Books for Kids and Teens With Type 1

For children and teens with diabetes, feeling different can be as big a problem as having diabetes itself. Luckily there are several very good books whose main characters are children with diabetes. Children can read these books and view the videos and see that they aren't alone, and can learn that having diabetes isn't as hard as it might seem. Some are also excellent for teachers and classmates.

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[RECOMMENDED!] 487 Really Cool Tips for Kids with Diabetes by Spike Nasmyth Loy and Bo Nasmyth Loy. Published by the American Diabetes Association, 2004. ISBN 1-58040-191-0. 262 pages, $14.95.


Looking for diabetes from a kid's perspective? Try 487 Really Cool Tips for Kids with Diabetes by Spike and Bo Loy, two young men who grew up as kids with diabetes. Parents will learn a lot about how our kids view living with diabetes, while kids and teens will have a chance to learn how other kids deal with everyday issues such as sports, Halloween, eating out, camp, travel, and heading off to college. Bo and Spike include ideas and experiences from many other kids of all ages, which makes the book all the more appealing. The final 100 pages are a "starting a pump" diary of sorts, which can help anyone who is unsure of what going on the pump is all about. Highly Recommended.

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[RECOMMENDED!] All the Days of Her Life by Lurlene McDaniel. Published by Bantam Books, 1994. ISBN 0-553-56264-9.

Book Cover All the Days of Her Life, part of the One Last Wish series by Lurlene McDaniel, is an excellent book for young teenage girls. The book deals with diabetes and peer pressure related to eating. In the book, Lacey Duval is a teenaged girl who decides not to tell her friends about her diabetes and attempts to live her life like her friends. She reduces the amount of insulin she is supposed to take in order to decrease her appetite, then results to bulimia when she witnesses one of her "rivals" purging. Of course, drastic results ensue and she is forced to tell the truth. Throughout the book, Lacey is facing her parents recent divorce and her feelings for a young man she'd met the previous summer, an older teen with hemophilia.

-- Review by Brenda Hitchcock

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[RECOMMENDED!] The Best Year of My Life: Book 1: Getting Diabetes by Jed Block. Illustrated by Caitlin Block. 1999. ISBN 0-9672728-0-7.

Book Cover The Best Year of My Life tells the true story of Caitlin Block, a young girl who was diagnosed with diabetes when she was in second grade. Caitlin tells us about being diagnosed, wondering if she caused her diabetes by eating too much candy. She shares the anxiety felt by kids with diabetes and their families about blood tests and shots (I related very well with the drawing of "My nervous dad"). Caitlin tells us about her first Halloween with diabetes, and that in spite of giving away most of her candy to her sisters, that it was the best Halloween she'd ever had. In short, The Best Year of My Life is an excellent book for young kids with diabetes. Highly Recommended.

-- Review by Jeff Hitchcock

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[RECOMMENDED!] Making the Best of Life: Book 2: Learning to Live With Diabetes by Jed Block. 2000. ISBN 0-9672728-1-5.

Book Cover Making the Best of Life is the follow on to The Best Year of My Life, telling the continuing story of Caitlin Block, now 10 years old, who was diagnosed with diabetes when she was seven. The book is a narrative, spoken by Caitlin. She tells about her life as a 10-year-old with diabetes and the challenges she faces. She talks about other kids at school worrying that they'll catch diabetes from her when another kid was diagnosed. She recounts a school field trip to a cave, where she and Ellie, another kid at school with diabetes, weren't allowed to enter the innermost cave for fear of going low there and not being able to get out. And she tells how Ellie introduced Caitlin to insulin pens, which she liked. Like The Best Year of My Life, Making the Best of Life is an excellent book for kids with diabetes. Highly Recommended.

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[RECOMMENDED!] Can Mom Have a Piece of My Birthday Cake? written by Rochelle L. Stern, illustrated by Rosalind Orland. 2002. ISBN 1-891231-95-2. $12.95.

Can Mom Have a Piece of My Birthday Cake? helps explain to kids what it means for a parent to be diagnosed with diabetes. Written from the perspective of a seven-year-old girl, author Rochelle Stern offers a simple but effective explanation of diabetes that kids can understand. Stern herself was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 32 years old, so the story and activities no doubt reflect the challenges that she had explaining her diabetes to her two children. If you are an adult with diabetes and want to help your kids understand what diabetes is all about, this is an excellent book. Highly Recommended.

