Sweet Kids: How to Balance Diabetes Control & Good Nutrition with Family Peace, Second Edition by Betty Page Brackenridge, MS, RD, CDE & Richard R. Rubin, PhD, CDE 2002 Published by the American Diabetes Association. 250 pages. Softcover. US$16.95. ISBN 1580401244.

Brackenridge and Rubin provide exceptionally good and detailed advice for managing what is perhaps the most important part of your child’s diabetes care: diet. How many of you parents of kids with diabetes have struggled at meal time? Probably all of you. The authors’ advice is simple: adjust your child’s insulin to cover their dietary intake, not the other way around. This is exactly opposite from what many parents are taught, but makes considerable sense. There’s so much outstanding advice and guidance in this book that a review can hardly do it justice.

The breadth and depth of dietary information and advice in this book is second to none. You’ll find help on nutrition; growth; snacks; coping with sports and eating disorders; special advice for toddlers, school-age kids and teens; and how to avoid parental burnout. This second edition includes pumps in kids and the new insulin analogs. Even if you have the first edition, this book is worth getting. And if you don’t have it already, I cannot recommend Sweet Kids highly enough. Highly recommended.

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Sweet Invisible Body: Reflections on a Life With Diabetes by Lisa Roney 1999 Henry Holt & Company. 297 pages. Hardcover. US$ 23.95. ISBN 0-8050-5625-4.

I had hoped to find some new insight into my 12-year-old daughter from reading Sweet Invisible Body, but I’m not sure that I did. Lisa Roney was diagnosed with Type 1 when she was 12. Sweet Invisible Body begins with her diagnosis in 1972, with all the challenges and fears that accompanied being told you have diabetes in the days before in-home blood glucose monitoring, insulin pumps, and Humalog. Diabetes remains unforgiving and difficult, but the times have changed dramatically. While I could relate to the frustration that she felt at the hands of doctors who prescribed text-book solutions that didn’t suit her (unfortunately, that hasn’t changed), I became less sympathetic as the book progressed. She details parties filled with alcohol and illegal drugs, as well as an unending stream of sexual encounters. She seems to blame her life’s many challenges and difficulties entirely on her diabetes. While I have no doubt that there are others who define themselves so completely by their diabetes, I know too that there are others who transcend their physical challenges–whatever they might be–and simply get on with life.

If you must read every book about diabetes, then by all means get Sweet Invisible Body. She does convey the anxiety regarding hypoglycemia that everyone with diabetes face everyday, and the constant attention to food, exercise, and insulin injections that is required. I just found her too self-absorbed to recommend the book to everyone. Perhaps adults with diabetes will be more sympathetic than me, since I am only a parent of a child with diabetes.


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The Sun, The Rain, and The Insulin: Growing Up With Diabetes by Joan MacCracken, M.D. Published by Tiffin Press of Maine, P.O. Box 549, Orono, Maine 04473-0549, 1996. ISBN 0-9646018-5-0.

It’s hard to categorize The Sun, The Rain, and The Insulin: Growing Up With Diabetes. It’s a semi-biography and semi-novel about six families, written by a real physician about real experiences of families who have attended a diabetes camp in Maine. Loaded with diabetes hints, and laced with humor, the book should be required reading as a manual for everyone with diabetes and every prospective diabetes camp counselor. And it’s worth the while of everybody interested in the challenges which confront families who are living with diabetes.

This book is out of print. Contact the publisher directly for a copy.

The Sugarless Plum: A Ballerina’s Triumph Over Diabetes by Zippora Karz 2009 Published by Harlequin. ISBN 0373892039. US$22.95. Hardcover.

As a thin, graceful young ballerina and in the prime of her career, Zippora Karz was stunned when a doctor informed her she had diabetes. It was 1987 and Zippora was 21 years old, so her first doctors assumed she had type 2 and advised her on blood sugar monitoring and diet. No tests were done to check and see what type of diabetes she had. Unsure what to do and feeling ill much of the time, Zippora went to live with her grandmother who fed her a unique diet including fruits, nuts and vegetables, no processed sugars. This diet eventually led to lower blood sugars so Zippora felt better and returned to New York to dance. After struggling with high blood sugars, she found a new doctor who surmised that Zippora had type 1 and needed to take insulin. It took many months for Zippora to learn how to balance insulin, food and dancing and, like most people with type 1, had many ups and downs. Finally, six years after her diagnosis, Zippora was made a soloist, the pinnacle of her career. She continued to dance until 1999. Ms. Karz has been a ballet teacher and diabetes advocate since her retirement.

Warning: There is one reference to a sexual encounter that parents may need to explain (or not want to explain) to younger readers. Thus this book is recommended only for older teens and adults, or for those who have a special interest in dance.

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Stop the Rollercoaster: How to Take Charge of Your Blood Sugars in Diabetes by John Walsh, P.A., C.D.E., Ruth Roberts, M.A., and Lois Jovanovic-Peterson, M.D. 1996 Published by Torrey Pines Press. ISBN 1-884804-82-9. US$21.95.

Stop the Rollercoaster is an in-depth look at how, using flexible insulin therapy (multiple injections per day), you can gain better control of your blood sugars. It details how to determine the correct background insulin level using a long-acting insulin such as NPH or Lente, and how to determine the pre-meal regular required to cover the carbohydrates in the meal. The book is filled with a wealth of general diabetes information, including details on carbohydrate counting and the effects of exercise. There’s even a chapter with detailed instructions on how to manage diabetes during pregnancy. If you’re interested in managing your diabetes as well as possible, Stop the Rollercoaster can help.

