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Cancer & Families

Featured Books in this Category / Main Booklist

Featured Books

The Bald-Headed Princess: Cancer, Chemo and Courage. Maribeth Ditmars, $10.95 (novel, ages 8-13)

Isabel learns that having cancer is awful, but it can’t change who she is. With the support of friends and family, along with courage and a fabulous sense of humor, she gets through the scariness and the baldness of cancer and chemo.


Because … Someone I Love Has Cancer: a Kids’ Activity Book. American Cancer Society, $13.95 (ages 6-12)

This activity book is designed to help kids create and find bright moments in the midst of tough circumstances.


Beyond the Rainbow. Marge Eaton Heegaard, $12.95

A workbook for children in the advanced stages of a very serious illness.

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Big Tree is Sick: a Story to Help Children Cope with the Serious Illness of a Loved One. Nathalie Slosse & Rocio Del Moral, $22.95

This beautifully illustrated storybook describes the anger and emotion that many children encounter when a close relative or friend is diagnosed with a long-term illness, such as cancer. The story of Big Tree depicts how things are often out of your control and sets out effective strategies for dealing with these emotions. This story features loveable characters and vivid illustrations, as well as activities for children aged 5+ to complete with their parents or professionals in times of illness and loss.


Brushing Mom's Hair. Andrea Cheng, $24.50 (ages 13+)

This series of tender poems chronicles a young girl's journey through her mother's year of treatment for breast cancer.


The "Can" In Cancer. Julia Cook, $13.95

Eli is a young boy who finds out that he has cancer. Not knowing how to feel, his doctor tells him:

"There is a ‘can’ in cancer, so when your life seems kinda rough, breathe in and out and clear your head and think about better stuff.”

This creatively written book of hope follows Eli’s journey through the eyes of a patient, parents, siblings, teachers, health care providers, and friends.

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Cancer in Our Family: Helping Children Cope with a Parent’s Illness, 2nd Edition. Sue Heiney & Joan Hermann, $21.95

A parent’s cancer diagnosis can be extremely stressful to children, whether they’re toddlers or teenagers. This helpful, calming guide explains how to tell you how to talk to your children and help allay their fears each step of the way.


A Cancer Patient's Guide to Overcoming Depression and Anxiety: Getting Through Treatment and Getting Back to Your Life. Derek Hopko & Carl Lejuez, $24.95

Modern medicine has developed solutions that allow cancer patients to live longer lives, but depression and anxiety often make these years painful and difficult. This book develops the techniques of behavior activation therapy into practical activities people recovering from cancer can use to recognize and overcome problems with depression and anxiety. Successes build on one another, creating a model for ever more positive feelings in the future. Keeping on track is easy with the step-by-step approach offered in the book.


Cancer in Pregnancy and Lactation: the Motherisk Guide. Edited by Gideon Koren & Michael Lishner, $137.95

Cancer in pregnancy presents physicians with a serious and ethical challenge, yet the sources of concise data and guidance for the management of this disease are scarce. The Motherisk program, based at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, is dedicated to addressing this problem. CANCER IN PREGNANCY AND LACTATION: THE MOTHERISK GUIDE tackles this subject by providing evidence-based information needed to address the complex issues of maternal diagnosis, management, treatment, prognosis and long-term impact on the unborn child. Based on the research by members of the international Consortium of Cancer in Pregnancy Evidence (CCoPE) this book provides physicians with the core knowledge required to make sound clinical decisions in the face of sometimes conflicting interests. Co-edited by recognized experts in the field with over 25 years' experience, this comprehensive volume is essential reading for all maternal-fetal medicine physicians, obstetricians, neonatologists, oncologists and pharmacologists.


The Caregiving Wife’s Handbook: Caring for Your Seriously Ill Husband, Caring for Yourself. Diana Denholm, $18.50

When a life partner becomes gravely ill, many women find themselves over the top with stress as their lives change radically. THE CAREGIVING WIFE'S HANDBOOK aims to help women get through their partners' illness and death with compassion, emotionally whole and without regret by helping them communicate clearly—and in steps—about issues affecting this unique caregiving relationship.

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The Chemotherapy Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Get Through Treatment. Judith McKay, $26.95

When you're facing cancer treatment, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and alone. Between the hospital or clinic environment and the medical terminology used by doctors and health care professionals, you may feel as though you've entered a foreign country.

Written by two experienced oncology nurses, this compassionate and comprehensive guide explains everything you need to know about your treatment, including what you can expect at each stage of chemotherapy and what you can do to prevent or minimize side effects. Packed with practical suggestions, nutritional advice, relaxation skills, and other techniques to help strengthen your body and calm your mind, THE CHEMOTHERAPY SURVIVAL GUIDE is a must-have resource for anyone navigating this difficult time.


A Child in Pain: What Health Professionals Can Do to Help. Leora Kuttner, $69.95

This comprehensive book is designed to help child health professionals of all disciplines gain understanding and skill in how to approach and treat children’s pain, and help children understand and cope with their own pain. The book examines children’s fears and anxieties that accompany their need for pain relief, and gives health professionals communications skills and words to calm these fears.


Childhood Cancer: a Parent's Guide to Solid Tumor Cancers, 3rd Edition. Anne Spurgeon & Nancy Keene, $35.95

This comprehensive guide covers neuroblastoma, retinoblastoma, Wilms tumor (and other kidney tumors), hepatoblastoma (and other liver tumors), osteosarcoma (and other bone sarcomas), rhabdomyosarcoma (and other soft tissue sarcomas). It contains essential information that families and friends need during this difficult time, including how to:

  • Understand the diagnosis
  • Get excellent treatment
  • Cope with side effects
  • Find emotional support
  • Identify helpful resources

Woven throughout the text are true stories — practical, poignant, moving, funny — from more than 150 children with solid tumors, their siblings, and their parents.