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[RECOMMENDED!] Diabetes Care Made Easy by Allison Nemanic, RN, BA, Gretchen Kauth, RD, CDE, and Marion J. Franz, MS, RD, CDE. Illustrated by Jan Westberg. IDC Publishing, 1992. ISBN 1-885115-31-8.

The subtitle for Diabetes Care Made Easy is "A Simple Step-By-Step Guide For Controlling Your Diabetes." That pretty well sums up the book. Written in easy-to-understand language, with lots of illustrations, Diabetes Care Made Easy is a good introduction to diabetes care. Kids as young as third or fourth grade should be able to read and understand the text. The pictures will help the younger kids and reinforce the concepts for the older kids.

Each step in diabetes care is covered, including blood testing, urine testing for ketones, and insulin injections. Newly diagnosed kids (and parents) will appreciate the step-by-step overview of mixing multiple insulins, treating high and low blood sugars, and sick day care. Though a bit dated (blood testing includes a "wipe the test strip" step), the overall concepts are good and the contents are very easy to understand. Diabetes Care Made Easy is a good overview for kids and young teens who are new to diabetes.

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Diabetes Information For Teens, edited by Sandra Augustyn Lawton. Published by Omnigraphics, 2006. ISBN 0-7808-0811-8. List $65, from publisher, $58.00.


Diabetes Information for Teens: Health Tips about Managing Diabetes and Preventing Related Complications is a collection of 59 articles related to diabetes, covering everything from the different types of diabetes, insulin and oral medications, dealing with diabetes at school, complications (and how good control reduces their risk), athletics, the emotional aspects of living with diabetes, and driving, just to name a few. Think of this book as a reference guide for older teens who might be reluctant to ask their parents or diabetes team about diabetes. They might not read the book cover to cover, but they don't have to -- each chapter is short, easy to read, and contains highlights about the particular topic.

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[RECOMMENDED!] The Dinosaur Tamer and Other Stories for Children with Diabetes by Marcia Levine Mazur, Peter Banks and Andrew Keegan. Contemporary Books, 1995. ISBN 0-9454-4858-9.

The Dinosaur Tamer is a nice compilation of short stories about children with diabetes. The stories contain examples of some of the challenges that adolescents and teens with diabetes face every day and how they manage to overcome these challenges and live life to the fullest.

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Donnie Makes a Difference by Sandra Haines. Illustrated by Paul Hart. Writer's Press Service, 1994. ISBN 1885101066.

Book Cover Donnie is a young boy who loves football. After trying out for the school team, he is diagnosed with diabetes. He is quite upset that he has to stop playing football with the team until his blood sugars stabilize. His family, friends and coaches help Donnie realize that he can make a big difference by being an assistant coach, since he knows so much about football.

Even Little Kids Get Diabetes by Connie White Pirner. Pictures by Nadine Bernard Westcott. Published by Ablert Whitman & Company, 1991. ISBN 0-8075-2158-2 (hardcover) or 0-8075-2159-0 (paperback).

The star of this book is Lydia, the author's daughter, who was diagnosed with diabetes when she was two years old. The words are those of a very young girl, maybe in kindergarten, so your own very young child will feel right at home. The colorful illustrations recount her days in the hospital, as well as the frustration of eating an apple at a birthday party while everyone else eats cake. This is a good book for the very young child and her parents, though current diabetes care allows for the incorporation of sweets into the diet.

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[RECOMMENDED!] Getting a Grip on Diabetes by Spike and Bo Loy. Published by the American Diabetes Association, 2002. ISBN 1-58040-053-1. $14.95.

  There are very few books about diabetes that are written by kids for kids. Getting a Grip on Diabetes is one. Now young adults, Spike and Bo Loy were diagnosed as young kids with type 1 diabetes. This book contains their guidance about living successfully with diabetes and covers a wide range of topics, from school to athletics to travel to parties. While parents might not approve of every word in the book (I didn't care for their suggestion to take "only a few hits" if you want to try marijuana), Getting a Grip on Diabetes does offer diabetes from the perspective of teenages. Comments from Janet Silverstein, MD, follow each section, providing medical guidance in addition to the thoughts of Spike and Bo. The successes of these two young men are proof that having diabetes need not interfere with living life to its fullest.

