“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.
An important children’s book on asthma. So many children have asthma and it can be very serious. A friend’s daughter had a very severe case of asthma. When she really had a serious attack and meds didn’t work, Kim would open the freezer and hold her face inside the freezer to help her breath before she’d rush her to the hospital. There are so many childhood diseases today that I don’t ever remember seeing while attending school — asthma one of them. Makes you wonder about the causes and why it’s so prevalent today.
So true Pat, I don’t remember Asthma being so widely prevalent either when I was a child. My hubby’s sister-in-law is a very bad asthma sufferer to, and when we were first married she asked us to be guardians of her four children incase anything happened to her. The children certainly grew up being very aware and knew how to handle and manage the situation. Interesting is that they have all shifted out away from the city to….mmm is there a message here.
I so agree, Pat, asthma and allergies in children and adults seem to have drastically increased since my childhood and I certainly have some theories about why. How we need books like this, Diane, on issues that are touching so many kids, to educate and encourage children. I like the way she had her own doctor write a note in the book.
Thankyou Joanna. Although not an asthma suffer myself, I did as a child and still do although not so often, suffer very much from “hay fever” , it was obviously for me a change in season, and pollen in the air. These books are obviously good discussion tools to help children be more aware regardless of whether they are sufferers or not. Often I am finding these days, there is someone in the family or friend or work colleague, we know that is a sufferer. Thankyou for your comment.