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Childhood Cancer Survivors: a Practical Guide to Your Future, 3rd Edition. Nancy Keene, Wendy Hobbie & Kathy Ruccione, $31.95

The surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and stem cell transplants used to cure children of cancer can affect growing bodies and developing minds. If survivors know of these potential problems, they can take steps to identify, cope with, or treat them early if they do develop. To make the most of the lives they fought to save, survivors need understandable information. This revised edition of CHILDHOOD CANCER SURVIVORS charts the territory for survivors by providing state-of-the-art information about:

  • Medical late effects from treatment
  • Emotional aspects of surviving cancer
  • Schedules for follow-up care
  • Challenges in the health care system
  • Lifestyle choices to maximize health
  • Discrimination in employment of insurance

CHILDHOOD CANCER SURVIVORS includes extensive resources and a medical record-keeper for tracking medical history.


Children with Cancer: a Comprehensive Reference Guide for Parents. Jeanne Munn Bracken, $27.95

CHILDREN WITH CANCER pulls together a wealth of up-to-date information essential for any layman who wants to help a child or family through this ordeal. The information ranges from sophisticated, hard-to-find medical facts to practical tips on how to handle side effects, deal with curious strangers, and much more. The tone is encouraging yet honest about the problems that must be faced, not only from the diseases but from the treatments too. An appendix explains common medical tests and a glossary defines terms.


The Chronic Pain Care Workbook: a Self-Treatment Approach to Pain Relief Using the Behavioral Assessment of Pain Questionnaire. Michael Lewandowski & Richard Kroening, $40.95

The tools in this book will give you control over your own pain-management process by helping you monitor your responses to pain. Use the assessments to help gauge your levels of physical and emotional pain, sleep habits, and general ability to function throughout the day. Then put the book's practical advice to work to maintain a higher quality of life despite pain. Ultimately, you'll start to achieve higher activity levels and a greater degree of fulfillment. Use these techniques to:

  • Reduce fatigue and boost energy levels
  • Manage medication use wisely
  • Change your thoughts about chronic pain
  • Stop avoiding pleasurable activities
  • Limit emotional pain and suffering
  • Enjoy greater family, social, and intimate engagement

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The Council of Dads: a Story of Family, Friendship & Learning How to Live. Bruce Feiler, $17.50

Bruce Feiler was a young father when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. He instantly worried what his death might mean for his daughters. Three days later he came up with a stirring idea of how he might give them that voice. He would reach out to six men, from all the passages in his life, and asked them to be present through the passages in his daughters’ lives.

The Council of Dads is the inspiring story of what happened next. Mixing the harrowing tale of his treatment with the uplifting lessons of these men — “Approach the Cow,” “Pack Your Flip-Flops,” “Live the Questions,” “Harvest Miracles” — Feiler’s account is touching, funny, and ultimately a deeply moving account of parenthood, loss, and love.


The Emperor of All Maladies: a Biography of Cancer. Siddhartha Mukherjee, $19.99

THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES is a magnificent, profoundly humane "biography" of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence. Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist's precision, a historian's perspective, and a biographer's passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years.

Riveting, urgent, and surprising, THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is an illuminating book that provides hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer.


Everything Changes: the Insider's Guide to Cancer in Your 20s and 30s. Kairol Rosenthal, $18.95

On a shoestring budget and with tape recorder in hand, Kairol Rosenthal emerged from treatment and hit the road in search of other twenty- and thirtysomething cancer survivors. From the Big Apple to the Bible Belt, she dusted the sugar-coating off of the young adult cancer experience, exposing the gritty and compelling stories of twenty-five complete strangers. The men and women in Everything Changes confess their most vulnerable moments, revealing cancer experiences they never told anyone else — everything from what they thought about at night before going to bed to what they wish they could tell their lovers but were too afraid to. With irreverent flare and practical wisdom, Everything Changes includes stories, how-to resources, and expert advice on issues that are important for young adult cancer patients, including:

  • Dating and sex
  • Medical insurance and the healthcare system
  • Faith and spirituality
  • Employment and career
  • Fertility and adoption
  • Friends and family

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Everything's Okay: My Journey Surviving Childhood Cancer. Alesia Shute, illustrated by Nathan Lueth, $15.95 (graphic novel)

When Alesia Shute was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 7, her life was redirected as was that of her entire family. She would go on to survive six major surgeries that had never been tested on a child, several minor surgeries and countless hours of pain and months of hospitalization. Alesia had to grow up quickly and adjust to being sickly and different from others. EVERYTHING IS OKAY is her story of survival that details not only her recovery, but also her struggles through school, adolescence, boys, marriage, and pregnancy, with some hilarious tales of her adult life to boot.


Extreme Parenting: Parenting Your Child with a Chronic Illness. Sharon Dempsey, $27.95

Extreme Parenting is a solid source of support for parents of children with long-term illnesses. The guide is packed with practical advice, models of exploration and lists of action points, and will empower parents to be good advocates for their children. It also provides health professionals with invaluable insights into the demands of living with chronic illness.


Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs and Communications of the Dying. Maggie Callanan & Patricia Kelley, $20.00

In this moving and compassionate book, hospice nurses Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley share their intimate experiences with patients at the end of life, drawn from more than twenty years experience tending the terminally ill. Through their stories, we come to appreciate the near-miraculous ways in which the dying communicate their needs, reveal their feelings, and even choreograph their own final moments; we also discover the gifts — of wisdom, faith, and love — that the dying leave for the living to share.

