HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Celia and the Glue Man: A Girl’s Journey to Becoming Gluten-Free and Happy
Author: Maggy Williams
Illustrator: Elizabeth Hasegawa Agresta
Publisher: Loving Healing Press, 2018
ISBN-13: 978-1615993918 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1615993916 Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-1615993901 Paperback
ISBN-10: 1615993908 Paperback
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 5 – 8
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Williams, Maggy. Celia and the Glue Man: A Girl’s Journey to Becoming Gluten-Free and Happy (Published in 2018 by Loving Healing Press, 5145 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI 48105). Celia isn’t like the other kids in class. She can’t eat pizza, cookies, cake, donuts, or even sandwiches. Why? Celia has a gluten allergy. “It’s unfair!” she laments. So one day Celia decides to break the rules and eat a couple of cupcakes during a birthday party at school. As a result she gets sick—really sick, has to go home, and misses three days of school. Celia hates being sick but also hates her condition. Does she get any better? Will she understand the need to give up gluten for good? What might help her to change her perspective?
Gluten (from Latin for “glue”) is a group of proteins which occur in the various cereal grains, such as wheat and related hybrid species (such as spelt, khorasan, emmer, einkorn, and triticale), barley, rye, and oats, as well as products derived from these grains, such as breads and malts. True gluten is limited to these four grains. The storage proteins in maize (corn) and rice are sometimes called glutens, but they differ from true gluten. Glutens have unique viscoelastic and adhesive properties, which give dough its elasticity, helping it rise and keep its shape and often leaving the final product with a chewy texture. The complex comprises 75–85% of the total protein in bread wheat. However, gluten can trigger adverse inflammatory, immunological, and autoimmune reactions in some people, producing a broad spectrum of gluten-related disorders, including coeliac (or celiac) disease, in 1-2% of the general population. These disorders are treated by a gluten-free diet.
Through the rhyming text, author Maggy Williams, who herself has celiac disease, provides comfort and an explanation that will help kids who have gluten allergies to understand how the disease works and what it means at school, and also gives information to their friends who may not fully comprehend why they can’t eat certain foods. Another reviewer noted, “The biggest challenge to following any special diet is the emotional component, rather than a lack of knowledge. Maggy finds a creative way to guide kids who are struggling with dietary restrictions to reach a place of acceptance.” I am certainly not qualified to express an opinion on gluten sensitivity, but for those having to deal with such problems, Celia and the Glue Man should prove useful.