"I think that you don't have to have celiac disease to love the book like I did! Be careful - you won't be able to put the book down once you start it!" --Maryland Celiac's J. Robins
From the Author
Every parent of a child with food issues knows all too well the stress involved in events that should otherwise be fun, relaxing, and enjoyable. I am no different than anyone else. Three years ago my oldest son was diagnosed with celiac disease and our family was forced down an alternative food path that has and still does define so very much of our lives. My son was quite young when he made the switch and at that time we reveled in the many celiac picture books that were and are available for children struggling to cope with this condition. But I noticed that as he aged a terrible and wonderful thing had happened to my beautiful child. He had matured and developed into a much more complicated and intelligent person. All of a sudden he was taking notice of what others thought, about not being different, and he was experiencing situations that could possibly put him at risk. His desire to fit in seemed to trump everything. During this time he was invited to a birthday party, one that ultimately led to a complete and utter sobbing meltdown later that night. I listened to him lament about being different, of needing and wanting to feel normal, of being tired of his diet (by now he was good and healthy), and he admitted having feelings of isolation. He shattered my heart into pieces. After he finally fell asleep I went to task. I searched the web for a book that could inspire him, give him hope, make him laugh, and challenge him to take a new attitude. I couldn't find it. There are many wonderful picture books in the celiac genre, many teach about managing the disease, some are great resources for the classroom, and still others are very helpful for younger children. But there wasn't a novel for older kids anywhere out there that could inspire my son. In many ways I consider that child's birthday Cilie's birthday as well. It was nearly three o'clock in the morning when Cilie Yack was born. I kept tossing and turning without any sleep. He was just a name and a funny sketch of a cartoon character in my mind, but I couldn't shake him out. I got up and put him to paper. It took several months and very late nights to tell his story. After several more months I completed 60 pictures to make this tale a funny and engaging one for even the most reluctant readers. I wanted a character that was flawed, someone that kids could empathize with, someone that could rise up and somehow find a way to reinvent himself. I needed a kid that seemed real, one with real problems, one who is prone to breaking the rules, getting into trouble, losing his temper, feeling bad about himself, and one who isn't exactly the best at, well, anything. You see, if a reader can still find enough to like about a kid like that, then there's magic. Then funny things start to happen. You see, Cilie finds a way to reinvent himself, despite everything. That's what this story is all about. And if you get this book for your child too, he may find enough inspiration to reinvent himself as well, and if he doesn't need to at the very least he'll feel inspired.