In 2015, Emma Dillon and Emma Netherwood were having a hard time explaining diabetes to their own children with Type 1 as well as other children. The two moms from Stockport, England decided to create a children’s book on life with diabetes called Ivy and Iver Take on Type 1.
Their children, the aforementioned Ivy and Iver, were diagnosed at the same hospital, and a diabetes nurse paired the families together. Ivy, 2, was diagnosed at 10 months and Iver, 4, was diagnosed when he was 17 months old.
“We were natural buddy families because of all this, but also we had an instant bond and became friends very quickly,” Dillon said in an email interview.
Both mothers wanted to purchase a children’s book to help explain the condition to young children, but they didn’t find anything suitable. They shared their frustrations with each other, and hatched a plan for the book. The mothers taught themselves how to use a design program and spent hours testing out nursery rhymes on the children to see what sounded best.
“The project started out as a few, simple rhymes to read to the children,” Netherwood said in the same interview. “We got swept up by our project and realized that the benefit of something child-friendly about diabetes could extend beyond our own families.”
As they worked on the book, they began to realize it might help other families with young children with Type 1. They created a crowdfunding campaign asking for 225 pounds ($360), the right amount to cover self-publishing and printing. Within 24 hours, they had raised £1,300 ($1,876).
The picture book is filled with cheery artwork that is both simple and engaging for young readers. The text covers various diabetes treatments and shows how a Type 1 diagnosis can affect the whole family. The book serves to validate the experiences of young children with diabetes and explain what Type 1 is to siblings and friends of those children. Ultimately, the book is about how children can understand their diabetes and live well with diabetes.
“The message is essentially that you can do everything your friends can do and having Type 1 diabetes will not stop you from going swimming, playing, going to parties, and eating birthday cake,” Dillon said.
They are currently using Paypal to take payment for the book while their website is under construction. You can order the book by contacting them at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow the two authors on their Facebook page.
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