Reviewed by: Carolyn Vachani, RN, MSN, AOCN
The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: April 15, 2011
When Ellen Meyer was diagnosed with colon cancer, she had two young children at home. This is unfortunately the reality for many adults diagnosed with cancer. They are faced with the challenge of explaining what is going on to their children without alarming them. Children are very observant and can’t help but notice the stress and uncertainty in the air. Talking about cancer and how it affects the family is an important step in helping children cope. But getting started can be difficult.
In her professional life, Ellen Meyer held a PhD in education and worked to improve schools. Throughout her illness she wrote this book to help her own children better understand what was going on. After her death, her family published her work to help other families facing similar situations. Ellen’s young niece illustrated the book and proceeds are donated to organizations that support families fighting cancer.
This book is recommended for children ages 3-10. It cannot replace a conversation with them, but serves as a good conversation starter. It reassures them that their family member still loves them, that it’s ok to be frightened when you see someone in the hospital, that other kids are going through this too and that there will still be good times. It opens the door for the child to talk about their thoughts and fears. This book would be a useful addition to a cancer center library and a helpful gift for a child whose parent is going through cancer treatment.