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Many parents visit a minimum of three doctors before finding a correct diagnosis for the symptoms their child is suffering.

Nick the Super Scientist

Nick's interest in science was the basis for the book. His love of science started even before he got a microscope as a gift. Here are some great websites for aspiring young scientists:


Meet Nick

When Nick Schmitz was 6 years old (he's 7 now), he was diagnosed with celiac disease. That diagnosis lead to a big change in Nick's eating habits - a change the made Nick feel a lot better. He stopped having so many tummy aches, and started growing a lot faster.

And when he learned how the disease affected his body, he wanted to share that information with other kids who have celiac disease. He and his mom decided to write a book to help other kids understand how celiac disease affected their body, and their ability to absorb the nutrients in food.

As Nick said, "We couldn't find a book with cool pictures to read, so we thought we should write one to help other kids understand all this better."


About the Book

book image

In Nick and the Shrinking Inner Spaceship, our boy scientist super hero takes readers on an amazing journey. Nick shrinks himself and his favorite spaceship so he can explore his little brother's intestines for signs of celiac disease.

He and the readers learn how celiac disease actually affects the body. But don't worry, everything comes out in the end.


One in 133 Americans has celiac disease.

About Mom

When Nick was diagnosed with celiac disease, Marcia searched for resources to explain what the disease was and how to live with the condition. "As parents, we wanted this to be a positive experience. We found that the more Nick understood about celiac disease and how gluten affected his body and the way he felt, the less scary the whole experience was." The idea for the book came about so they could share what they had learned with other families. In addition to being a mom to Nick and Charlie, and a wife to Joe, Marcia works full time in medical sales. In her spare time, she's a talented photographer. Here's a link to her photography website.


Gluten-Free Recipes

Having celiac disease doesn't mean you have to give up your favorite foods - you just have to get creative in how you prepare them. Here are some of Nick's favorite gluten-free recipes. Some of them are so fun and easy, that kids can help with the cooking!

Chocolaty Peanut-Butter Crispy Rice Treats

Orange Jar Bars

Gluten-Free Tacos with Avocado

Gluten-Free Blueberry Pancake Recipe

Gluten-Free Spaghetti O's

Gluten-Free Chicken Nugget Recipe

Gluten-Free Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

Chocolate Pudding (Corn-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free & Soy-Free)

Chicken Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Gluten-Free Brownies


Celiac disease is a genetic disorder affecting children and adults.


Celiac symptoms were noted as far back as the first century AD.

Celiac Resources

Tummy aches are a routine part of childhood, but constant upset stomachs might be the body's way of saying something's not right. For someone with celiac disease, eating gluten - in a piece of bread, for instance - causes an immune system reaction. Here's some information on celiac disease in kids:


About Charlie

Charlie, like every younger brother, was overjoyed to be the object of Nick's experiment. He's a healthy four-year-old and follows his big brother around everywhere.

 Nick and Charlie

Why Do Kids Get Celiac Disease?

No one is sure why celiac disease happens, but it appears to run in families. That's why Nick wanted to find out if his little brother might have Celiac Disease - even though Charlie didn't show any symptoms yet.

There is a 5% to 10% chance of getting celiac disease if someone in your family has it. It's especially common in people from the northern European countries and the United States. How common? About 1 in every 133 people in the United States has celiac disease.

Obviously, many people who have celiac disease do not know it. If all these people were diagnosed, celiac disease would be more common than Type 1 diabetes. Fortunately, awareness is growing about the problem, and there are better ways of testing people for it.


Celiac disease is also known as gluten intolerance.


In the USA there are 2.5 babies born every minute with the genetic makeup to have celiac disease.

Insight Marketing Design

Insight Marketing Design

In 2003 Doug Moss opened his own marketing/design firm with his partner Candy Van Dam. Insight Marketing Design has had a positive impact on the community by strongly supporting children's causes and the arts. The full-service advertising agency is located in a renovated warehouse in downtown Sioux Falls.


About the illustrator

This is the fifth children's book that Doug Moss has illustrated. Doug received his degree in fine arts from Miami University of Ohio with concentrations in graphic design and illustration. He has spent his career in the world of commercial art, working as a designer and an art director. His day job is Creative Director/Principal at Insight Marketing Design.

After winning many national awards for his commercial art and illustrations, Doug was honored to have two illustrations selected for exhibition in the Society of Illustrators gallery in New York City.


Currently there are no drugs available to treat celiac disease.


100% of little boys think that flatulence is funny.

Testing for Celiac Disease

Antibody blood tests are the first step in screening for Celiac Disease. The antibody blood test will show if the system is responding negatively to gluten. The antibody test is a newer technology. Because it's less invasive than previous tests, more people are having the initial screening performed - and more people are being identified as having Celiac Disease.

If the antibody blood test is positive, the next step is doing an endoscopy to obtain biopsies, as this is the gold standard to confirm celiac disease.

 Dr. Adamiak

Doctor's Orders

I hope all of my patients with celiac disease have the opportunity to read "Nick and the Shrinking Inner Spaceship." A new diagnosis of celiac disease can be overwhelming for a family and this book is a great resource to help young children understand what it means to have celiac disease and why it is so important to follow a strict gluten-free diet. Nick and his family share this story for other children and their families to read - it is a well-written and beautifully illustrated book that has a positive message for children with celiac disease.

I'm glad to have had the opportunity to be involved!

Dr. Tonya Adamiak
Pediatric Gastroenterologist
Sanford Health System


National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) was formed to raise awareness of celiac disease and to facilitate research and treatment of the disease. NFCA is affiliated with the leading researchers with the goal of NFCAimproving the quality of life for those who have celiac disease.

$1 from every sale of Nick and the Shrinking Inner Spaceship will be donated to NFCA.