‘Knowledge is power, and kids with health conditions deserve to be empowered.’ – This is the idea on which MD/PhD Brian Wu based his children’s books series that aims to teach the little ones about some serious health problems and how to fight them. Children immediately notice when they are different from their friends and classmates, and the ones who suffer from certain diseases might feel like they don’t belong simply because they have a condition that doesn’t allow them to play, eat, and do various activities like everyone else. This is why Brian Wu decided to write the Storybook Illustrated Guides: to educate both children and parents on certain medical conditions, and offer them tips on how to treat them and take control of them so that the kids would enjoy a normal life.
‘Joe vs. the CE-Monster’ is the third book in the series, and it focuses on celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine, which is caused by a gluten protein found in wheat, barley, rye. The symptoms include pain, anemia, and fatigue. Brian Wu manages to explain all these things to children by using easy-to-understand terms and creating a story that revolves around a little boy who finds out that he is suffering from celiac disease and learns how to fight it. However, ‘Joe vs. the CE-Monster’ is not a book intended only for children; the author dedicated the first section to parents, who need to be aware of the symptoms of celiac disease to be able to figure out if their kids might have it.
Just like all the books in the Storybook Illustrated Guides, ‘Joe vs. the CE-Monster’ is divided into three parts. While the first one focuses on general information about the disease and tips on how to treat it, the second one contains the children’s story. Joe is a boy who finds out that his stomach problems are caused by celiac disease. He has no idea what that is, so he imagines that the disease is a monster that he calls the CE-Monster, which in his mind is similar to a “sea-monster”. His doctor explains that the foods which contain flour are bad for his health, and this makes Joe very sad and frustrated because he realizes he is no longer allowed to eat many of his favorite foods. He is not ready to say good-bye to macaroni and chocolate cookies, so he is very excited when his mother tells him that there are gluten-free products in supermarkets that taste exactly the same.
‘Joe vs. the CE-Monster’ is the amazing story of a boy who learns how to take control of his own health and fight a disease that can change someone’s life forever. Joe is a strong boy and a winner. Children who are suffering from celiac disease will not only learn a lot about their condition by reading this book, but they will also see that the disorder can be controlled. The story shows them that they are strong enough to overcome any obstacles and live a normal, happy life.
The third part of the book contains a list of online resources for children and parents who want to read even more about celiac disease. Brian Wu managed to write a complete guide that parents will find useful and children will find both entertaining and empowering.