by Angela Kubinec

Dear Editor,

After being diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), I conducted a thorough research of the illness, using WebMD and other sites with scary pictures of people’s insides. Age, I found, is not a factor for this illness. I was saddened to learn of so many children who have IBS. They frequently experience embarrassing elimination episodes, just like adults, but these events are made much more disheartening during the school day and on the bus.

I made a commitment to bring comfort and knowledge to children with IBS: to parents, teachers and friends, by writing a children’s book on the subject. I did not include any of the scary pictures I found, but the colorful illustrations of the “parts of the body” use both age-appropriate detail and engaging color.

My children’s book, Raise Your Hand, encourages self-esteem for children with IBS, and to stop the discomfort of trying to “hold it.” “Holding” only worsens symptoms in the long run, but in the short run is a risk that is sometimes not worth taking. The story emphasizes the need for eating at regular intervals, and identifying foods that contribute to inflammation.

I have contacted a pro-biotic manufacturer in the hope that a gummy-otic or fiber-ummy might be released in conjunction with the book, should you decide to accept it.

The book comes with a teacher’s guide on how to best address a child’s actual need for relief as opposed to a prankster or nuisance hand-raising child. There are visible indicators that can be easily observed and accommodated.  A teacher need only take a few moments to read and to conduct a two to three-minute conference with the student, a parent, the school nurse and the guidance counselor. The school custodians and teachers’ aids should also be represented, as they are the actual hands-on crew.

The burden of this sensitive matter deserves to be lessened by understanding and support. Should you choose to publish this work, I am developing a follow-up book titled Stop Laughing At This (bull)Shit.

Best to you,



Angela Kubinec is a native of South Carolina who holds a Physics degree from the College of Charleston, and taught Mathematics for eighteen years. Her work has appeared in Carve Magazine and elsewhere.