Filled with practical advice on responding to the requests of the dying and helping them prepare emotionally and spiritually for death, FINAL GIFTS shows how we can help the dying person live fully to the very end.


Give Sorrow Words: Working with Dying Children. Dorothy Judd, $44.95

GIVE SORROW WORDS gives an overview of children’s attitudes toward death and considers the moral and ethical issues raised by treatments for life-threatening illnesses in children. In this new edition, available for the first time in the United States, Dorothy Judd draws on her increasing experiences with dying children and their parents to refine and clarify her work as presented in the earlier edition. This book helps readers to make sense out of the irreconcilable tension of embracing death as a part of life and accepting the death of a child. Through her work with Robert, a young boy dying of acute myeloblastic leukemia, Judd helps readers to see anew the need to reconcile the two tensions and to make the necessary decisions for medical care.

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The Goldfish Went on Vacation: a Memoir of Loss (and Learning to Tell the Truth About It). Patty Dann, $22.99

The moment when Patty Dann's husband was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, she felt as though the ground had dropped beneath her. Her grief, however, was immediately interrupted by the realization that she would have to tell their three-year-old son Jake that his father was dying. The prognosis gave her husband just a year to live. In that short time, the three of them — Patty, Willem, and Jake — would have to find a way to live with the illness and prepare for his death.

As much about exploring memory as it is about appreciating the moment, this captivating narrative will serve as a genuine comfort for anyone surprised by grief.


Good Luck Mrs. K! Louise Borden, illustrated by Adam Gustavson, $12.99 (ages 6-10)

Mrs. K’s grade three class works hard to make her proud while she is away on sick leave with cancer.


The Goodbye Cancer Garden. Janna Matthies & Kristi Valiant, $22.95 (ages 4-6)

When cancer comes calling, Janie and her family grow hope in a very special garden.

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Healing a Friend or Loved One’s Grieving Heart After a Cancer Diagnosis: 100 Practical Ideas for Providing Compassion, Comfort, and Care. Alan Wolfelt & Kirby Duvall, $13.99

When someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, it’s hard to know what to do. What should you say? What shouldn’t you say? How can you help? This book by beloved grief counselor and cancer survivor Dr. Alan Wolfelt and co-author Dr. Kirby Duvall will help you understand the normal and natural grief your friend is experiencing.


Healing Images for Children: Teaching Relaxation and Guided Imagery to Children Facing Cancer and Other Serious Illnesses. Nancy Klein, $37.95

Muscle relaxation, calm breathing, visual imagery, stories, music, humor, and positive affirmations are techniques that enhance a child’s healing process. This book helps children with serious illnesses overcome the associated stresses of being sick by focusing on the connection between the mind and the body. It also offers parents and caretakers encouragement to face the emotional challenges of their child's illness. Medical scenarios and vocabulary are explained for kids to help them better understand what is happening. Ideas for meeting doctors, easing hospital visits, coping with pain and nausea, taking medications, and building fun and friendship into recuperation will help children and parents through difficult times.


Healing Your Grieving Heart After a Cancer Diagnosis: 100 Practical Ideas for Coping, Surviving, and Thriving. Alan Wolfelt & Kirby Duvall, $12.99

Being diagnosed with cancer is a major blow — physically, emotionally, socially, cognitively, and spiritually. All aspects of your self are under assault at the same time. And no matter the type or stage of cancer, the treatment plan, or the prognosis, your new and frightening grief can rattle you to your core. This book by beloved grief counselor and cancer survivor Dr. Alan Wolfelt and co-author Dr. Kirby Duvall will help you understand and cope with your many difficult thoughts and feelings and find ways to experience peace and joy in the journey.

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Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer: a Guide for Parents and Families, 2nd Edition. Peter Van Drenoot, $19.95

Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer provides comfort and advice for families confronted wiht a diagnosis of cancer.


How to Help Children through a Parent's Serious Illness: Supportive, Practical Advice from a Leading Child Life Specialist, Revised Edition. Kathleen McCue, $26.99

HOW TO HELP CHILDREN THROUGH A PARENT'S SERIOUS ILLNESS has become the standard work on an important subject.  Fully revised and updated, it is the 'go-to book' for supportive, practical advice.

This new edition also explores the major issues and developments from the last decade that affect children today, including the dangers and opportunities of the Internet, a deeper understanding of how hereditary diseases affect children, the impact of the nation's explosive growth in single-parent families, and new insights into how family trauma and a parent's mental illness may affect children.


I Am Not My Breast Cancer. Ruth Peltason, $19.99

I Am Not My Breast Cancer offers women the companionship of other women dealing with this disease. Ruth Peltason, who has twice undergone treatment for breast cancer, has woven their stories together while maintaining the authenticity of their voices. These are ordinary women dealing with this cancer and its many ramifications. They range in age from their early twenties to their late seventies. They are the collective face of breast cancer today. Their comments are moving, sometimes funny, always honest. They speak out on every topic, from lovemaking and intimacy to losing their hair, from juggling the day-to-day realities of being a patient, mother, wife, and co-worker to the overwhelming worries about their own mortality. Remarkably, they emerge with grace and optimism and a determination not to be defined by disease.

Taking the reader chronologically through the stages of diagnosis, treatment, recovery, and self-discovery, I Am Not My Breast Cancer offers women a deeper understanding of themselves and living with cancer.

