A local author hopes to help educate families about childhood food allergies with the release of her latest children’s book.
Peer mediation associate Dr. Chiquetta Thompson recently wrote “My Pineapple Eyes,” which chronicles the experience of a child named Karma who, along with her mom, tries to figure out what’s causing her allergic reaction.
Thompson, who’s also a public speaker and licensed social worker, says she named the book’s character after her granddaughter.
“In this book, Karma is so excited about the first day of fifth grade, but what she finds out after she eats breakfast is that something’s not quite right,” Thompson told WSAV NOW.
“Her eyes start itching and she’s rubbing, and they swell up,” she said.
Thompson says her book, which was illustrated by Dezzi Kamali and published by Thompson’s son, Akeem Mitchell, stems from her own experiences raising a child with food allergies.
“They started when he was an infant, and it took a long time for them to diagnose what was wrong with him,” Thompson said, adding, “Once it was diagnosed, he couldn’t drink regular milk, and growing up, there were other things that he had to stay away from.”
Thompson, whose first book titled “I Like Peanuts…But Peanuts Don’t Like Me” also focuses on food allergies, says an estimated six million children in the United States suffer from the ailment.
She notes that Black people are two times more likely to have food allergies than other ethnic groups.
“Having a child myself who suffered from allergies growing up, I just thought that it’s something that the African-American community really needs to be more aware of,” the author shared.
Speaking from personal experiences, Thompson says it can be very frustrating for parents to figure out what is causing an allergy in their child.
“We went to dermatologists, we went to pediatricians and finally, we went to an allergist,” she said. “That’s when they did the test, and we found out exactly what he was allergic to.”
Thompson hopes “My Pineapple Eyes” will help parents and children learn more about the importance of recognizing possible allergic reactions to the food they eat.
She adds that navigating food allergies is a process of elimination.
“If you give your child a certain food and they have a certain reaction to it, either they break out in hives or they they start swelling, then immediately you can give them some Benadryl or something, but you need to call your doctor and get them in as soon as possible,” Thompson said.
“Some allergic reactions can be very dangerous,” she added.
Learn more about the book, “My Pineapple Eyes,” by visiting this link.