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The Gift of the Pirate Queen by Patricia Reilly Giff. Published by Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1982. ISBN 0-440-43046-1.

As a young girl growing up quickly as a result of her mother's death, Grace learns many valuable lessons along the way. Not only does she face the responsiblities of housekeeping, she must ensure that her sister Amy takes care of her diabetes properly. When an older cousin from Ireland comes to take care of the household, Grace learns of an Irish legend, Grania (Grace) the Pirate Queen and her courage. This legend eventually convinces Grace that honesty really is the best policy and that you shouldn't judge someone by their appearance. Recommended for ages 8-14.

-- Brenda Hitchcock

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Grilled Cheese at Four O'Clock in the Morning by Judy Miller, illustrated by Jeanne Turner. Published by the American Diabetes Association, 1988. ISBN 0-9454-4802-3.

Book Cover This is the story of Scott, a young boy who develops diabetes. He learns how to deal with his diabetes, including what to do when his blood sugar is low at night. (You guessed it: he eats a grilled cheese sandwich!)

Softcover, 90 pages. ADA order number is #CCHGC. Price is US$5.50 for members, US$6.95 for non-members.

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[RECOMMENDED!] How I Feel: A Book about Diabetes by Michael Olson. Published by Lantern Books, 2003. ISBN 1-59056-037-X. 48 pages, $15.00.

  When Michael Olson was 12, his brother Steven was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Michael wrote How I Feel for his brother, capturing in words and drawings the feelings of a young child who has just been diagnosed. Grade school aged kids will relate to the experiences described in the book and will recognize the drawings as those of a youngster, which ads to the appeal of the book. This isn't a book to help parents manage their child's diabetes. Rather it will help kids realize that they're not alone with diabetes.

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[RECOMMENDED!] How Many Carbs is a Booger? by Richard and Rania Morrill, illustrated by Aaron Kraten. Published by the authors, 2006. ISBN 1-4276-0140-2.

  As all parents know, kids like things that are gross. And boogers are gross. How Many Carbs is a Booger? is a short, humorous look at carb counting from the perspective of little kids with diabetes. It will be funny for kids and will bring a bit of humor to what is often a chore -- figuring out how many carbs are in food so you can dose insulin correctly.

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I Have Diabetes by Althea. Illustrations by Angela Owen. Published by Dinosaur Publications, 1993. ISBN 0-8512-2809-7.

A young British girl describes what it's like to have diabetes in I Have Diabetes. Her English is the Queen's, so American audiences will get a bit of an English lesson in addition to learning how a young girl manages her diabetes without letting it interfere with her enjoyment of life. About 32 colorfully illustrated pages that most second graders should be able to read.

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[RECOMMENDED!] I'm Tougher than Diabetes by Alden R. Carter. Photographs by Carol Shadis Carter. 2001. ISBN 0-8075-1572-8. Hardcover, 32 pages.

I'm Tougher Than Diabetes is an excellent book about a young girl with diabetes. In her own words, Natalie describes how she copes with her diabetes, from testing her blood sugar to helping her mom make proper food choices. Natalie tells how she told her classmates about diabetes and what it's like when she's low or high. The book is filled with photographs of Natalie's everyday life, which help make the book very appealing to younger kids.

-- Brenda Hitchcock

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[RECOMMENDED!] In Control -- A Guide for Teens with Diabetes by Jean Betschart, M.N., R.N., C.D.E. and Susan Thom, R.D., L.D., C.D.E. 1995. ISBN 1-56561-061-X.

Book Cover Life with diabetes is a challenge. Life as a teenager is a challenge. Combining the two makes for an enormous challenge. In Control -- A Guide for Teens with Diabetes is the best book I've seen that addresses the concerns and issues of teens. It doesn't mince words or skip topics that some parents might find uncomfortable, like alcohol use, drugs and sexuality. But diabetes is serious business, and knowledge is what makes it possible to manage diabetes successfully.

