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Long Island mom pens allergy book for kids

Stephanie Sorkin, author of "Nutley the Nut-Free Squirrel,"

Stephanie Sorkin, author of "Nutley the Nut-Free Squirrel," reads her book with her daughters Kyra, 10, Mallory, 6, and Lea, 7, at their home in Roslyn. (Feb. 28, 2013) (Credit: Barry Sloan)

Solve this riddle: If Mallory Sorkin, 6, of Roslyn, is not a squirrel, then how can the new children's book "Nutley the Nut-Free Squirrel" be all about her?

Answer: Because Mallory's mom, Stephanie, wrote the book to help Mallory and her friends understand when someone is allergic to peanuts. "I'm not a squirrel, but I'm allergic to nuts," Mallory says. In fact, since the book has been published, the family's all been calling Mallory "Nutley" as a nickname, the kindergartner says.

The self-published children's book is written in verse and illustrated by Tim Warren. It's about a squirrel who gathers his other animal friends together to explain that when he eats nuts, like most other squirrels do, his eyes puff up and hives pop out. There, the dog declares that he's allergic to bones, and the pelican confesses he's allergic to fish.

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"We really try to remain on the positive side," says Sorkin, a stay-at-home mother whose two other daughters, Kyra, 10, and Lea, 7, are allergic to pitted fruits and pollen, respectively. She initially made up the story for her kids but then thought she should share it as a fundraising and educational tool.

The book includes a recipe for "Yummy Nut-Free Banana Bread" at the end. It costs $14.95, and Sorkin says she'll donate either $5 or $13 from the sale of each book to FARE, depending on whether she has to share profits from the copy with a bookstore or website or sells the book on her own. FARE is an organization devoted to food allergy research and education. The book is available on amazon.com.

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