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It’s never easy to talk with young kids about tough subjects, like illness and death. Sometimes a children’s book can open the door to conversations that need to happen. Books can also help teach new and scary vocabulary words in a gentle way. Last, a book can bring some comfort by helping a child feel less alone. It may help to learn that other kids have a Mom or Dad who is also fighting cancer or another disease.

The American Cancer Society has suggestions for books to help children deal with cancer (opens in a new window). The list includes an activity book, books about hair loss, specific titles for Moms and Dads with cancer, and a few available in Spanish and English.

There are lists of books on Amazon (examples here (opens in a new window) and here (opens in a new window)) about children with cancer or kids with loved ones who have been diagnosed. The titles range from simple picture books to adult titles.

The Children’s Cancer Research Fund also has a list of books (opens in a new window) for helping kids deal with cancer. With just a few titles, their book suggestions include stories about children with cancer full of hope.

My advice is to read book descriptions closely before buying or checking out. Several seem to have the Mom as the cancer patient. For children whose Dad or grandparents have been diagnosed, I think that might be confusing and scary. I hope you never need to use these resources, but if you do, these links may provide some help.

About the Author

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Publication Date
June 11, 2013