Books for Young People

Afraid to Ask: A Book About Cancer
by Judylaine Fine
New York: Lothrop, 1986.

An excellent and highly readable reference volume that includes information about more than 20 specific types of cancer, offered in a question and answer format. Addresses emotional concerns as well as scientific facts. Ages 12 and up.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good Very Bad Day
by Judith Viorst
New York: Macmillan Children's Book Group.

A picture book that illustrates the importance of understanding that some days are just "bad days" and will pass. Ages 3-8.

Because…Someone I Love Has Cancer: Kids' Activity Book
Edited by Anneke Smith.
Atlanta, Georgia: American Cancer Society, 2003.

This activity book is intended to help children understand their feelings and learn to use their creative skills to cope. Writing and drawing activities for children ages six to twelve.

Breast Cancer: Questions and Answers for Young Women
by Carole G. Vogel
Twenty-First Century Books, 2001.

Provides general information about breast cancer and related issues. Winner of the Joan Fassier Memorial Book Award for excellence in writing about children's health, this book was originally published under the title, Will I Get Breast Cancer? Questions and Answers for Teenage Girls. Includes a list of books for further reading. Ages 12 and up.

Cancer: The Whispered Word
by Judy Harris and Roxanne Brown Kunz
Minneapolis: Dillon, 1986.

Picture book in which a child tells the story of his mother's cancer and her treatment. Questions about contagion and inheritability are addressed. Advice is given regarding cancer prevention. Includes a glossary, an adult resource guide, and activity suggestions. Ages 6-9.

Coping When a Parent Has Cancer
by Linda L. Strauss
New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 1988.

Offers suggestions for dealing with the problems teenagers face when a parent has cancer. Ages 13 and up. This book is no longer in print. To obtain a copy, talk to a librarian at your local library or conduct an-out-of-print search with an online bookseller.

Gentle Willow: A Story for Children About Dying
by Joyce C. Mills
Washington, D.C.: Magination Press, 1993.

In this story, illustrated by Michael Chesworth, Amanda the squirrel calls upon the Tree Wizards of the forest to help Gentle Willow, who is suffering from a mysterious ailment. Amanda experiences emotions common to us all when facing death -- loss, confusion, anger, and finally, hope. Ages 4-8.

The Grieving Teen: A Guide for Teenagers and Their Friends
by Helen Fitzgerald
New York, NY: Fireside, a division of Simon & Schuster, 2000.

The author focuses on the special needs of adolescents, offering clear and concrete help for dealing with a range of difficult emotions and situations, including family changes, issues with friends, and problems at school.

Help for the Hard Times: Getting Through Loss
by Earl Hipp
Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden, 1995.

A self-help book for teenagers that explains loss and offers help for getting through grief and hard times. Ages 12 and up.

The Little Engine That Could
by Watty Piper
New York: Platt & Nunk, Publishers, a division of Grosset & Dunlap, 1930/1976.

A classic picture book that instills optimism and teaches the value of positive self-talk. Ages 4-9.

Lost and Found: A Kid's Book for Living Through Loss
by Marc Gellman and Monsignor Thomas Hartman
New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1999.

The authors explain how loss, of all sorts, can be an opportunity for new wisdom. Ages 8 and up.

Mommy's in the Hospital Again
by Carolyn Stearns Parkinson
Folsom, CA: Solace Publishing, Inc., 1994.

A helpful picture book when families are dealing with recurrent illness. Ages 4-7.

Our Mom Has Cancer
by Abigail and Adrienne Ackermann
Atlanta: American Cancer Society, 2001.

Abigail and Adrienne wrote and illustrated this book to share their personal experience with other children. Ages 5-9.

Sammy's Mommy Has Cancer
by Sherry Kohlenberg
Washington, DC: Magination Press, 1993.

A warm and positive picture book for younger children, supplemented by the author's suggestions for helping children cope. Ages 3-8.

Stick Up For Yourself: Every Kid's Guide to Personal Power and Positive Self-Esteem
by Gershen Kaufman, Ph.D. and Lev Raphael, Ph.D.
Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing, Inc., 1990.

Tells children how to stick up for themselves in positive ways with other kids, older brothers and sisters, and even parents and teachers. Ages 8-12.

What Makes Me Feel This Way? Growing Up with Human Emotions
by Eda LaShan
New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1972.

A wise book about feelings—what they are and how they work—that may be difficult to find outside of libraries. An excellent book for parents and children to read together. Ages 8-18.

When Eric's Mom Fought Cancer
by Judith Vigna
Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman and Company, 1993.

A picture book in which a ski trip with his father helps a young boy who feels angry and afraid when his mother gets sick with breast cancer. Ages 4-7.

When a Parent is Very Sick
by Eda LeShan
Boston: The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986.

Discusses typical feelings and incidents encountered by children when a parent is seriously ill or hurt, as well as ways to deal with such situations. The author gives children permission to feel, and encourages them to talk about their worries and confusion. The conversational style of the adults in the book—matter-of-fact and empathetic—offers a helpful model for parents. This book may be difficult to find outside of libraries. Ages 8-18.

Why Me? Coping with Family Illness
by Anna Kosof
New York: Watts, 1986.

A nonfiction work that explores, through firsthand stories, what it is like to have a serious illness in the family. The stories illustrate different coping mechanisms -- such as overcompensation, intellectualization, and anger -- and how daily routines are changed. Ages 11 and up.

The Year My Mother Was Bald
by Ann Speltz
Illustrated by Kate Sternberg
Washington D.C.: Magination Press, 2003.

Clare's journal and scrapbook the year her mother is diagnosed with cancer and goes through treatment. Clare tells her story and shares her feelings. Young readers will learn to understand the science of cancer and its treatments and will take comfort in knowing that their feelings are normal. Includes a list of resources. Ages 8-13.