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I’m Not Her. Janet Gurder, $18.50 (novel, 14 +)

Tess is the exact opposite of her beautiful, athletic sister. Kristina is the sporty one, Tess is the smart one and that’s okay — they each have their own place. Until Kristina is diagnosed with cancer — and her picture-perfect family starts cracking.

Now Tess has to fill a new role: the strong one. Because if she doesn’t hold it together, who will?


Imagine a Rainbow: a Child's Guide for Soothing Pain. Brenda Miles, Illustrated by Nicole Wong, $13.95

When a child is in pain, imagining scenes that are soothing or uplifting may help reduce the discomfort. Imagine a Rainbow is a beautiful tool for introducing children to the idea of using their imaginations to cope with pain, whether by itself or as part of a more comprehensive pain management plan.

The book also includes an extensive Note to Parents that explains the techniques of imagery and deep breathing, and how to help children use them.


Jon's Tricky Journey: a Story for Inuit Children with Cancer and Their Families. Patricia McCarthy, $19.95 (ages 5-7) Bilingual Inuktitut and English

Jon loves his life in the North. But when he feels a pain that won’t go away, he must go to a children’s hospital in the south to find out what is wrong. A doctor there tells Jon he has cancer and will have to stay at the hospital for a while. Suddenly Jon’s life is upside down! But with a handful of tricks from the doctors and nurses, and new friends, Jon discovers ways to cope with some of the tricky parts of having cancer.

Accompanied by a resource guide for parents and caregivers, including hospital and support information, Jon’s Tricky Journey opens a conversation between Inuit children facing a cancer diagnosis and their families to help make a difficult and confusing time more manageable.


Just Don’t Fall. Josh Sundquist, $20.00

A hilariously true story of childhood cancer, amputation, romantic yearning, truth and Olympic greatness.

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Leaves Falling Gently: Living Fully with Serious & Life-Limiting Illness through Mindfulness, Compassion & Connectedness. Susan Bauer-Wu, $23.95

A life-limiting illness may have taken hold of your body, but you can still live more fully and openly than ever before. You can enrich your life by exploring ways to make peace with yourself and deepen connections with friends and family. This book will help you reap the benefits of mindfulness and acceptance, one day at a time.

LEAVES FALLING GENTLY is a comforting guide to the mindfulness and compassion practices that will help you embrace the present moment, despite your illness. With each simple practice, you’ll deepen your appreciation for the experiences that bring you joy and enhance your capacity for gratitude, generosity, and love. As you work through each personal reflection and guided meditation, you’ll regain the strength to live fully, regardless of the changes and challenges that come.


Let My Colors Out. Courtney Filigenzi, illustrated by Shennen Bersani, $12.95 (ages 4-8)

A young boy uses color to express a range of emotions as his mother undergoes cancer treatment.


Living Well with My Serious Illness. Marge Eaton Heegaard, $12.95

With the creative and interactive drawing activities in this book, kids can learn to better understand their illness and develop healthy coping skills. An Art Therapist, author Marge Eaton Heegaard offers an honest, gentle way to help children regain a sense of power and to express difficult feelings more effectively.

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Living with Cancer: the Ultimate Teen Guide. Denise Thornton, $44.00  

Cancer hits hard at any age, but it is especially challenging for teens who must battle their disease while negotiating the tricky terrain of adolescence. This book explores the range of challenges cancer places on both teens who have cancer and teens who have friends or family members with cancer. Denise Thornton follows cancer's devastating path through a teen's life from diagnosis to treatment and survivorship, with special attention to how cancer can affect relations with friends and family, and its impact on school life. Each chapter takes advantage of expert knowledge and new information that is continually coming to light, but the bulk of the book is made up of narratives shared by teens whose lives have been changed by cancer. This book will prove immensely useful for teens who are facing cancer, as well as people who want to understand and support them.


The Long and the Short of It: a Tale about Hair. Barbara Meyers & Lydia Criss Mays, $16.95

This is the story of two little girls, Isabel and Emma, and their hair — which sometimes was long and sometimes was short and sometimes was not!


Looking Good Was Never My Problem: Steps for Living with Metastatic Cancers or Other Chronic Illnesses. Ellen Stahl, $15.95

Practical, simple steps to learning how to live, when illness takes over your life.

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Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery: A Step-by-Step MBSR Approach to Help You Cope with Treatment and Reclaim Your Life.  Linda Carlson, Michael Speca & Zindel Segal, $29.95

If you have received a cancer diagnosis, you know that the hundreds of questions and concerns you have about what's to come can be as stressful as the cancer treatment itself. Research shows that if you mentally prepare yourself to handle cancer treatment by getting stress and anxiety under control, you can improve your quality of life and become an active participant in your own recovery.

Created by leading psychologists specializing in oncology, the MINDFULNESS-BASED CANCER RECOVERY program is based on mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a therapeutic combination of mindfulness meditation and gentle yoga now offered to cancer survivors and their loved ones in hundreds of medical centers, hospitals, and clinics worldwide. Let this book be your guide as you let go of fear and focus on getting well.


The Mindfulness Solution to Pain. Jackie Gardner-Nix & Lucie Costin-Hall, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, $26.95

In The Mindfulness Solution to Pain, the authors modify Jon Kabat-Zinn's original mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) program to create a new program they call mindfulness based chronic pain management (MBCPM). This book provides a clear, breakdown of the MBCPM program, in which readers are introduced to the concepts of mindfulness and meditation.

From the outset, the authors explain why the mind is so important in managing pain. Initial chapters introduce the readers to how the mind processes pain, the role of life experiences, genetics, the physiology of their fight and flight responses, and the role of chronic responses in impairing healing, sleep, and other important bodily functions. The rationale for working with the mind in addition to, or instead of, the other standard interventions, is emphasized. In all, regular practice of these techniques offers a good chance of quality-of-life improvement for chronic pain sufferers.