Torrey Pines Press is part of Diabetes Services, Inc., which has an on-line presence at Diabetes Net.

Torrey Pines Press
1030 West Upas Street
San Diego, CA 92103-3821
1-800-988-4772 (US)

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Still in the Game by Don W. Ray 2001 Published by Bridgewood Press. US$14.95. ISBN 0-927015-28-5.

The subtitle of Still in the Game is The story of sports, sugar diabetes and me, 67 years in the making. This book is essentially the story of Don Ray, born in 1934 and diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1939. His story is one of overcoming the challenges that we all face living with diabetes. Don writes about his frequent “wing-dings,” his term for insulin reactions. He writes about when the US Army told he and his father that he might have diabetes because is blood sugar was high (of course, they already knew he had diabetes). And he writes about his success in athletics, in spite of his doctor’s admonition to stay out of sports because of his diabetes.

Through it all, Don shares his positive attitude, which has given him a wonderful life that he has generously shared with his family and friends. His story is well worth reading for everyone who lives with type 1 diabetes.

Order Still in the Game directly from the author for $13 (includes shipping to US addresses):

Still In The Game
Po Box 26234
Cleveland, OH 44126
A signed copy will be sent when ordered directly from the author. You may also request an inscription.

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The Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes by Amy Stockwell Mercer 2012 Published by Demos Health. Paperback, 236 pages. $16.95 ISBN 1936303132.

There’s nothing quite like an authoritative author for a topic like diabetes. Amy Stockwell Mercer sums up her credentials in her introduction: “It’s been 25 years since I was diagnosed, and I am now the mother to three healthy boys.” Diagnosed at age 14, about six months after her younger sister, Stockwell Mercer enlists the wisdom and experiences of many other women living with diabetes to offer guidance and encouragement for women with diabetes who might feel alone or isolated or just not understood. You’ll learn from women diagnosed as kids and diagnosed as adults who have found ways to live well with diabetes. The Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes isn’t a medical guide to caring for diabetes. It’s more of an emotional guide. One chapter heading sums it up best: Building the Confidence to Live Well. Highly Recommended for every woman with diabetes.

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Smart Pumping for People with Diabetes by edited by Howard Wolpert, MD 2002 Pubished by the American Diabetes Association. Paperback, 181 pages. $16.95. ISBN 1-58040-125-2.

Smart Pumping for People with Diabetes is an excellent guide to managing diabetes using an insulin pump. Edited by Howard Wolpert, MD, the book is based on educational materials used at the Joslin Diabetes Center and is published by the American Diabetes Asssocation. Filled with dozens of charts and graphs, and written in easy-to-understand language, Smart Pumping starts with the basics of pump therapy, including how to figure out basal rates and insulin sensitivity — essential for determining bolus amounts. Several sections are devoted to nutrition and how different foods are covered using extended boluses. There’s even a discussion about how to manage with a pump should you have to go to the hospital. The only shortcoming in this book is the complete absence of references to non-ADA sources of information. There’s nothing about the other books about pumping, and nothing about the Insulin Pumpers web site. If you’re looking for a good, easy-to-read reference for insulin pumping, Smart Pumping will fit the bill, but it cannot be the only book in your pumping library. Recommended for anyone considering or using an insulin pump.

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The Secrets of Living and Loving with Diabetes by Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N, William Polonsky, PhD, CDE, and Steven V. Edelman, MD 2004 Pubished by Surrey Books. Paperback, 182 pages. $19.95. ISBN 1-57284-066-8.

The Secrets of Living and Loving with Diabetes is about real life with diabetes. Not the “this is insulin” and “check lots of blood sugars” kind of real life though — this is the “how to deal with the diabetes police” and “decriminalizing diabetes” real life, the stuff that’s so often overlooked at clinic or in discussions with your doctor. If you’re an adult (or older teen) with diabetes, and you’re tired of hearing “Your blood sugar is high. What did you do wrong?”, or you’re a parent or spouse and you find yourself saying those words (or words like that), then this book can help you learn to deal with the emotional challenges and relationship issues that face everyone — and every family — living with diabetes. Parents, this is the adult equivalent of Sweet Kids and is highly recommended for adults and older teens with type 1 diabetes.

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Reducing Injection Pain in Children and Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes: Studies on Indwelling Catheters and Injection Needles by Ragnar Hanas, M.D. Dissertation for the Degree of Doctor of Medical Science (Ph.D.) 2001 Published by the Faculty of Health Sciences, LinkÖping University, LinkÖping, Sweden. Contact the author at for copies.

Children and teens with diabetes often fear the pain of insulin injections, and this fear can lead to difficulties with blood glucose control. Dr. Hanas’s dissertation explores the use of an indwelling catheter, called Insuflon, into which insulin is injected. Patients averages 4-5 days per catheter with a low frequency of side effects. Using catheters for up to four days does not affect insulin absorption. Parents with children and teens who are anxious about injections should discuss the use of indwelling catheters with their diabetes team, and direct them to this excellent book.

Unomedical, maker of the Insuflon infusion set, is sponsoring distribution of 100 copies of the book for free. Please contact the author at for more information.

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