Books for Adults with Type 1 Diabetes
Editor’s Note: Images included throughout this article are attributed to the corresponding author’s book website, shop page, or social media feed. The related authors + illustrators of these books should be credited.
Books that speak to many diabetes experiences are important for adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to read and feel connected. Everyone with diabetes experiences it differently, but there are common themes that resonate across unique experiences.
In this list, we share some of our favorite books for adults with diabetes that speak to a variety of important topics like mental health, daily management, finding gratitude, parenting, pregnancy, women’s health and more.
“Think Like a Pancreas: A Practical Guide to Managing Diabetes with Insulin” by Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE
Scheiner offers a holistic outlook on life with diabetes in his book, inspiring readers to rethink how they think about it. Like many authors on this list, Scheiner lives with diabetes himself. He was diagnosed in 1968, giving him the unique ability to offer perspectives on how patient care has evolved since then. Scheiner speaks eloquently about the clinician and patient sides of diabetes.
Scheiner achieves precisely what his title sets out to in this book, helping readers “think like a pancreas” throughout it and feel solidified in a new mindset to thrive as much as possible while living with diabetes. This book has the power to be a life-changing read when you’re feeling stuck in the way you think about diabetes.
“Rage Bolus & Other Poems” by Kerri Sparling
Sparling offers a unique take on the diabetes experience through poetry in her book, “Rage Bolus & Other Poems.”
Readers are bound to laugh, cry and scream as they read through this body of uplifting, sarcastic, sassy and personal series of poems, from “Diabetes worrier” to “Where the islet cells end” to “Sweet Little Lancet” to the book’s namesake poem, “Rage Bolus.”
This read is uplifting when you’re in your feelings about living with diabetes. When you don’t think anyone understands what you’re going through daily, Sparling reassures—she gets it!
“Diabetes Sucks And You Can Handle It” by Dr. Mark Heyman
Heyman offers an “actionable toolkit” to help people with diabetes deal with the emotional burdens of living with the disease. “Diabetes Sucks And You Can Handle It” speaks to the unpredictability of diabetes, how you can better manage everyday stresses, reduce the number of challenges you encounter while living with it, and ultimately—how to “master” the emotional side of diabetes.
This book is a worthwhile read when you want to add more flexibility and freedom to your life with diabetes.
“Six Until Me: Essays from a life with diabetes”
“Six Until Me” is an archive collection of essays drawn from Sparling’s well-known blog, sixuntilme.com. From May 2005 to May 2019, Sparling wrote on this blog as a way of sharing her diabetes story, connecting with the diabetes community and putting patient stories at the forefront of the diabetes space.
Sparling encourages that “our collective stories change the way people see diabetes” and “there is life after diagnosis, and it is filled with hope and possibility.”
“Six Until Me” is a relatable and uplifting read for anyone who wants to feel more connected while living with diabetes.
“Dealing with Diabetes Burnout: How to Recharge and Get Back on Track When You Feel Frustrated and Overwhelmed Living with Diabetes” by Ginger Vieira
“Dealing with Diabetes Burnout: How to Recharge and Get Back on Track When You Feel Frustrated and Overwhelmed Living with Diabetes” inspires and empowers people with diabetes to develop better management methods.
In this book, Vieira teaches you how to:
- “Set yourself up for success with realistic expectations and goals.”
- “Implement tips and suggestions to help make living with diabetes easier.”
- “Learn how to back off on diabetes management without guilt or shame.”
- “Build confidence in your abilities to face diabetes every day.”
This read is educational, realistic and compassionate, with professional advice from one person with type 1 diabetes to people with diabetes everywhere. If you’re struggling to connect with your doctor about how overwhelmed you feel, this book offers friendship and forward-thinking.
“Bright Spots and Landmines” by Adam Brown
“Bright Spots and Landmines” is another staple within the diabetes community, and for a good reason—Brown shares that over 100,000 copies have been sold since he published it in May 2017! The transformative tips he shares in this “highly actionable guide” help readers hone in on the strategies Brown discovered that allowed him to live a more positive life with diabetes himself.
He shares a missed opportunity to focus on the positives instead of the mistakes and negatives we make as humans. Yes, it’s human nature—but this mindset doesn’t have to be integral to the lifestyles of people with diabetes.
The practical advice in this book is helpful for people with any form of diabetes who want to feel as positive as possible as often as possible. As Brown writes—we can be “healthier, happier and more hopeful” when we learn to do this.
“Life is Short, Laundry is Eternal: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad” by Scott Benner
Benner is (literally) a well-known voice in the diabetes community.