Mom and the Polka-Dot Boo-Boo: a Gentle Story Explaining Breast Cancer to a Young Child. Eileen Sutherland, illustrated by Maggie Sutherland, $17.95

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Mom Has Cancer! Jennifer Moore-Mallinos, illustrated by Marta Fàbrega, $8.99

Learning that a parent has cancer can be a frightening experience for a child. This book encourages parents to be open and straightforward with their children about the diagnoses. It also helps children work through their anxieties and the changes that come with family illness.


Multifaith Care for Sick and Dying Children and their Families: a Multidisciplinary Guide. Paul Nash, Madeleine Parkes & Zamir Hussain, $29.95

Drawing on extensive, evidence-based research and practice, this practical resource addresses the multi-faith needs of sick and dying children and young people in hospitals and the wider community. Covering Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and Buddhism, it provides the key information needed to help multi-disciplinary healthcare staff offer the best, culturally-appropriate care to sick children and their families. The book discusses daily, palliative, end of life and bereavement care in a range of settings, including hospitals, hospices, schools and home. The information provided covers those aspects of the religions discussed that are essential for healthcare staff to understand, including modesty and hygiene, taboos, food and prohibited products, age-related issues, sacred objects, visitors, and the expectations of the family. It includes important information on the issues of disability and mental health in each faith as well as addressing the significance within different faith traditions of the transitions from childhood to adolescence to adulthood.

A comprehensive resource, this book will be of immeasurable value to multi-disciplinary healthcare professionals including doctors, nurses, bereavement support and palliative care workers, carers, counsellors, chaplains and arts therapists.


My Life By Me: a Kid's Forever Book. Beth Barber, $20.95 (ages 7-12)

This is a book for you. Not one you read, but one you create. Every page is a page to tell your story — who you are, where you came from and what you're thinking. It can help you work through questions about your illness and understand your thoughts, feelings and experiences.

For parents and caregivers, a comprehensive guide is available online that includes additional information on child development, grief and facilitating difficult conversations and open communication for terminally ill children and their families.

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My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks: Real-Life Advice from Real-Life Teens. Maya Silver & Marc Silver, $24.99

Currently one million American teenagers live with a parent who is fighting cancer. It’s a hard blow for those already navigating high school, preparing for college, and becoming increasingly independent. My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks is the first book written especially for teens to help during this tough time. Author Maya Silver was 15 when her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She and her dad, Marc, have combined their family’s personal experience with advice from dozens of medical professionals and real stories from 100 teens, all going through the same thing Maya did. In a highly designed, engaging style, this book gives practical guidance that includes:

  • how to talk about the diagnosis (and what does diagnosis even mean, anyway?)
  • the best outlets for stress (punching a wall is not a great one, but should it happen, there are instructions for a patch job)
  • how to deal with friends (especially one the ones with ‘pity eyes’)
  • whether to tell the teachers and guidance counselors and what they should know (how not to get embarrassed in class)
  • what happens in a therapy session and how to find a support group if you want one

A special section for parents also gives tips on strategies for sharing the news, making sure your child doesn’t become the parent, what to do if the outlook is grim, and tips for how to live life after cancer.

My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks allows teens to see that they are not alone. That no matter how rough things get, they will get through this difficult time. That everything they’re feeling is ok.


Nana, What's Cancer? B. Hyman Fead & T. Hamermesh, $16.95 (ages 8-12)

Tessa is a 10-year-old girl who wants to understand the confusing world of cancer and then to be able to explain it to other children. She embarks on her quest by asking questions of her Nana, whose answers are designed to both ease children’s fears and provide them with factual information.


Nowhere Hair. Sue Glader, illustrated by Edith Buenen, $17.95

This bright and sympathetic book explains cancer and chemo to young children, with honesty, whimsy, and heart.

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Our Mom Has Cancer. Abigail and Adrienne Ackermann, $9.95 (ages 5-8)

An honest, and hopeful account of the year that Abigail and Adrienne's mother underwent treatment for breast cancer.


Our Mom Is Getting Better. Alex, Emily & Anna Rose Silver, $16.95 (ages 4-8)

This very personal book is about family healing after a parent's treatment for cancer. Written and illustrated by three children whose mother is a cancer survivor.


A Parent’s Guide to Raising Grieving Children: Rebuilding Your Family after the Death of a Loved One. Phyllis Silverman & Madelyn Kelly, $16.95

A comprehensive, thoughtful and commonsense book, A Parent’s Guide to Raising Grieving Children offers a wealth of solace, sound advice and hope.

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Partners in Healing: Simple Ways to Offer Support, Comfort and Care to a Loved One Facing Illness. William Collinge, $18.95

This book offers a new sense of empowerment for the intimate partners of people living with serious health problems. Collinge draws on cutting-edge scientific research along with his experience counseling couples facing serious illness to offer a range of insights, strategies, and techniques that caregivers can utilize to promote their partners’ physical and emotional well-being—while also promoting their own.


Preparing the Children: Information and Ideas for Families Facing Serious Illness and Death. KathyNussbaum, $16.95

Most children cope much better with painful experiences if they are given honest information and preparation rather than protection from the pain. PREPARING THE CHILDREN offers practical and straightforward advice on understanding and anticipating children’s needs when a loved one is dying. Compassionate, honest, and insightful, this easy-to-read guide will be useful for families and professionals.


