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Dad's Book Explains HIV to His Young Daughter

A new book from Fairview Press explains everything kids need to know about HIV/AIDS. With the help of beautiful illustrations, My Dad Has HIV tells the facts and dispels the fears surrounding the virus that causes AIDS.

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How do you tell your daughter that you have HIV?

That's a question that Earl Alexander spent lots of time pondering. How would he tell his young daughter, Lindsey, that he was HIV-positive?

When Alexander broke the news to his 8-year-old daughter, Lindsey had lots of questions. She wondered Will my dad die? What will people think? Will my friends still play with me?

Alexander patiently answered his daughter's questions. He explained HIV as best he could to her. He reassured her that he was going to good doctors and that he was doing everything he could to stay well. Of course that made Lindsey feel better, but Alexander could tell that his daughter still worried about his health.

Alexander had spent lots of time in Lindsey's school, where he worked often as a substitute teacher. He had gotten to know other teachers in the school. It was there that Alexander and a couple of Lindsey's teachers hatched the idea for this book. The book would help answer the questions that Lindsey and the kids in her school had about HIV. Those must be the same questions that kids everywhere have about this sickness, they thought.

The result is My Dad Has HIV, a bright and colorful volume ideal for school libraries. It's the perfect book for explaining HIV to kids of all ages.

In the story, Lindsey's father helps out during Fun Day at school and is sometimes a substitute teacher for Lindsey's class. At first, Lindsey was afraid of what would happen and what people would think when they learned that her dad has HIV. After her father and her teachers help explain to Lindsey and her classmates exactly what HIV is and how it can make you sick, Lindsey is proud of her father for teaching people about HIV. At the end of the story, she tells about how her father is doing everything he can to stay healthy, and she hopes that doctors and scientists around the world find a cure for HIV soon.

My Dad Has HIV is upbeat and hopeful in tone---and it is clear and honest in fact. The story focuses on people with HIV who live full, active lives.

Earl Alexander is a husband and a father of two daughters. He is a certified HIV/AIDS instructor active in the Red Cross, the International AIDS Memorial Quilt, and the Dubuque (Iowa) Regional AIDS Coalition. Alexander speaks to groups and presents workshops to children from kindergarten to grade 12 and to others who wish to learn the true facts about HIV/AIDS. His co-authors, Sheila Rudin and Pam Sejkora, are both longtime schoolteachers. My Dad Has HIV is illustrated by Ronnie Walter Shipman.

My Dad Has HIV is available from your local book retailer (hard cover list price--$14.95) or from Fairview Press. Contact Fairview Press at 800-544-8207 or write to them at 2450 Riverside Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55454.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 1997 Education World

08/01/1997