If you’re a fan of Juicebox Podcast, you’ll love Benner’s book, “Life is Short, Laundry is Eternal: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad.” While the book doesn’t focus on type 1 diabetes alone, it is a significant part of the story. At two, Benner’s daughter, Arden, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes—a heartwrenching and anxiety-inducing diagnosis for any parent. Still, Benner did not lose his positive outlook. (If you listen to the podcast, you know this to be true!)
Especially if you’re a parent of a child with type 1 diabetes, you’ll feel connected to Brenner’s wit and wisdom in this read.
“Sugar Linings: Finding the Bright Side of Diabetes” by Sierra Sandison
Sandison is an enterprising, inspiring personality in the diabetes community.
She is well-known for launching the #showmeyourpump campaign. After wearing her insulin pump on stage as part of the Miss Idaho pageant series, Sandison skyrocketed as a diabetes advocate. She was crowned Miss Idaho in 2014! Since then, Sandison has spoken across the country at various diabetes conferences and schools, often as a keynote. Today, she is also recognized for her entrepreneurial endeavors as a mechanical engineer with #SlugTok on TikTok.
Sandison has inspired children to overcome adversity in her speeches. This same encouragement is wrapped into her book, “Sugar Linings: Finding the Bright Side of Diabetes,” helping readers find strength, community and connection. So, if you’re feeling alone or exhausted from diabetes, this is a hopeful read.
“Pregnancy with Type 1 Diabetes: Your Month-to-Month Guide to Blood Sugar Management” by Ginger Vieira and Jennifer Smith, CDE
Few books on pregnancy with type 1 diabetes integrate a patient and doctor’s perspective. In fact, few exist! “Pregnancy with Type 1 Diabetes: Your Month-to-Month Guide to Blood Sugar Management” by Ginger Vieira and Jennifer Smith, certified diabetes educator (CDE), is a happy marriage that women with type 1 diabetes will appreciate.
Managing pregnancy with type 1 diabetes is rewarding and exhausting. It’s much more than carb-counting and getting exercise! No two pregnancies are alike, regardless of diabetes.
This book helps women with type 1 diabetes prepare for pregnancy, “from conception to birth and the challenges of managing your blood sugars during postpartum.” If you are pregnant and living with type 1 diabetes, are thinking about getting pregnant while living with type 1 diabetes, or just want to learn more about it, this book is an informative and insightful can’t-miss.
“The World’s Worst Diabetes Mom: Real-Life Stories of Parenting a Child with Type 1 Diabetes” by Stacey Simms
“The World’s Worst Diabetes Mom: Real-Life Stories of Parenting a Child with Type 1 Diabetes” is a beloved read in the diabetes community.
Simms shares diabetes stories and lessons she’s acquired over the years in this book. Most importantly, she reminds readers that perfection with diabetes is impossible—and that’s perfectly normal! If you are a parent of a child with type 1 diabetes, you will appreciate Simms’ fresh take on being flexible, planning and having a great sense of humor.
“Type One Determination” by Lauren Plunkett
This book focuses on “breaking through boundaries and self-limitations while feeling optimistic about living a healthy life” with type 1 diabetes. “Type One Determination” is part memoir, part lesson in nutrition and exercise from Lauren Plunkett, owner of LP Nutrition Consulting and fellow type 1 diabetic (T1D).
“Type One Determination” helps readers:
- Embrace the challenges of living with diabetes as individuals.
- Become their own “best and brightest” advocates.
- Find hope despite countless temptations to feel otherwise.
If you’re struggling to find your way with type 1 diabetes, this book provides first-hand knowledge and reflections that will help you feel connected and reinvigorated in your life.
“Sugar Surfing” by Stephen W. Ponder, MD, FAAP, CDE, + Kevin L. McMahon
With over 500 5-star ratings on Amazon, there’s a reason many people with diabetes (and their doctors) read (and love) “Sugar Surfing” from Stephen W. Ponder and Kevin L. McMahon.
The book debunks diabetes misconceptions to help doctors treat patients better. Meanwhile, it also allows people with diabetes to become their own advocates. It is motivating to the reader and doesn’t fail to dive into the complexities of diabetes in compelling ways!
“Sugar Surfing” is an excellent diabetes resource for all ages. This book is a staple if you want to boost your diabetes education.
“Type 1 for the Newly Diagnosed” by Ariel Warren, RDN, CDCES
Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes can be a whirlwind, especially if you were diagnosed as an adult and had grown accustomed to a life without the disease!