Promoting Psychological Well-Being in Children with Acute and Chronic Illness. Melinda Edwards & Penny Titman, $34.95

Living with a chronic illness can have a significant psychological impact on a child and his or her family, and it is essential that this aspect of their care is not overlooked.

Promoting Psychological Well-Being in Children with Acute and Chronic Illness provides a comprehensive guide to promoting the psychological well-being of children with chronic illnesses and medical conditions, covering support within health, social services and education. It discusses issues such as the impact of diagnosis and the experiences of children and their families in managing their medical condition and treatment. Strategies to support children and help them to cope with medical conditions are demonstrated, including cognitive behavioural and systemic approaches, and techniques such as relaxation and motivational interviewing. Case examples from clinical practice are given to illustrate the application of psychological ideas and frameworks to a variety of medical conditions and psychological difficulties. The book also includes a comprehensive resources section of where to look for further information.

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Saying Goodbye: a Guide to Coping with a Loved One's Terminal Illness. Barbara Okun & Joseph Nowinski, $18.50

When someone you love receives a terminal diagnosis, the whole family is suddenly faced with a prolonged crisis. While medical advances have given us the gift of extending life, meaning that a loved one could survive months or even years before dying, it has also changed the way we grieve. Published in collaboration with Harvard Health Publications, SAYING GOODBYE guides you through this complex journey, offering hope and healing for those who may be "living with death" for an extended period of time.


Taking Cancer to School. Cynthia Henry & Kim Gosselin, $14.95 (ages 4-10)

This is the story of Max, a kid living with cancer. When read aloud, other children can start to identify why a peer with cancer may be treated differently and begin to empathize with the peer. In addition, children with cancer or children who have conditions that set them apart as being different begin to feel accepted and safe. Book includes a Kid Quiz to reinforce new information and Ten Tips for Teachers to provide additional facts and ideas for teacher use.


Talking with My Treehouse Friends about Cancer: an Activity Book for Children of Parents with Cancer. Peter van Deroot, illustrated by Gail Kohler Opsahl, $15.95 (ages 6 to 9)

Parents with cancer often need help talking with children about the illness. This activity book offers age-appropriate ways to help with their children’s needs.


A Tiny Boat at Sea. Izetta Smith, $10.95

How to help children who have a parent diagnosed with cancer.

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We Get It: Voices of Grieving College Students and Young Adults. Heather Servaty-Seib & David Fajgenbaum, $29.95

Grieving the death of a loved one is difficult at any age, but it can be particularly difficult during college and young adulthood. From developing a sense of identity to living away from family and adjusting to life on and off campus, college students and young adults face a unique set of issues. These issues often make it difficult for young adults to talk about their loss, leading to a sense of isolation, different-ness and a pressure to pretend that everything is OK.

The narratives included in this book are honest, engaging and heartfelt, and they help other students and young people know that they are not alone and that there are others who 'get' what they are going through. The narratives are usefully divided by themes, such as isolation, forced maturity and life transition challenges, and include commentary by the authors on grief responses and coping strategies. Each section also ends with helpful questions for reflection.


What Every Child Needs to Know about Cancer. Bradley Snyder & Marc Engelsgjerd, $13.50

There is nothing good about cancer. It is frightening, disrupts lives, and affects nearly all members of our society. With honesty, integrity, and simplicity, What Every Child Needs To Know About Cancer explains this disease to young children, helping them to understand the modern world and, more importantly, the adults in their lives. Written by two dads — a child expert and an M.D. and noted oncology analyst — What Every Child Needs To Know About Cancer is the book for any child whose life has been disrupted by the disease.


When Breath Becomes Air. Paul Kalanithi, Foreword by Abraham Verghese, $33.00

At the age of 36, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

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When I’m Gone: Practical Notes for Those You Leave Behind. Kathleen Fraser, $19.95

A fill-in book and resource manual to help family members better handle the details of life when someone dies or has to be away from home for extended periods of time. Includes space to give contact information, location of key documents, wills and living wills, medical records, child and pet care instructions, finances and property, home and vehicle maintenance, computer passwords and special notations.


When a Parent Has Cancer: a Guide to Caring for Your Children. Wendy Schlessel Harpham, $21.00

At some point in our lives, many of us will face the crisis of an unexpected illness. For parents, the fear, anxiety, and confusion resulting from a cancer diagnosis can be particularly devastating. How can you care responsibly for a child when you are in special need of care? How can life go on — for everyone in the family — when you are faced with months, even years, of treatment? When a Parent Has Cancer is a book for families written from the heart of experience. A mother, physician, and cancer survivor, Dr. Wendy Harpham offers clear, direct, and sympathetic advice for parents challenged with the task of raising normal, healthy children while they struggle with a potentially life-threatening disease. Also included is Becky and the Worry Cup, an illustrated children's book that tells the story of a seven-year-old girl's experiences with her mother's cancer. Together, these books provide a plan of action for you and your children to live meaningfully and well when life is at its most uncertain.


Where's Mom's Hair: a Family's Journey through Cancer. Debbie Watters, photographs by Sophie Hogan, $14.95 (ages 4-10)

Where's Mom's Hair is a touching real-life story about cancer treatment told from the perspective of the patient's family, in particular her two sons ages 8 and 9. Touching and humorous black-and-white photographs follow Mom (Debbie) as she and her family go through each step of fighting cancer — including a huge hair-shaving party. This personal journey highlights the kinds of questions children have when a loved one gets cancer in a way that provides clear and non-frightening answers. A perfect book to help parents, family, friends, teachers, counsellors and all adults assist children in understanding what is happening during treatments.

