Food Allergy Awareness Week officially comes once a year, but as we know, spreading awareness can be a daily activity, 365 days of the year! There are a lot of great tools you can use to spread awareness, but recently I have come across a free and fabulous online tool that can empower our kids to spread awareness and education right along with us.
The resource is called “Book Creator;” some of you (particularly teachers!) may already be familiar with this program. We have established a virtual “library” at The FPIES Foundation’s Book Creator page and are now inviting families to create FPIES-themed books for themselves and for the library!
How does it work?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org when you and/or your child are interested in starting your Book Creator project in the FPIES Foundation library. We will send you a unique QR code and link to follow that will get you set up. We ask that all books created in this library relate to topics involving FPIES—living with FPIES, coping with FPIES, FPIES education, etc.
Once you follow the link, you are ready to get started! Book Creator is a program that operates in your browser, so you don’t need to download or install anything onto your hard drive, and you can run this program on your desktop/laptop or tablet.
The first step is to select “New Book,” and then choose your book shape. There are even comic book templates to select! Once you’ve made your selections, you are ready to create your book in the “edit” section.
How do I/ How does my child add content?
Click on the yellow circle with a plus sign in the upper right hand corner to begin adding elements to your book. Under the “media” heading, you can upload images/photos (be sure to use only photos you have permission to share!), draw with the pen feature, add text, or import files. Under the “comic” heading, you can add panels, speech/thought “bubbles,” stickers, and comic-style text. Under the “shapes” heading, you can search for various shapes and icons to add to your project.
A note about the “pen” feature— in addition to your typical options of colors, line size, etc., this feature allows you to start drawing an image and then gives you the option of choosing a pre-drawn image or icon that looks like your sketch. So, if you don’t want to draw something freehand, there is a library of pre-drawn images that the pen feature allows you to choose from to insert on your page. To add pages, you simply click on the blue arrow to the center far right.
If you click on the “i” (italic letter i) in the upper right corner of the page, it will give you more design options to explore, including backgrounds, paper style and borders to further add to your book.
There are no limits to the amount of pages per book and there is no limit to the length of audio, if you choose to add audio recordings to your book.
To learn about more techniques to use in this program or to view book creator samples, visit the Book Creator Resource Page (link to www.bookcreator.com/resources ) and begin exploring videos and tutorials to help with your projects.
We finished our book! What now?
You have a few options! One option is to opt to share your story with the FPIES community via our library. In order to do this, simply email us and let us know the title of your book and that you give us permission to share it publicly in the FPIES Foundation’s online library. Once we preview and approve your project (please allow up to two weeks for this process), we will then send you the link to your published book, so that you can also share it with friends, family, school/daycare staff, or others. If you would like to unpublish your book at any time, please email us and let us know.
If you opt to not share your story, that’s ok, too! You can save your work and download the file to your computer in pdf form—you can simply keep it saved or you can print it and make a physical book (for sharing in awareness situations or simply to have a book for your child to read with you). You can also save it in ebook format.
All Book Creator projects will remain private until our administrator receives your permission to publish the project to The FPIES Foundation library.
At the top right corner of the page that has your book, you will see a triangle (looks like a “play” button). If you click this button, it will take you to a screen where your book can be read, either by you and your child, or read to you by the computer. If you added audio in the process of editing your book, you would hear it in this step.
Some Examples to Get You Started
Books your child might want to create: his/her experience with FPIES, all about my doctor, my safe foods, my favorite food-free activities, ways I can relax when I don’t feel well
Books you might want to create for your child: what to expect during a doctor/specialist visit, what to expect during a medical procedure (labwork, endoscopy, food challenges, etc.), what is FPIES?
Books to create for spreading awareness: planning a party without food, an introduction to FPIES, how to help during an FPIES reaction, how to spread awareness for FPIES
Join the FPIES Foundation Book Creator Library Today!
We hope you and your kids enjoy this new tool for raising awareness and spreading FPIES education in our local and online communities! As always, reach out to us if you would like to learn more.
This post was written by Amanda LeFew, Co-Director of The FPIES Foundation.