4 out of 4 stars
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Angelo, like many kids, loves candy of all kinds! Sadly, his candy-loving days came to an end after he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Angelo knows that if he eats a lot of candy, he will get a stomach ache, go to the bathroom more frequently, or even pass out. However, this fact does not stop him from eating numerous candies when he visits SweetMart, a store with sugary treats galore. Angelo passes out again but, unlike last time, is visited by a group of angels. Why are these angels here? What adventures await him during this dream? Will he see his mommy and daddy again? These questions and more await readers in the book SweetMart: Angelo’s Candy Dream.
Firstly, I want to commend Zaza Hasan for writing a book about Type 1 diabetes. My brother has this illness too, and it is sometimes difficult to take care of someone who has a specific diet and medication. This book portrays Angelo’s struggle with his new lifestyle well, and I imagine this is how my brother feels. For children without Type 1 diabetes, SweetMart can give them an idea of what life is like with this illness. The honesty about the struggles of adjustment is my favorite part of the book.
Zaza’s imagination is commendable as well. The angel names and candy monsters give a sense of adventure and fear; this is something that many kids will enjoy wholeheartedly. The illustrations take on a more 3-D effect, which reminds me of the artwork used in modern children’s cartoons. There are playoffs of a popular video game store and video game mentioned in this book, which I know children will recognize.
References for Type 1 diabetes education at the end of the book would be great inclusions for readers. An insulin pump and a specific diet are mentioned in the story but not described. Given the nature of the book, it would not be appropriate to describe these subjects in great detail. However, giving readers ways to learn more about this form of diabetes will align with the author’s goal of educating his audience.
After considering the whole book, there was nothing that I disliked about it. There are only a few grammatical errors in the book, but they are mostly related to spacing issues. SweetMart deserves nothing less than 4 out of 4 stars. Angels are a large part of the story, and they occasionally refer to a higher being related to certain religious beliefs. However, there isn’t a favored religion anywhere in the text. Children who have Type 1 diabetes will heartily enjoy reading this book. I also recommend it to the friends of these children. This way, their friends can learn more about the lifestyles of Type 1 diabetics.
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