While “Type 1 Diabetes for the Newly Diagnosed: What to Expect, What To Do, How To Thrive” is especially beneficial for the newly diagnosed, most adults with diabetes (regardless of their diagnosis date) will appreciate this enlightening read.
The book offers:
- Practical guidance to navigate “the ups and downs of the honeymoon phase and everyday blood sugar management.”
- Real stories from people with diabetes who “present a realistic picture of living with type 1 diabetes.” Informative FAQ sections that close each chapter.
- Informative FAQ sections that close each chapter.
If you want to be inspired to live your best life with diabetes, this book is a worthwhile read.
“Pumping Insulin” by John Walsh
This book isn’t just great for patients but for medical professionals who teach people with diabetes to use insulin pumps. It is full of passion for the subject matter and answers many common questions about insulin pump therapy!
(Though it is still a great resource with relevant information to date, the diabetes community would welcome an updated edition, as the latest volume was released in 2016.)
“The Book of Better: Life With Diabetes Can’t Be Perfect. Make It Better.” by Chuck Eichten
If you’re stuck thinking you need to be perfect at managing your diabetes, this book helps you get off that thought train.
“The Book of Better” comes from the perspective of someone who’s lived with diabetes for many years. It offers a critical takeaway that should resonate with people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes: “any bit better is still better.” (Meaning any steps you take to improve your care are worth celebrating and acknowledging!)
When you think you need to take your diabetes from 0 to 100, Eichten reassures readers that 3 percent better is better than no percent. No one with diabetes is perfect (or can be), but we all have the power to make it better! Gradual changes can do wonders for people with diabetes.
This book is helpful when you need a boost of confidence to not give up on yourself and feel better about the little steps you’re taking to make your diabetes better.
“Still the World’s Worst Diabetes Mom” by Stacey Simms
“Still the World’s Worst Diabetes Mom” is the sequel to Stacey Simms’s first book, “The World’s Worst Diabetes Mom.” The second installment features more stories about raising a child with type 1 diabetes and offers parent-to-parent advice.
In “Still the World’s Worst Diabetes Mom,” Simms, creator of Diabetes Connections, speaks to the challenge of “giving a child with diabetes more independence while keeping them safe and happy.” This certainly isn’t an easy task for parents of children with type 1 diabetes, but Simms helps readers feel more understood and much less alone.
In her work, Simms has been named one of Diabetes Forecast Magazine‘s “People to Know,” and her podcast has earned her a spot on the WEGO Health “Top 10 Best in Show: Patient Podcast Leaders 2019” list, among other accolades.
If you are a caregiver to a child with type 1 diabetes, this is another can’t-miss from Simms!
“A Woman’s Guide to Diabetes” by Brandy Barnes, MSW, and Natalie Strand, MD
When it comes to diabetes, women have unique experiences.
This book, from “two successful and down-to-earth women living with diabetes,” offers a fresh take on the unique issues and frank discussions faced by women with all types of diabetes. This book covers an array of topics, like:
- Hormones at different stages of life
- Physical and mental wellness
- Sexuality and relationships
- Exercise and athleticism
Endorsed by the American Diabetes Association, “A Woman’s Guide to Diabetes” is an excellent read for women who value transparency and relatability in their diabetes care.
“Balancing Diabetes: Conversations About Finding Happiness and Living Well” by Kerri Sparling
This book is another fantastic read by Kerri Sparling.
“Balancing Diabetes” does what its title describes—it helps readers find happiness and ways to live well with diabetes. But it’s not as cheesy as it may sound, nor is it simple!
Sparling helps people with diabetes adjust to their “new normal” of living with a chronic disease, teaches you how to balance diabetes with the rest of your life, and helps you find yourself in the “new world” you’ve entered.
Whether you have type 1 or type 2, however you identify, whether you are a person with diabetes, caregiver, or spouse, this book is a considerate read from an author who truly understands the inner happenings of life with diabetes.
“Thriving with Diabetes: Learn How to Take Charge of Your Body to Balance Your Sugars and Improve Your Lifelong Health” by Paul Rosman, DO, FACP, FACE, + David Edelman
“Thriving With Diabetes” is another excellent book on this list that teaches you to look beyond the physical solutions of diabetes and dive into the mental side. If you want to get more ideas about how to feel empowered while living with diabetes, this is an insightful guide.
In this book, the authors share a four-step process that is supposed to help readers find lasting success with their diabetes management that goes beyond “a set of notes from the doctor.”
If you want to get proactive with your diabetes management, this is a must-read!