It is always fun to see the take-aways that a reporter will glean from an interview. I loved how Elizabeth Youmans from the Idaho Mountain Express told the story of the creation of Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow.
It Takes a Veggie: Local Author Writes About Nutrition
Posted on Apr 27, 2016 by Elizabeth Youmans
The acronym for the standard American diet is SAD, and according to certified nutritional counselor and author Kathryn Kemp Guylay, it’s a fitting one.
“One-third of kids born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes eating the standard American diet,” she said.
In 2008, when she was still living in Chicago, Guylay started a nonprofit organization called Nurture to educate low-income children and their families about nutrition and wellness. She discovered that the most effective way to deliver the message of the importance of healthy eating is to make it fun. Guylay started Rainbow Days at the schools, during which each class was assigned a specific color to wear and given nutritional information about the fruits and vegetables of that color. Guylay said she was always on the lookout for appealing books and games to reinforce the message of healthy food choices, but found slim pickings.
Guylay, who wrote a book titled “Mountain Mantras: Wellness and Life Lessons from the Slopes” after she moved to Ketchum in 2011, decided that she would write a picture book that would provide nutritional information in a fun and lively way. She enlisted the help of her son, Alexander, 13, to illustrate the book. The two have collaborated on a 54-page picture book titled “Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow.”
Cara Frost, an art teacher at Community School, worked with Alexander to create illustrations using “augmented reality,” whereby an illustrated figure is superimposed on a photograph.
“Kids love the juxtaposition between what’s real and what’s not real—between the magical and the actual,” Guylay said. “This medium allows us to have real pictures of fruits and vegetables.”
Guylay and Alexander plan to self-publish the book and have set up a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to cover the production costs. They have created a 54-page, full-color, hardback prototype with the assistance of local graphic artist Colleen Quindlen, who helped with layout, page composition and Photoshop, Guylay said.
The book follows a gender-neutral character, Blake, who is feeling sleepy and enervated because he only likes to eat sugary foods. He wonders why he is so tired when other kids have so much energy. He meets a leprechaun who tells him to follow the rainbow to the pot of gold. The rainbow is a rainbow of fruits and vegetables displayed in the red-orange-yellow-green-blue-purple chromatic order. Each page highlights the vegetables of the featured color and tells what benefits those veggies offer to our bodies and overall health.
“This is really using the currency that kids want. They want energy,” Guylay said. “You can’t talk to them about cardiovascular disease and diabetes. We never say junk food, we just show the sugar.”
Guylay describes the book as a cross between “The Wizard of Oz” and “Honey I Shrunk the Kids.”
“To tell the story, we wanted it to be a transformational journey, not just an educational thing,” she said.
Guylay believes that it is important to educate children about nutrition and wellness when they are very young, before bad habits such as sugar addiction are formed.
“The earlier the better,” she said. “At 6 months, a baby’s palate is open. By age 2, our sweet receptors are active. Eating is one of the few things that small children have control over, so we keep the message positive. Our approach is to educate, inspire and give choice. Trying new foods is a multisensory thing. So if kids don’t want to take a bite of something, I encourage them to smell it. Kids have an easier time getting used to fruits than vegetables.”
Guylay brought her Rainbow Days curriculum to Hemingway Elementary and Community School earlier this month and is hoping to self-publish “Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow” this summer.
Local author Kathryn Kemp Guylay and her son, Alexander, have started a Kickstarter Campaign to fund the production costs of their book, “Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow.” The book is a 54-page full-color picture book about the nutritional impact of vegetables. The campaign can be accessed atwww.kickstarter.com/projects/923631210/give-it-a-go-eat-a-rainbow-kids-picture-book.