West Hartford Author Tackles Kids’ Food Allergies – Superhero Style!

Illustration by Dan Carsten. Courtesy Image

West Hartford resident Colleen Brunetti is publishing the children’s book as a community service project to empower kids to take control of their eating and their health, and has also launched a crowd-funding campaign to support the project.


Colleen Brunetti. Courtesy photo

West Hartford author and health coach Colleen Brunetti knows there is a lot to managing a kid with special dietary needs. For years her son Aidan struggled with undiagnosed food intolerances, and it was only upon completing her training as a health coach that Colleen cracked the code – common foods were causing uncommon symptoms!

With the food question out of the way, a new challenge arose: How do you tell a kid his favorite foods are off the menu? Especially when every other kid seems to be able to eat cake and ice cream at birthday parties? And how do you explain all this to friends and family too?

Enter “Aidan the WonderKid Who Could Not Be Stopped: A Food Allergy Story.”

Aidan is a superhero with very special powers indeed. With his trusty dog Rocco at his side, there’s nothing he can’t do. But something is making Aidan sick. And when Aidan gets sick, he is very, very droopy. Will his grownups ever figure out what’s stealing his superpowers? And how can he find his boundless energy once again? Stay tuned to find out!

This past winter Brunetti attended the Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI), and decided to launch her book as a community service project, with plans to do free author readings and to donate signed copies to local libraries and schools.

Her goal was to empower as many West Hartford kids as possible to take ownership of the way they need to eat for their bodies, and to understand when their friends needed to eat something different.

Illustration by Dan Carsten. Courtesy image

Brunetti consulted with Great By Eight, garnered early financial backing from Growing Great Schools, and began cultivating partnerships with Gluten Free CT and Pure Love Gluten Free Bakery for author events. In the true spirit of the networking PLTI encourages, she also found her illustrator, Dan Carsten, through a referral from a PLTI classmate. In addition, she found her editor through a Moms and More event.

“I’m thrilled that this little book I wrote for my own son has blossomed into a true community-based project,” Brunetti said. “I love that everyone I’ve resourced for the book is local to West Hartford and Connecticut, and that I’ve been able to support other independent contractors and small businesses throughout the process.”

While the book is well on its way, self-publishing does come with costs. Having successfully self-published before, Brunetti knows the job is best done by relying on professionals for the illustrations, editing, layout, and print and digital design.

In order to create a book that will make it to as many kids as possible, a crowd funding page has been launched at indiegogo.com. Brunetti is hopeful that the community will support Aidan the WonderKid on his great adventure into empowering the lives of kids with food challenges everywhere!

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Illustration by Dan Carsten. Courtesy image

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1 Comment

  • […] New this year is a dedicated allergy-friendly area, located in the Little Pumpkins Lot off Raymond Road (former REI parking lot). Vendors will hand out non-candy giveaways so that children with food allergies can still participate in the fun and not feel left out. Fun for All Foods, a West Hartford-based company and producer of Top 8 Allergen Free Foods, is sponsoring this area. West Hartford resident and author Colleen Brunetti will be signing copies of her children’s bo….” […]

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