If you are a teen with diabetes, or the parent of a teenager with diabetes, this book belongs in your library. There's important guidelines for parents, too, including this story:

My mother and I went downtown to Christmas shop and the local Kress store had a turkey dinner special. As we sat down to eat, my mother loudly announced to the waitress that her son had diabetes and that she would be very pleased if they would put less gravy on the potatoes and be sure to leave off any cranberry sauce. I remember looking around and it seemed like several thousand people were all staring at me and a couple of people actually moved away out of fear that they might develop diabetes. After eating, my mother and I left the store and were waiting to cross the street when I turned to her and told her that I never wanted her to ever embarass me again about my diabetes. I was smart enough to scrape the gravy off my potatoes, not eat the cranberry sauce, and eat only a portion of the food, and I didn't need her to announce all of this to the world and embarass me. Her response was that since I had such a big mouth and seemed to know it all, she would back out of any involvement in what I ate and let me take care of myself. Surprisingly, she did! That was 43 years ago, and again, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

In Control -- A Guide for Teens with Diabetes is part of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation Library. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this books goes to the JDF.

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[RECOMMENDED!] It's Time to Learn About Diabetes by Jean Betschart, MN, RN, CDE. Illustrations by Nancy Songer, RN, MSN, CPNP. 1995. ISBN 0471347434.

Subtitled A Workbook on Diabetes for Children, this 110 page paperback book was revised in 1995 and is a superb teaching tool for professional diabetes educators and parents alike. Children will learn all about diabetes from Cindy and Mike, two kids who also have diabetes. Simple biology lessons teach children about the pancreas and the function of insulin, so they understand why they must perform blood tests and take insulin injections. Full of drawing, matching, fill-in-the-blank and word search activities, this book provides a fun way to teach children about diabetes. Highly Recommended.

A CD-ROM version of It's Time to Learn About Diabetes offers an interactive tool to help kids learn about diabetes. The CD-ROM runs on Windows and Macintosh computers. For more information, visit

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[RECOMMENDED!] I've Got a Secret by Jade Elizabeth Gamber. Published by Linux Systems Lab, Chesterfield, MI. ISBN 1-885329-19-0. $5.95 plus S/H. Order directly from Julie Gamber (Jade's mom) at (810) 329-2419.

Jade was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was in third grade. This colorful book, filled with Jade's drawings and photographs, tells her story in her words. She writes about being diagnosed, going to the hospital, and living with diabetes, including a fun vacation her family took to Jamaica one month after she was diagnosed. The book is about being a kid with diabetes, but being a kid first, as it should be. The drawings and photos are great (I especially liked the drawing of how she feels when she's low!), and the story is good for kids of all ages. Profits from the book are donated to cure research.

[RECOMMENDED!] Lara Takes Charge by Rocky Lang and Sally Huss. Published by HLPIBooks, 2004. ISBN 0-9745184-0-8. $12.95.

Friendly pictures with lots of color are used to tell the story of Lara, a little girl with diabetes. Lara tells all the things she does that regular kids do -- run, swim, dance -- and she talks about her insulin pump and doing blood tests. If you have a young child with diabetes, Lara's story will help them understand that they're not the only kid in the world with diabetes.

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[RECOMMENDED!] Life with Diabetes, Lacie the Lizard's Adventure by Dana Shepard, Illustrated by Troy Jones. Published by Critters Inc., 2004. ISBN 0-9745997-0-0. $11.95.

Lacie is a lizard with diabetes who uses an insulin pump. In this colorfully illustrated book, kids with diabetes will follow Lacie and her friends as they do what kids do -- run, swim, eat, and play. Lacie explains what having diabetes means and how her insulin pump helps her to stay healthy. For younger kids with diabetes, Lacie can help them understand what diabetes is and what wearing an insulin pump is all about. The publisher, Critters Inc., also offers a Children's Diabetes Pack for newly diagnosed kids.

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[RECOMMENDED!] The Little Red Sports Car by Eleanor Troutt, illustrated by J. Chris Price. Published by the author and available through ISBN 9780615132815. $12.95.

The subtitle of The Little Red Sports Car is "A Modern Fable About Diabetes." The story is about a car with an automatic transmission (e.g., the pancreas) that breaks. The car has to be changed to a manual transmission and needed a special additive to run again (e.g., insulin injections).

For parents of young kids with diabetes, The Little Red Sports Car offers a gentle explanation for what has happened to their body. It's a very easy read and is colorfully illustrated.

