Hi, my name is Adam, and I am a 24-year-old medical student. I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when I was two years old and had my colon removed when I was 12. Recently, I published a children's picture book, Up and Adam, about my childhood experiences facing IBD with a positive attitude. This is the story of how and why I created Up and Adam and how I hope my book can help young kids by offering a tangible connection to someone who knows what they're going through and can remind them they are not alone. 

If you are interested in purchasing a copy, Up and Adam can be found on the Barnes and Noble website, or you can reach out to me at [email protected].

Why is a resource for young IBD patients important?

Social supports shape how patients experience their disease. IBD is likely the first big challenge that pediatric IBD patients face, and influencing how they deal with their medical challenges will likely shape how they deal with most challenges going forward. This means that providing social supports to children is especially important.

I wrote Up and Adam to offer a relatable role model for young IBD patients. Also, I wanted to make something that kids can hold onto and remind them they are not alone. When I was middle school aged and in the hospital my nurse gave me a booklet that had short pieces of advice written by other young patients. I felt like I could connect with the other patients and this comforted me. However, I also wanted to know more about their full stories.

How does my book help young patients form a positive and resilient outlook while facing medical challenges?

In my book, I describe my childhood experiences facing an array of challenges with a positive attitude. For example, I joked with my elementary school nurse every day when I went for my medicine, told stories about superhero animals with my dad (and did math homework sometimes too) while stuck on the toilet, and felt proud to act like an adult while getting blood drawn.

At the end of the book is a list of questions that parents can ask their child, such as “how can you pass the time while on the toilet (other than use your phone)?” or “what is something brave that you have done?” to encourage young patients to adopt a positive mindset. 

What makes my book unique?

Up and Adam is unique in that it is the only children’s book available where the author is young and writing about his/her own childhood experience with IBD.

I wrote the book at the beginning of college and illustrated it towards the end of college and the summer after graduation. The book is important since the character’s experiences, emotions, and thoughts are what mine were when I was a child. Readers can form a strong connection to the character since they know that he is a real person, and they can even reach out to me ([email protected]) if they want to share their story or ask questions about my experience. By forming a bond with the character, young patients should realize that they too can have a positive attitude while facing IBD.

What was the process of making the book like?

While creating the book, I found that writing it was the quickest and easiest part. It felt good to reflect and write about my IBD. Looking back, I think that writing about what you are going through is another way to help face challenges. Also, there were certain experiences that I thought many people could relate to and I wanted to share them. The illustrations were the hardest part, since I had never done a drawing project before. I used crayon since I thought it would be more relatable to young patients.

What is the take-away message for why the book is important for young IBD patients to read?

The goal of my children’s picture book, Up and Adam, is to help young patients know that they are not alone in facing IBD, and to help give them tools to face the challenges that come with being sick. Since IBD is likely the first big challenge that young IBD patients will face, I hope that they can use the tools from Up and Adam to win against any challenge they face in the future.

Proceeds from the sale of Up and Adam will support the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. You can find it online at Barnes and Noble.


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