My Friend Jen written by Jenica Leah. It is a story about a little girl called Jen who has sickle cell. In the story Jen has a friend who looks the same however on the inside Jen is a little different. This colourful children’s book is written by a sickle cell warrior for sickle cell warriors. It is powerful, uplifting and educational. The book creates understanding and awareness of sickle cell.
Jen is different because she has sickle cell blood cells which are different to normal blood cells. Sickle cell cells are shaped like a letter C which means they get stuck when going through the blood stream which causes a crisis. The book is empowering and a strong message is delivered throughout the story. This message is that there is nothing that Jen can’t do but on the inside she is a little different to us. This is a important message to sickle cell warriors and friends and family of sickle cell warriors.
Micaiah noticed this book was a rhyming book. He learnt that when a child who has sickle cell get sick they need to go to the hospital to get checked. I showed him the picture and explained that she is having a blood transfusion which sickle cell suffers need. He also noticed that Jen was happy throughout this story even while she was in hospital because her friend brought her a card. Micaiah’s favourite part was when Jen and her friend were playing superheros.
Ahaziah learnt that sickle cell suffers should drink enough water and keep warm inside and outside. Sickle cell can cause tiredness which means suffers need to rest often. To help a child with sickle cell you can play with them, dance with them, skip with them and relax with them. Ahaziah’s favourite part is when Jen and her friend was relaxing on the sofa watching TV and eating popcorn.
The illustrations were colourful and the the diagram which shows sickle cells different to normal cells in crisis was very informative and helped the boys imagine what the inside of body looks like.
This is the second time I have read this book with the boys and to my surprise they couldn’t remember what sickle cell was. Therefore I think this book is very important because it means that it is something we can read often and have plenty of conversation about. When I started the book I asked the boys what is the difference between Jen and her friend. I made it clear that there is nothing different on the outside but on the inside there is something different, therefore they could have friends in there class who may have sickle cell and they wouldn’t know.
I loved this book so much, as a parent I believe that it is important to teach my children about the world and people around them and this book gives the right amount of information to explain to them what sickle cell is and what they could do to help. Sickle cell is a disease which is commonly found in people from African and Caribbean heritage. We would recommend this book to anyone with or without sickle cell, it is easy to read but educates children about a serious matter which.
You can get your copy of this book here or on Amazon
I have just noticed that you can also pre- order part 2!