You can order The Little Red Sports Car directly from the publisher.

A Magic Ride in Foozbah-Land -- An Inside Look at Diabetes by Jean Betschart with illustrations by Jackie Urbanovic. 1995. ISBN 1-56561-073-3.

Book Cover In A Magic Ride in Foozbah-Land, we follow Julie and Jeff, two kids with diabetes, who join Nurse Kelly on a magic trip inside Mr. Foozbah to learn about digestion and diabetes. Colorful illustrations of food and guts will entertain kids and teach them about why insulin is so important, no matter how you get it. The text is easy to read for second graders, and younger kids will probably ask you to read it to them over and over, because they'll like the rhymes. My favorite part was the visit to "Pancreas, Inc., A Division of Guts, Inc."

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[RECOMMENDED!] Matthew Takes His Shot by Owen Coleman. Illustrated by Judy Bullock. 2001. ISBN 1-57197-255-2.

Matthew is a polar bear who is diagnosed with diabetes right before an important ice jumping contest. He visits the doctor and nurse -- both walruses -- and learns about diabetes and the need to do blood tests and take insulin shots. He doesn't like to do his own shots, but learns to do so right before he has to compete in the contest. The confidence he gains by doing his own shot helps him win the day.

The book is colorfully illustrated, but many of the words might be too difficult for younger kids to read by themselves. Older kids, age nine or so and older, should have no problem.

Author Owen Coleman has Type 1 diabetes. A portion of the book's proceeds will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

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[RECOMMENDED!] Meeting the Challenge: Children Living with Diabetes by Thomas Bergman. Published by Gareth Stevens, 1992. ISBN 0-8368-0738-3. Gareth Stevens, 1555 North River Center Drive, Suite 201, Milwaukee, WI 53212. 1-800-542-2595 (USA), (414) 225-0333, (email)

From Gareth Stevens' Don't Turn Away series of books about remarkable children, Meeting the Challenge: Children Living with Diabetes follows ten-year-old Jonny, a boy from Stockholm, Sweden, from home to diabetes camp and back. Exceptional black-and-white photographs capture the daily drama of living with diabetes, including blood test, insulin injections and insulin reactions. The excitement of diabetes camp will be contagious. This book is highly recommended.

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[RECOMMENDED!] My Own Type 1 Diabetes Book by Sandra J. Hollenberg. 1999. ISBN 0-986672-0-1.

  My Own Type 1 Diabetes Book is a wonderful book for kids with Type 1 diabetes and their families. Written by a grandmother for her grandson with diabetes, the book is colorfully illustrated by the author and very easy to read. Kids in second or third grade should be able to read the book themselves. Readers will learn the basics of diabetes care, including why counting carbs and taking insulin is necessary for kids with Type 1 diabetes. My Own Type 1 Diabetes Book would also make an excellent addition to libraries at schools and day care centers. Best of all, the book is free! Just download the PDF file and print it on your color printer.

[RECOMMENDED!] My Sister Rose Has Diabetes by Monica Driscoll Beatty. Illustrated by Kathy Parkinson. Published by Health Press, 1997. ISBN 0-929173-27-9. Health Press, P.O. Drawer 1388, Sante Fe, New Mexico 87504. 1-800-643-2665.

Book Cover Twelve-year-old James tells us about his ten-year-old sister Rose, who has diabetes. He tells us about diabetes, and about how scared he was for Rose when she was diagnosed. He was also afraid that he'd catch diabetes. James presents the point of view of the other kids in a family with diabetes, which is refreshing and original. Rose also tells her story, about staying in the hospital, learning to care for her diabetes, and what it means to her to have diabetes. In the end, she says "My job is to stay as healthy as I can right now, so that someday, when there's a cure for diabetes, I'll be ready!" And she's right.

My Sister Rose Has Diabetes is colorfully illustrated and well written. Young kids will enjoy having the story read to them, while kids in second or third grade and older will easily be able to read it on their own.

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[RECOMMENDED!] Professor Bumblebee's Guide to Type 1 Diabetes by Erica and Andries Maritz; editorial direction by Angie Middlehurst and Melinda Morrison. Published by Diabetes Australia-NSW, 2004. Book ISBN 0-9752234-0-2 (28 pages). DVD ISBN 0-9752234-3-7 (DVD in PAL format plus read-along book).

