Archive | May 11, 2024

Mitchell Itches

Mitchell Itches

Mitchell Itches











Mitchell Itches: An Eczema Story

Kristin Kelly

Amelina Jones

EK Books, 2024

32pp., hbk., RRP $A4.99


Ever since he was born, Mitchell has been itchy – so much so that even as a baby he had to wear special mittens and socks to help him control his constant need to scratch.  And while he is young, surrounded by family who understand the condition and do all they can to alleviate it, things are okay, but when he gets to school things take a turn for the worse with the lack of understanding leading to taunts, bullying and isolation.  Yet, when there is a family holiday by the seaside things ease, and Mitchell finds a way to distract himself from the need to scratch.  But holidays can’t last forever and school returns – will he find a way to be accepted for the little boy he is, itches and all?

Sadly this story could be that of my husband – and the one in five children living with eczema – right down the special mittens, the allergy to eggs and milk, and the special care of his family. And while he has now grown out of the condition, what he had as a child shaped who he is today as a mature+ – aged grandfather.  Although he doesn’t have Mitchell’s special talent, he did have the bullying, the shame and the ostracisation that went with such conditions in the 50s and 60s.  So stories like this that not only help the Mitchells to understand that the condition is more common that they realise, but also educate those around them that it is not catchy and underneath the irritated skin is a regular person can play an invaluable part in making life less miserable than it is.  

And while this is specifically about eczema, there is also an underlying message about discovering something that we love to indulge in and completely distract us from whatever is troubling us.  In fact, it is not indulgent, it’s necessary to give the brain a break so it can be refreshed and renewed when reality impacts again.  So all sorts of lessons for all of us.