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The Whole-Body Workbook for Cancer: a Complete Integrative Program for Increasing Immunity and Rebuilding Health. Dan Kenner, $30.95

Written by a health care researcher with a background in Western naturopathic medicine and traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine, this book offers sound methods for supporting your body with proven cancer-fighting foods and supplements and creating a lifestyle that assists in the healing process, including:

  • Techniques for using positive thinking for quality of life and survival
  • How to make lifestyle changes you can live with
  • Proven strategies for emotional healing

The Whole-Food Guide for Breast Cancer Survivors: a Nutritional Approach to Preventing Recurrence. Edward Bauman & Helayne Waldman, $26.95

Millions of breast cancer survivors have two things in common: a renewed gratitude for their good health and a recharged commitment to taking care of their bodies. THE WHOLE-FOOD GUIDE FOR BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS is an integrative, whole foods guide to rebuilding health after surviving breast cancer and reducing the chance of breast cancer reoccurrence. Using holistic health and nutrition leader Edward Bauman's Eating for Health model, readers learn to eat for pleasure, eat for energy, eat for recovery, and eat for health in order to enjoy stronger, healthier bodies.


Your Child in the Hospital: a Practical Guide for Parents. Nancy Keene, $17.95

No parent likes to think about their child having to go to the hospital. But it happens––more than 3 million children are hospitalized each year in the United States. Whether a child needs stitches, outpatient surgery, or a long stay in the hospital, Your Child in the Hospital describes how parents can make the most of the facilities, liven up the atmosphere, and even have some fun. It explains how to:

  • Prepare your child
  • Cope with procedures
  • Plan for surgery
  • Communicate with doctors
  • Deal with bills and insurance

It is also full of sensible tips as well as suggestions about what to pack, helpful books to read beforehand, and even how to get free plane rides for specialty care. Woven throughout the text are dozens of practical and encouraging stories from parents of hospitalized children. When you are packing the stuffed animals and pajamas to take to the hospital, make sure to take this book with you!

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Complete Booklist

Childhood/Adolescent Cancer

A Child in Pain: What Health Professionals Can Do to Help. Leora Kuttner, $69.95

Childhood Cancer: a Parent's Guide to Solid Tumor Cancers, 3rd Edition. Anne Spurgeon & Nancy Keene, $35.95

Childhood Cancer Survivors: a Practical Guide to Your Future, 3rd Edition. Nancy Keene, Wendy Hobbie & Kathy Ruccione, $31.95

Children with Cancer: a Comprehensive Reference Guide for Parents. Jeanne Munn Bracken, $27.95

Extreme Parenting: Parenting Your Child with a Chronic Illness. Sharon Dempsey, $31.95

Give Sorrow Words: Working with Dying Children. Dorothy Judd, $44.95

Healing Images for Children: Teaching Relaxation and Guided Imagery to Children Facing Cancer and Other Serious Illnesses. Nancy Klein, $37.95

Living with Cancer: the Ultimate Teen Guide. Denise Thornton, $44.00  

Living With Childhood Cancer: a Practical Guide to Help Families Cope. Woznick & Goodheart, $27.95

Multifaith Care for Sick and Dying Children and their Families: a Multidisciplinary Guide. Paul Nash, Madeleine Parkes & Zamir Hussain, $29.95

Promoting Psychological Well-Being in Children with Acute and Chronic Illness. Melinda Edwards & Penny Titman, $34.95

Your Child in the Hospital: a Practical Guide for Parents. Nancy Keene, $17.95

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Adults Affected by Cancer

A Cancer Patient's Guide to Overcoming Depression and Anxiety: Getting Through Treatment and Getting Back to Your Life. Derek Hopko & Carl Lejuez, $24.95

Cancer in Pregnancy and Lactation: the Motherisk Guide. Edited by Gideon Koren & Michael Lishner, $137.95

The Caregiving Wife’s Handbook: Caring for Your Seriously Ill Husband, Caring for Yourself. Diana Denholm, $18.50

The Chemotherapy Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Get Through Treatment. Judith McKay, $26.95

The Chronic Pain Care Workbook: a Self-Treatment Approach to Pain Relief Using the Behavioral Assessment of Pain Questionnaire. Michael Lewandowski & Richard Kroening, $40.95

Everything Changes: the Insider's Guide to Cancer in Your 20s and 30s. Kairol Rosenthal, $18.95

The Emperor of All Maladies: a Biography of Cancer. Siddhartha Mukherjee, $19.99

Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs and Communications of the Dying. Maggie Callanan & Patricia Kelley, $20.00

Healing a Friend or Loved One’s Grieving Heart After a Cancer Diagnosis: 100 Practical Ideas for Providing Compassion, Comfort, and Care. Alan Wolfelt & Kirby Duvall, $13.99

Healing Your Grieving Heart After a Cancer Diagnosis: 100 Practical Ideas for Coping, Surviving, and Thriving. Alan Wolfelt & Kirby Duvall, $12.99

I Am Not My Breast Cancer. Ruth Peltason, $19.99

Just Don't Fall. Josh Sundquist, $20.00

Leaves Falling Gently: Living Fully with Serious & Life-Limiting Illness through Mindfulness, Compassion & Connectedness. Susan Bauer-Wu, $23.95

Looking Good Was Never My Problem: Steps for Living with Metastatic Cancers or Other Chronic Illnesses. Ellen Stahl, $15.95

Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery: A Step-by-Step MBSR Approach to Help You Cope with Treatment and Reclaim Your Life.  Linda Carlson, Michael Speca & Zindel Segal, $29.95