  This is an attractive, very well done cartoon presentation of the basics of normal glucose metabolism and type 1 diabetes. Both the book and animated DVD demonstrate blood sugar testing (results shown are in mmol/L) and insulin injection via pen. Syringes are also illustrated; no reference is made to pumps, which are rare in Australia at this time. The book includes, without elaboration, a single sentence about eating "healthy food"; exercise is listed as an important part of management. There is good information about symptoms and treatment of lows. Use of medical identification is stressed. Possible causes of highs are discussed, and ketones are very briefly mentioned. A team approach to management (physician, educator, dietitian) is presented. This is an excellent resource for newly diagnosed 6 -12 year olds, classmates and teachers, or anyone wanting an easily understood explanation of type 1 diabetes. View a small sample of the product at To order, contact Angie Middlehurst at
-- Review by Judith C. Renwick RN MSN CPNP BC-ADM CPT     

[RECOMMENDED!] Return to Skoki Lake by Nikki Tate. Published by Sono Nis Press, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. ISBN 1-55039-102-X. $4.95 US / $6.95 CDN.

Canadian author Nikki Tate darws on her experience as a mother of a young girl with diabetes in her novel "Return to Skoki Lake." In the novel, we learn of Jessa's diagnosis, her reaction to this news and how she copes with resuming her normal activities afterwards. This is an excellent novel for pre-teens and older, especially those who are newly diagnosed and for those who love horses.

-- Brenda Hitchcock

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[RECOMMENDED!] Rufus Come Home by Kim Gosselin. Illustrated by Terry Ravenelli. Published by JayJo Books, 1998. ISBN 1891383027. JayJo Books, 1-800-99-YOUTH.

  Rufus Comes Home is a story about a young boy named Brian who is diagnosed with diabetes. His mother buys a teddy bear and sews patches on the bear in the same spots where Brian gets his insulin shots and blood tests. Brian names the bear Rufus. Through Rufus, Brian learns to come to terms with his diabetes.

Rufus, the Bear with Diabetes was created by Carol Cramer, whose son Brian was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in November 1994 at the age of three. Proceeds from the sale of both the bear and the book benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

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[RECOMMENDED!] Sarah and Puffle: A Story for Children About Diabetes by Linnea Mulder, R.N. Illustrated by Joanne H. Friar. Published by Magination Press, 1992. ISBN 094535441X. Magination Press, 19 Union Square West, New York, NY 10003. 1-800-825-3089. US$6.95.

The author's daughter, Sarah, was diagnosed with diabetes six weeks before her fourth birthday. Sarah and Puffle recounts how frustrated children often get managing their diabetes. Facing a visit to her cousins who live on a farm, Sarah can't help but feel left out because she has diabetes. Tired of the demands of diabetes, she runs off to the sheep pen and falls asleep and dreams of a talking sheep named Puffle that helps her come to terms with having diabetes. This is an excellent book for second graders and up, who will find the writing challenging and the story all to close too home.

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Sillwee Wobbert, Diabetes and José at School and Play by G. Robert. Illustrated by Glenn Lucas. Published by Dream Publishing Co., 2002. ISBN 0970486154. $9.95.

  Sillwee Wobbert, Diabetes and José at School and Play tells the story of José, who is a Latino boy with diabetes, going low at a T-ball game. The 28-page illustrated book (it also has a companion coloring book) is light on diabetes information and long on rhyming, which can help young kids who are newly diagnosed to understand better what having diabetes means. In this story, diabetes doesn't stop José from playing T-ball, which is a positive message, especially for kids new to diabetes. Sillwee Wobbert would be appropriate for school aged kids and younger.
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[RECOMMENDED!] Sugar Isn't Everything by Willo Davis Roberts. Published by Aladdin Books, 1987. ISBN 0-689-71225-1. 190 pages. Paperback.

Book Cover Fear of insulin injections and anger at diagnosis are two of the emotions of an adolescent girl in Willo Davis Roberts' Sugar Isn't Everything. Roberts' novel details the summer Amy Long began to exhibit the most prominent symptoms of diabetes: extreme thirst and hunger, excessive urination, and fatigue during exercise. When she finally ends up in the hospital, Amy is startled by her diagnosis, fears doing her own injections, is concerned about the perceived stigma of wearing her medical identification bracelet, and is distressed at not being able to eat her favorite chocolate foods. With the help of her older brother, Amy learns to cope better and even helps out a teenage boy with diabetes.

