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WisBusiness: Children’s book on food allergies offers business potential

By Brad Leitch
For WisBusiness.com

A new children’s book, written to raise awareness about potentially lethal food allergies that affect some 3 million children across the United States, may offer its Wisconsin author a creative business model to address other health issues affecting children.

Moxie Creations LLC, a company based in Middleton, Wis., has produced a book that helps children with allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, soy, eggs, wheat, fish and shellfish cope with the vast difficulties they face from this potentially life-threatening illness.

“The BugaBees: Friends with Food Allergies,” published by Beaver’s Pond Press, was written to give children a resource that educates them and their parents on the frustrating problems associated with food allergies. “The BugaBees” is also intended to help children cope with the emotional and physical consequences that are caused by food allergies.

Sufferers of food allergies need to avoid certain foods entirely in order to ensure they avoid serious health risks, including death. Amy Recob, author of “The BugaBees,” and mother to a daughter with a life-threatening food allergy, believes awareness must be raised the issue, and that “The BugaBees” give kids a friend with which to help share their everyday problem.

“By focusing on all the things they can have as opposed to what they can’t (eat), BugaBees serve as positive role models for millions of food allergic kids who often times feel isolated, left out, or even scared about their condition,” Recob said.

Recob explained she has already seen how children without food allergies are being drawn to the illustrations and story of “The BugaBees.”

The “BugaBees” offers a resource for those children battling food allergies, and the book can be found at most any major bookstore including Barnes and Noble and online at Amazon.com . But, Recob hopes that this fictional “family” will continue to reach more and more people facing this difficult challenge.

“I would love to see BugaBees products in every daycare, classroom, doctor's office and personal library of anyone who has, or knows a child with food allergies,” Recob explained, “Beyond the joy of creating fun interactive applications, books and merchandise, our hope is to be the ultimate go-to resource for information and enlightenment for food allergic kids and their families.”

“The BugaBees” is not without its competitors. There are many other allergy awareness books on the market today including “Alexander the Elephant,” “Allie the Allergic Elephant,” and the “No Biggie Bunch” series. However, Recob feels that along with its “eye catching visuals of the characters,” “The BugaBees” offers “a cohesive family of products while other products in this category are segmented and disconnected.”

Recob hopes “The BugaBees” will become a platform for expanding awareness of health conditions beyond food allergies.

“It's really hard to feel different from everyone else, especially when you're a kid,” Recob said. “Unfortunately, we're seeing more and more chronic conditions such as autism, diabetes, asthma, ADHD and more in children all across the country. These are all areas where I could see “The BugaBees” model expanding to offer education and support for these specialized needs as well.”

Recob and her husband personally funded the production of the first book and are currently looking to find outside help through small businesses loans, angel investors and the Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest.

The Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest will culminate June 7-8 at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Conference, to be held at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee.

-- Leitch is a student in the UW-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication.

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