“Brianna Breathes Easy” A story about Asthma
by Virginia Knoll and illustrated by Jayoung Cho
I am ashamed to say I was meant to post this over 2 weeks ago when we celebrated Asthma awareness week here in New Zealand, 27th April – 3rd May 2011, with Balloon Day 29th April, for children to fill in a colour competition held every year. The New Zealand Asthma Society was formed in 1965 and formed a national support network. There are now 18 affiliated Asthma Societies throughout New Zealand.
This story is about a lively active young girl who wins the lead in a Thanksgiving Day play at school. After a fire alarm and a rehearsal at the school her family become aware that Brianna’s coughing is more serious, when unable to catch her breath she is taken by ambulance to hospital. The doctor upon examination reveals Brianna has asthma. Along with her parents we learn how to help prevent Brianna from being in a situation where she lacks oxygen and also what triggers her coughing.
Virginia herself suffers from Asthma along with her two children and a grandaughter. In the front of this book is some easy to understand explanations in a note from Virginia’s doctor, Steven P Herman MD. As he explains there is no cure for asthma, although symptoms can improve over time. With proper self management and medication most people lead normal active lives.
When reading this story I am reminded of one of my dear friends who while working with me many, many years ago would often sit connected to an oxygen machine most of the day, so bad was her asthma. Over the years and with taking care of herself , change of live style, and avoiding many of the triggers, that plagued her in the big city, she is now retired, living by the beach down country, and often when I visit with her, we spend hours laughing and reminiscing over the good old days and I marvel at how well she is. No one would know she was an asthma sufferer.
Brianna Breathes Easy with its big bold colourful illustrations by Jayoung Cho was published in 2005 by Albert Whitman & Co in Illinois.