This is the "Children's Books About a Parent's Cancer" page of the "Talking to Children About Cancer" guide.
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Talking to Children About Cancer  

A bibliography for parents who want to share their cancer diagnosis with children.
Last Updated: Sep 21, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Children's Books About a Parent's Cancer Print Page

Children's Books About a Parent's Cancer

These books are available for checkout from the Patient Education Resource Center (PERC) on Floor B2 of the Cancer Center.

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A New Hat for Mommy - Hannah Perry
ISBN: 1419613138
Publication Date: 2005-11-17
This book is about a young girl whose mother has cancer. It asks questions along the way to encourage children to talk about their feelings in a relaxed manner.

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Can I Catch Cancer? - Brittany's Books (Characters created by); Cristine Thomas (Editor-In-Chief, Artist, Cover Design by, Illustrator, Created by)
ISBN: 0977879690
Publication Date: 2007-08-01
This book explains cancer in terms and illustrations a child can relate to. Gently and playfully guides the reader through the process of a cell to a tumor.

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Chemo Cat - Cathy Nilon
Call Number: FE 654 N712 2007
ISBN: 9780979192142
Publication Date: 2007-10-01
A picture book for ages 3-6 about a young child whose mother is going through cancer treatment and chemotherapy. Issues include the shock of diagnosis, hair loss, relationships with peers and wondering where the cancer came from.

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Grandma Kathy Has Cancer - Colleen Buckley; Kim Sponaugle (Illustrator)
Call Number: FE 654 B932 2007
ISBN: 9781598584226
Publication Date: 2007-09-01
Worldcat: "A picture book for children that draws upon real life episodes between a grandmother who has cancer and her granddaughter."

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Let My Colors Out - Courtney Filigenzi ; Shennen Bersani (Illustrator)
Call Number: FE 654 F478 2009
ISBN: 9781604430110
Publication Date: 2009-07-01
Worldcat: "A young boy uses color to express a range of emotions as his mother undergoes cancer treatment."

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Mom and the Polka-Dot Boo-Boo - Eileen Sutherland (Illustrator); Maggie Sutherland (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0944235875
Publication Date: 2007-07-01
This book helps families talk about breast cancer, gently preparing children for what lies ahead following their mother's diagnosis.

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Mom Has Cancer! - Jennifer Moore-Mallinos; Marta Fabrega (Illustrator); Nuria Roca
ISBN: 0764140744
Publication Date: 2008-10-01
this book focuses on a young boy's anxiety prior to learning his mother's cancer diagnosis and his ability to adapt once provided with honest information and reassurance.

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Mommy's in the Hospital Again - Carolyn S. Parkinson; Elaine Verstraete (Illustrator)
Call Number: FE 654 P247 1996
ISBN: 0963028715
Publication Date: 1996-07-01
A book for children ages 4-8 about coping with a mother's hospitalization during a serious illness.

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Moms Don't Get Sick - Pat Brack; Ben Brack (Illustrator)
Call Number: FE 654 B796 1990
ISBN: 0937603074
Publication Date: 1990-08-01
Library Journal: "This slim volume tells the story of a mother's fight against breast cancer from both her point of view and that of her (then) 10-year-old son. In alternating narratives, Pat and son Ben discuss their feelings about her mortality, her struggle through surgery, and all the times in between. Their ups and downs, their reaching out and withdrawal, and their happiness and despair are all described. This is a valuable book because it can help the reader see the real-life struggle to survive from a family perspective."

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Nowhere Hair - Sue Glader; Edith Buenen (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0984359133
Publication Date: 2013-03-01
This book helps children understand chemotherapy and how cancer and hair loss are not their fault.

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Once upon a Hopeful Night - Risa Sacks Yaffe; Troy Cramer (Illustrator)
Call Number: FE 654 Y12 1998
ISBN: 1890504106
Publication Date: 1998-11-01
Worldcat: "A story parents can use to break the news to their children about cancer."

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Our Dad Is Getting Better - Emily Silver; Anna Rose Silver; Alex Silver
Call Number: FE 654 S52 2007
ISBN: 9780944235867
Publication Date: 2007-06-01
Worldcat: "This book focuses on what children need to hear when treatment ends-a message of hope and healing."

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Our Family Has Cancer, Too! - Christine Clifford; Jack Lindstrom (Illustrator)
Call Number: FE 654 C637 1998
ISBN: 1570251444
Publication Date: 1997-09-01
Worldcat: "When their mother is diagnosed with cancer, sixth grader Tim and his younger brother visit her in the hospital, learn about radiation and chemotherapy, and help with the chores at home."

