My favorite: diabetes books

According to my mom, I taught myself how to read when I was four years old when I didn’t want to sleep during nap time. I highly recommend this book if you are learning how to read!

My love of reading has extended into my diabetes life as well. I tend to like books that combine some of the socioeconomical impact of diabetes along with a personal story but I have read (and usually enjoyed) other types of diabetes books as well.

diabetes books


My diabetes shelf includes:

Think Like a Pancreas by Gary Scheiner

Growing Up Again: Life, Loves, and Oh Yeah, Diabetes by Mary Tyler Moore

Pumping Insulin by John Walsh and Ruth Roberts

Sweet Invisible Body by Lisa Roney

Strong at the Broken Places by Richard M. Cohen

Cheating Destiny by James S. Hirsch

and Schuyler’s Monster by Robert Rummel-Hudson


Think Like a Pancreas is great because it gives you a good, basic background about diabetes and how to begin to manage it.

I honestly did not like Mary Tyler Moore’s Growing Up Again. The book was full of disconnected tangents and stories. It read more like an interview than something that was created by pen to paper (or keyboard if you prefer). I also found it frustrating that she took little responsibility for her own control, relying mostly on her husband and other caregivers. I am thankful for the awareness and advocacy she brings to JDRF but is personally not an example I plan to follow.

I first read Pumping Insulin about four years after I started pumping and I still learned new things. The charts and tables are invaluable for figuring out rates. I obviously still use them when I am checking a basal rate or two. Some people call this book the “Pumper’s Bible” because it contains just about everything you need to know to be a successful pumper. If you don’t pump, but you do use insulin, I have heard that Using Insulin is just as helpful.

Sweet Invisible Body is a book that came highly recommended by fellow blogger Kerri at Six Until Me. I have to admit – I did not enjoy this book as much as Kerri does. Admittedly, I think the problem is that the author primarily speaks about being a child and teenager with diabetes and how that has impacted her life today. Having missed those years with diabetes, it is harder for me to relate to that aspect of her story. It is still a good read, I just did not connect with it as much as some others will.

Strong at the Broken Places is not a book specifically about diabetes – in fact, I don’t think the book even mentions it. I probably would not have even thought to purchase a copy if not for the recommendation of fellow DD blogger Amylia Grace. However, it is a book about living with chronic conditions and I found myself relating quite well to the people chronicled in this book.

If you can only buy or read one book on my shelf – Cheating Destiny is the one! Hirsch tells the story of his life with diabetes and the impact it continues to have on his family after his three year old son’s diagnosis. He also includes information about the sociological and economic impact of the condition on various communities, ethnic groups, and even health care practitioners. All diabetes care is certainly not created alike! If this book does not get you fired up about diabetes advocacy, nothing will!

Schuyler’s Monster is the other book on this list that is not actually about diabetes. However, the author of the book is a Type 2 diabetic and a blogger within the Diabetic online community. Just like glucose in our bloodstream, diabetics stick together!

diabetes books


So, what’s your favorite diabetes book?


  • I was looking at some of my diabetes books the other day and noticed how horribly out of date they were, even though they’re only five or so years old. That’s the problem with printed books for things like diabetes – roll on new medias I say!

  • The Born Again Diabetic.

    Hands down.

    Wil over at LifeAfterDx is funny. I Love wit. I live for it.

    It points out the basics in an understandable way. I have my family reading it.

    Plus, total bias on this book because it’s the Only diabetes related book I have Ever read! (24 years and I Know I know nothing, hmmmm….)

    Thanks for the list!! If I ever get a gift card to a book store, many of these will be on the list. 😉

  • My favorites are Pumping Insulin (and Using Insulin), Type 1 Diabetes by Ragnar Hanas, Psyching Out Diabetes by Richard Rubin, and Diabetes Burnout by William Polonsky.

  • Psyching Out Diabetes by Richard R. Rubin, June Biermann, and Barbara Toohey, Lowell House, ISBN 1-56565-088-3.

  • The ones that tell me how many carbs are in food! (Sorry, couldn’t resist). I actually haven’t really read through many of them. If I recall correctly, Diabetes A to Z was a decent guide at first diagnosis. The Pumping Insulin I definitely enjoyed and will eventually use (I hope).

  • I love The Born Again Diabetic. It’s funny and oh boy I can relate to this! I also like Psyching Out Diabetes by Richard R. Rubin, Ph.D., C.D.E., June Biermann and Barbara Toohey. I can’t survive without my Pumping Insulin book either! Thriving Through the Crisis by Bill O’Hanlon is not a diabetes book per se but it helps you transform breakdowns into breakthroughs and see the positive in situations.

  • Great list Sara! I’ve read almost all of the ones you recommend, and like your favorites too! You must give Wil’s book a read – I think you’ll really like it. It helped me understand some things that I couldn’t wrap my brain around (even after all these years).

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