The Mindfulness Solution to Pain. Jackie Gardner-Nix & Lucie Costin-Hall, $26.95

Partners in Healing: Simple Ways to Offer Support, Comfort and Care to a Loved One Facing Illness. William Collinge, $18.95

Saying Goodbye: a Guide to Coping with a Loved One's Terminal Illness. Barbara Okun & Joseph Nowinski, $18.50

When Breath Becomes Air. Paul Kalanithi, Foreword by Abraham Verghese, $33.00

When I'm Gone: Practical Notes for Those You Leave Behind. Kathleen Fraser, $19.95

The Whole-Body Workbook for Cancer: a Complete Integrative Program for Increasing Immunity and Rebuilding Health. Dan Kenner, $30.95

The Whole-Food Guide for Breast Cancer Survivors: a Nutritional Approach to Preventing Recurrence. Edward Bauman & Helayne Waldman, $26.95

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Parents with Cancer

Cancer in Our Family: Helping Children Cope with a Parent’s Illness, 2nd Edition. Sue Heiney & Joan Hermann, $21.95

The Council of Dads: a Story of Family, Friendship & Learning How to Live. Bruce Feiler, $17.50

The Goldfish Went on Vacation: a Memoir of Loss (and Learning to Tell the Truth About It). Patty Dann, $22.99

Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer: a Guide for Parents and Families. Peter Van Drenoot, $19.95

How to Help Children through a Parent's Serious Illness: Supportive, Practical Advice from a Leading Child Life Specialist, Revised Edition. Kathleen McCue, $26.99

A Parent's Guide to Raising Grieving Children: Rebuilding Your Family after the Death of a Loved One. Phyllis Silverman & Madelyn Kelly, $16.95

Preparing the Children: Information and Ideas for Families Facing Serious Illness and Death. Kathy Nussbaum, $16.95

A Tiny Boat at Sea. Izetta Smith, $10.95

When a Parent Has Cancer: a Guide to Caring for Your Children. Wendy Schlessel Harpham, $21.00

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Resources for Children & Teens Affected by Cancer

The Bald-Headed Princess: Cancer, Chemo and Courage. Maribeth Ditmars, $10.95 (novel, ages 8-13)

Because Someone I Love Has Cancer: a Kids' Activity Book. American Cancer Society, $13.95 (ages 6-12)

Beyond the Rainbow. Marge Eaton Heegaard, $12.95

Big Tree is Sick: a Story to Help Children Cope with the Serious Illness of a Loved One. Nathalie Slosse & Rocio Del Moral, $22.95

Brushing Mom's Hair. Andrea Cheng, $24.50 (ages 13+)

The "Can" In Cancer. Julia Cook, $13.95

Everything's Okay: My Journey Surviving Childhood Cancer. Alesia Shute, illustrated by Nathan Lueth, $15.95 (graphic novel, 13+)

Good Luck Mrs. K! Louise Borden, illustrated by Adam Gustavson, $12.99 (ages 6-10)

The Goodbye Cancer Garden. Janna Matthies & Kristi Valiant, $22.95 (ages 4-6)

I'm Not Her. Janet Gurder, $18.50 (novel, 14+)

Imagine a Rainbow: a Child's Guide for Soothing Pain. Brenda S. Miles, Illustrated by Nicole Wong, $13.95 (ages 4-8)

Jon's Tricky Journey: a Story for Inuit Children with Cancer and Their Families. Patricia McCarthy, $19.95 (ages 5-7) Bilingual Inuktitut and English

Let My Colors Out. Courtney Filigenzi, illustrated by Shennen Bersani, $12.95 (ages 4-8)

Living Well with My Serious Illness. Marge Eaton Heegaard, $12.95

The Long and the Short of It: a Tale about Hair. Barbara Meyers & Lydia Criss Mays, $16.95

Mom and the Polka-Dot Boo-Boo: a Gentle Story Explaining Breast Cancer to a Young Child. Eileen Sutherland, illustrated by Maggie Sutherland, $16.95

Mom Has Cancer! Jennifer Moore-Mallinos, illustrated by Marta Fàbrega, $8.99 (ages 3-6)

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My Life By Me: a Kid's Forever Book. Beth Barber, $20.95 (ages 7-12)

My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks: Real-Life Advice from Real-Life Teens. Maya Silver & Marc Silver, $24.99

Nana, What's Cancer? B. Hyman Fead & T. Hamermesh, $16.95 (ages 8-12)

Nowhere Hair. Sue Glader, illustrated by Edith Buenen, $17.95

Our Mom Has Cancer. Abigail and Adrienne Ackermann, $9.95 (ages 5-8)

Our Mom Is Getting Better. Alex, Emily & Anna Rose Silver, $16.95 (ages 4-8)

Taking Cancer to School. Cynthia Henry & Kim Gosselin, $14.95 (ages 4-10)

Talking with My Treehouse Friends about Cancer: an Activity Book for Children of Parents with Cancer. Peter van Deroot, illustrated by Gail Kohler Opsahl, $15.95 (ages 6 to 9)

We Get It: Voices of Grieving College Students and Young Adults. Heather Servaty-Seib & David Fajgenbaum, $29.95

What Every Child Needs to Know about Cancer. Bradley Snyder & Marc Engelsgjerd, $13.50

When Someone You Love has Cancer: a Guide to Help Kids Cope. Alaric Lewis, $9.95 (ages 5-10)

Where's Mom's Hair: a Family's Journey through Cancer. Debbie Watters, photographs by Sophie Hogan, $14.95 (ages 4-10)

The Year My Mother Was Bald. Ann Speltz. $12.95 (ages 8-15)

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