Though with proper meal planning and carbohydrate counting people with diabetes can eat chocolate foods, Sugar Isn't Everything is still an excellent novel that deals with the emotional aspects of diabetes. Highly recommended for kids ages nine to 15.

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[RECOMMENDED!] Sugar Was My Best Food: Diabetes and Me by Carol Antionette Peacock, Adair Gregory, and Kyle Carney Gregory; illustrated by Mary Jones. Published by Albert Whitman & Company, 1998. ISBN 0-8075-7646-8. 55 pages. Paperback.

Book Cover Sugar Was My Best Food: Diabetes and Me is the true story of Adair Gregory, a young man who was diagnosed with diabetes when he was nine years old. He tells of his thinking he was going to die when he heard that he had die-a-bee-tees, which is common among kids. He also lets us know that, before he was diagnosed, he "lived for candy." He shares his frustration with having to eat snacks even when he isn't hungry. He lets us know that at night, while lying in bed, he worries about his blood sugar. And he writes about how much fun he had at diabetes camp.

Adair's book is an excellent child's-eye-view of living with diabetes, something with which other kids will immediately identify and something which parents often overlook. Though diabetes affects everyone in a family, it affects the person with diabetes most of all. Highly recommended for kids ages eight to 14, and parents of kids with diabetes.

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[RECOMMENDED!] Taking Diabetes to School by Kim Gosselin. Illustrated by Moss Freedman. Published by JayJo Books, 1994. ISBN 1-891383-00-0. JayJo Books, 1-800-99-YOUTH.

Book Cover   This 20 page, colorfully illustrated book belongs in your child's elementrary school library. Jayson (the author's son) talks about his diabetes and what he needs to do to stay healthy, including taking insulin injections, performing blood tests, and eating snacks. It's an excellent child-focussed book and will help your child explain diabetes to his or her classmates. Now in its second edition, Taking Diabetes to School now includes Ten Tips for Teachers and Kids Quiz. Highly recommended. Price is US$11.95 (shipping and handling is included). Quantity discounts are available.

JayJo books also publishes two book about children with asthma entitled Taking Asthma to School (ISBN 0-9639449-1-6) and Taking Asthma to Camp (ISBN 0-9639449-2-4). Pricing is the same.

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[RECOMMENDED!] Taming the Diabetes Dragon by Anne Dennis. Illustrated by Thom Buttner. Published by JayJo Books, 1998. ISBN 1-891383-03-5. JayJo Books, 1-800-99YOUTH.

Book Cover  

In February 1995, two-year-old Preston was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Anne Dennis, Preston's mom, wrote a story about a dragon named Diabetes to help everyone in her family come to terms with Preston's diabetes. She now shares her story with everyone in this wonderful book.

In Taming the Diabetes Dragon, Anne Dennis helps young children learn that diabetes will not defeat them. When the village of Pancreas is invaded by the dragon Diabetes, a brave boy named Preston helps the villagers learn how to tame the dragon using insulin, exercise and healthy eating. Taming the Diabetes Dragon is an excellent book for younger, newly diagnosed kids.

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Teddy Ryder Rides Again by the American Diabetes Association.

  This coloring book is a story about Teddy Ryder, a young bear who develops diabetes. A unique way for your child with diabetes to have fun and learn about diabetes. For young kids.

Order Teddy Ryder Rides Again from the ADA bookstore.

[RECOMMENDED!] Trick-or-Treat for Diabetes by Kim Gosselin. Illustrated by Tom Dineen Published by JayJo Books, 1999. ISBN 1-891383-07-8. JayJo Books, 1-800-99YOUTH.