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Our Mom Is Getting Better - Alex Silver; Emily Silver; Anna Rose Silver
Call Number: FE 654 S525 2007
ISBN: 9780944235850
Publication Date: 2007-06-01
Worldcat: "As their mother recovers from cancer, her children celebrate the milestones their family has reached and reflect on the different ways their mother's illness, treatment, and recovery impacted their lives."

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Punk Wig - Lori Ries; Eitter Kono Erin
Call Number: FE 654 R54 2008
ISBN: 9781590784860
Publication Date: 2008-02-01
Worldcat: "When a mother loses her hair during chemotherapy, a son gives her constant support as he helps her choose a wig."

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Raising an Emotionally Healthy Child When a Parent Is Sick - Paula K. Rauch; Anna C. Muriel
ISBN: 0071446818
Publication Date: 2006-01-11
Covers how you can address children's concerns when a parent is seriously ill.

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The Hope Tree - Laura Joffe Numeroff; Wendy S. Harpham; David M. McPhail (Illustrator)
Call Number: FE 654 N971 1999
ISBN: 068984526X
Publication Date: 2001-09-01
Worldcat: "A book to help families talk about the difficult issues of breast cancer in healthy and hopeful ways."

Online, printable PDF available at

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The Paper Chain - Claire Blake; Eliza Blanchard; Kathy Parksinson (Illustrator)
Call Number: FE 654 B636 1998
ISBN: 0929173287
Publication Date: 1999-05-01
Worldcat: "When Mom gets cancer all of the family's routines are disrupted, but with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and rest, she eventually gets well enough to do the things they did before she got sick."

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The Year My Mother Was Bald - Ann Speltz; Kate Sternberg (Illustrator)
Call Number: FE 654 S743 2003
ISBN: 1557988889
Publication Date: 2002-11-15
Worldcat: "Clare keeps a journal that describes the medical treatments her mother undergoes for breast cancer, her family's experiences, and her own feelings and concerns. Includes a list of resources."

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Tickles Tabitha's Cancer-Tankerous Mommy - Amelia Frahm; Elizabeth Schultz (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0970575203
Publication Date: 2001-06-01
Told through the eyes of Tabitha, a young girl, this is the story of a family in which the mother is being treated for breast cancer.

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Vanishing Cookies: Doing Ok When a Parent Has Cancer - Michelle B. Goodman
Call Number: FE 654 G646 1990
ISBN: 0969472404
Publication Date: April 1991
Written in a question and answer format this book is intended for kids ages 10-16 whose parents are undergoing cancer treatment. The illustrations are below the text level

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What Is Cancer, Anyway? - Karen L. Carney (Illustrator)
Call Number: FE 654 C289 1999
ISBN: 0966782046
Publication Date: 2001-01-01
Worldcat: "Provides basic information essential to understanding a cancer diagnosis, explains radiation and chemotherapy, and emphasizes that everyone's cancer is different."

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When mommy had a mastectomy - Nancy Reuben Greenfield; Ralph M Butler
Call Number: FE 654 G812 2005
ISBN: 09101556077
Publication Date: 2005
Worldcat: "A little girl deals with her mother's breast cancer, masectomy, and breast reconstruction."

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When Someone You Love Has Cancer: A Guide to Help Kids Cope - Alaric Lewis; R. W. Alley (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0870293958
Publication Date: 2005-09-01
This book uses child-friendly language and illustrations to explain what cancer is.

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When Your Mom Has Cancer - 2030north Studios (Illustrator); L. Rebecca Baskin (Foreword by)
ISBN: 0982660162
Publication Date: 2010-04-03
This book is an excellent resource to help explain breast cancer to their children in such a way that they not only understand cancer but can also approach the subject with less fear and anxiety.

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When Your Teacher Has Cancer - Amaryllis Sanchez Wohlever (Foreword by); 2030north Studios (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0615328288
Publication Date: 2009-11-24
This book explains to a young child what cancer is and what is happening while their teacher is being treated.

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Where's Mom's Hair? - Debbie Watters; Haydn Watters; Emmett Watters; Sophie Hogan (Illustrator)
Call Number: FE 654 W329 2005
ISBN: 1896764940
Publication Date: 2005-01-01
Worldcat: "Provides detailed photographs to help young children understand how cancer affects people and how it is fought. A family faces mom's cancer and medical treatments with a huge hair-shaving party. Touching and humorous photographs follow Mom (Debbie) as she and her family go through each step of fighting cancer."

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You Are the Best Medicine - Julie Aigner Clark; Jana Christy (Illustrator)
ISBN: 0061956449
Publication Date: 2010-09-07
Delivers a soothing message from a mother with cancer to her young daughter. Reassuring and tactful, it affirms that love and kindness are the best medicine for anyone who is ill.


Contact Information

Patient Education Resource Center (PERC)

University of Michigan

Comprehensive Cancer Center

Room B2-214A

Open Monday-Friday 8:30-4:30



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