Recommended Reading - Discoveries Program

Organized by age group, these books may help you discuss a serious illness with family and friends. Click on each title to read a description of the book.

Please note that MultiCare Health System does not endorse these references, but is simply supplying them as potentially helpful reference materials. For more information, see our Terms of Use.

Ages 2–3

The Way I Feel by Janan Cain. Parenting Press, 2000. ISBN: 1884734715.

Ages 4–6

My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss, Steve Johnson, and Lou Fancher. Knopf, 1996. ISBN: 0679875982.

The Invisible String by Patrice Karst. Devorss & Co., 2000. ISBN: 0875167349.

There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon by Jack Kent. Dragonfly Books, 2009. ISBN: 9780375851377.

Little Tree: A Story for Children with Serious Medical Problems by Joyce C. Mills. Magination Press, 2003. ISBN: 1591470420.

When Someone You Love Has Cancer by Alaric Lewis. Abbey Press, 2005. ISBN: 0870293958.

You Are the Best Medicine by Julie Aigner Clark. Balzer + Bray, 2010. ISBN: 0061956449.

When Your Mom Has Cancer: Helping Children Cope at Home and Beyond by Maryann Makekau. Makekau, 2010. ISBN: 0982660162.

What Is Cancer Anyway? Explaining Cancer to Children of All Ages by Karen Carney. Dragonfly Publishers, 1998. ISBN: 0966782046.

Henry and the White Wolf by Tim Karu. Workman Publishing Company, 2000. ISBN: 0761121358.

Tickles Tabitha’s Cancer-Tankerous Mommy by Amelia Frahm. Nutcracker Publishing Company, 2001. ISBN: 0970575203.

Promises by Elizabeth Winthrop. Clarion Books, 2000. ISBN: 0395822726.

Butterfly Kisses and Wishes on Wings by Ellen McVicker. McVicker & Hersch, 2015. ISBN: 0578159937.

Ages 7–9

There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon by Jack Kent. Golden Books, 2005. ISBN: 0375832084.

How Are You Peeling? Foods with Moods by Saxton Freyman and Joost Elffers. Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999. ISBN: 0439104319.

Forever in My Heart by Jennifer Levine. Compassion Books, 1992. ISBN: 1878321080.

Just You and Me by Judy Richmond. Hands of Hope Hospice, 1995. ISBN: Not Available.

Michael’s Mommy Has Breast Cancer by Lisa Torrey. Hibiscus Press, 1999. ISBN: 0964776367.

Ages 9–12

When Someone Has a Very Serious Illness: Children Can Learn to Cope with Loss and Change by Marge Heegaard. Woodland Press, 1992. ISBN: 0962050245

Sky Memories by Pat Brisson. Delacorte Books, 1999. ISBN: 0385326068.

The Rainbow Feelings of Cancer: A Book for Children Who Have a Loved One with Cancer by Carrie Martin and Chia Martin. Hohm Press, 2016. ISBN: 189077216X.

Because Someone I Love Has Cancer: A Kids’ Activity Book by American Cancer Society, Ed. Anneke Smith. American Cancer Society, 2002. ISBN: 0944235328.

A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert N. Peck. Knopf, 1972. ISBN: 0394482352.

Our Mom Has Cancer by Adrienne and Abigail Ackermann, American Cancer Society, 2000. ISBN: 0944235166.

Hang Tough, Paul Mather by Alfred Slote, Harper Trophy, 1985. ISBN: 0064401537.


When a Parent has Cancer: A Guide to Caring for Your Children by Wendy Harpham. Harper Perennial, 2004. ISBN: 0060740817.

Raising an Emotionally Healthy Child When a Parent is Sick by Paula K. Rauch and Anna C. Muriel. McGraw Hill, 2006 ISBN: 0071446818.

When a Parent Is Sick: Helping Parents Explain Serious Illness to Children by Joan Hamilton. Pottersfield Press, 2007 ISBN: 1895900913.

How to Help Children Through a Parent’s Serious Illness by Kathleen McCue. St. Martin’s Griffin, 1996. ISBN: 0312146191.

Living with Grief: When Illness is Prolonged by Kenneth Doka. Taylor & Francis, 1997. ISBN: 1560327030.

Cancer in the Family: Helping Children Cope with a Parent’s Illness by Sue P. Heiney, Joan F. Hermann, Katherine V. Bruss, and Joy L. Fincannon. American Cancer Society, 2001. ISBN: 0944235344.