Book Cover   Kim Gosselin's "Trick-Or-Treat for Diabetes" is an excellent book about what kids' feelings are about Halloween. In the story, a newly diagnosed young girl is disappointed when she thinks she cannot go trick-or-treating because she can't eat the tons of candy. Her mother remembers how she felt about Halloween when she was a child; it's not just the candy, but the whole experience that made it so enjoyable. So, the mom allows her daughter to get a costume and collect candy. She saves some of the candy for "lows," plans to take some to the nurse for "lows," and sells the rest to her mother. There is one minor drawback to the book--when the girl is out trick-or-treating, she tests, is low and eats a chocolate bar. Children should be advised that other candies, such as Smarties, Life Savers, and such are a much better choice when low. The fat in a chocolate bar can slow down the absorption of the sugar.
--Brenda Hitchcock

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[RECOMMENDED!] The Diabetes Game: A Teenager's Guide to Living Well with Diabetes by Nora Coon. Published by Rewarding Health, 2006. ISBN 0-9778355-0-2. Softcover, 144 pages, $16.95.


Most books for kids and teens with diabetes are written by adults -- some parents, some health care professionals. The Diabetes Game is one of the very few books written by a teen with diabetes. Teens will appreciate hearing about living with diabetes from one of their own, and parents can gain considerable insight into the issues and concerns that our teens face, even if they aren't always willing to articulate them.

Nora starts at the beginning -- diagnosis. She covers food, insulin, diabetes burnout, relationships, even sex and alcohol. These are all things that our teens worry about and need to know about, since success with diabetes is as much about knowledge as it is about insulin.

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[RECOMMENDED!] Why Am I So Tired? by Pat Thomas. Published by Barrons, 2008. ISBN 0-7641-3899-5. Paperback, 29 pages, $6.99.


Explaining diabetes to a newly diagnosed child is a challenge, and there are few good books that can help. Why Am I So Tired? is a new book aimed at younger kids that can help. Nicely illustrated and written in a gentle, positive tone, this book is perfect for gradeschool kids who can read on their own. This book is part of a larger series of books called A First Look At published by Barrons. Recommended.

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[RECOMMENDED!] Why Me? Why Did I Have To Get Diabetes? by Robert Messinger and Laura Messinger. Published by Little Mai Press, 2004. ISBN 1-893237-02-8. Hardcover, 64 pages, $12.95.


Laura, who is nine years old, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was three. This book, written in her words, is about how she feels having diabetes and what happens when a boy in her grade named Tyler is also diagnosed. Laura helps Tyler overcome his fear and anxiety about having diabetes and the two become good friends. Why Me? is an excellent book for young children who have diabetes. Highly Recommended.

To order, contact the publisher or order through

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[RECOMMENDED!] Wizdom for Kids by the American Diabetes Association. Free by calling 1-800-DIABETES (in the United States).

Kids Booklet

To help educate both newly diagnosed children and their parents, the American Diabetes Association has devised an excellent source of information, the "Wizdom Kit." There are two spiral bound booklets, one for parents and one for kids. The booklets are full of colorful illustrations and diagrams and cover everything from how to draw up a shot of mixed insulin to diabetes issues at school.

To help kids learn about diabetes, the kit includes three juggling balls (instructions for juggling included), which represent the three things someone with diabetes must juggle: diet, exercise, and insulin. Contact the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES or via e-mail at to order a kit. Highly recommended.

-- Review by Brenda Hitchcock

Older Books That Might Be Out of Print

[RECOMMENDED!] When a Family Gets Diabetes by Marge Heegard, M.A., A.T.R. and Chris Ternand, M.D. Published by DCI Publishing, 1990. ISBN 0-937721-75-1.

This book is different from all the rest: it's essentially a coloring book, albeit quite an interesting one. Using art as an emotional outlet, children with diabetes are encouraged to express their feelings in colored pencil and crayon. For younger children, this book might be the difference between making their parents understand how they feel and living in quite frustration. Highly recommended for pre-schoolers on up.

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[RECOMMENDED!] Zack Attacks by Diana Loski. Illustrated by Linda M. Sniffen. Writer's Press Service, 1995. ISBN 1885101104.

  Zack is a teenage boy who is struggling to come to terms with the accidental death of his father, who was killed by a drunk driver. His is also struggling to come to terms with his diabetes and to become accepted by the kids at a new school. When confronted by a small group of boys who are on the wrong track--they're into drinking and stealing--Zack has the strengh to say no. Zack Attacks is an excellent book for older kids and teenagers, but deals with subjects, such as teenage drinking, that some parents might feel is inappropriate for younger kids.
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Last Updated: Wed Jan 07 15:25:15 2009
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