Friday, July 8, 2016

Ah-Choo! Blog Tour: Author Guest Post

I asked my mom if I could have
a pet, or even two.

But every time I brought one home,
my sister went


I'm happy to have Lana Wayne Koehler on the blog today, one of the authors of the book Ah-Choo! It's a story about a boy who wants so badly to have a pet but he can't because his sister is allergic. The text is clever and rhythmical and would make a wonderful class read aloud.

Take it away Lana...

As I sit in my air-conditioned office watching the squirrels scamper up and down trees in the yard, I

wonder what would happen if a squirrel had allergies. Would their eyes itch? Would their nose run? Would they sneeze?

My eyes itch, my nose runs, and I do sneeze—often! I’ve had allergies most of my life and it was when I was sitting in my allergist’s office that I thought about writing a children’s book about allergies.

While doing my research for the book, I found out that allergies in humans are well documented and common. In fact, they’re one of the most common diseases in the USA. They affect 30% of adults and 40% of children. Most people exhibit classic signs such as coughing, itchy eyes, runny nose, and sneezing. For some, allergies can lead to more serious complications like asthma, hives, and even death. It’s the third most common disease in children under the age of 18.

Author photo provided from
Allergies have always been a big part of my life. Like a lot of people, I spend most of the summer months avoiding grass, trees, and pollen.

However, animals are the biggest allergy of all for me. 

I know that a lot of people love their pet cats. Unfortunately, cats are especially lethal for me. I can go into an allergy attack if I sit in a chair after a cat owner has been there. Sometimes, it’s put a real damper in my ability to travel.

A few years ago, I was offered the opportunity to spend the summer vacationing in the south of France. The owners of the house where we would stay had a cat. What could I do? It was the south of France! So I cautiously accepted their kind invitation. Fortunately, a relative was able to care for the cat and I was able to spend the summer living out my dream in France!

In Ah-Choo!, I wanted the brother to be sympathetic to his sister’s plight. While he REALLY wants a pet, he’s willing to go to any lengths to find one that won’t make her sneeze.  Who wouldn’t want a big brother like that?

Some of the animals in the book are exotic. Has anyone here ever seen a dog from Kathmandu? It’s a special breed from Nepal and our illustrator, Ken Min, did a fabulous job of depicting him.  Ken mentioned that he had to do a lot of research to find pictures of some of the pets. His humorous approach really brings the animals to life!

Gloria G. Adams and I had fun with the repetition in Ah-Choo!. As a former librarian, Gloria knew that it would engage the children for story hour. We also hoped that kids at home would have fun sneezing along with the little girl. We’d love to hear how your children or grandchildren react to the sneezing.  Visit our Facebook pages: Lana Wayne Koehler, Author or Gloria G. Adams. Leave a post and we’ll reply!

Although I don’t have any specific allergies to food, I do have sensitivities to foods like breads and sugar. And, while I’m not allergic, I don’t eat oatmeal. EVER!

Not eating certain foods has put a damper on my ability to eat my way through a city like I did when I was younger. Since I’m from Upstate New York, I grew up on all kinds of spicy, exotic, delicious foods. Sometimes, I still indulge in the foodie delights of my youth and bear the consequences.

Looking ahead, I suppose that it’s time to think about writing a book about food allergies and sensitivities. What would that look like?

Which puts me back in my office looking out at the squirrels scampering up and down the trees in our yard and wondering what would happen if any of them had an allergy to nuts…


American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Allergy Facts.

Thanks for joining me on the blog today Lana!

Ah-Choo! by Lana Wayne Koehler and Gloria Adams, illustrated by Ken Min
Published: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Sterling Children's Books
Pages: 40
Format: Picture Book
Audience: Primary
Disclosure: Finished copy provided by publisher

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