When a rare autoimmune disease suddenly turned her niece’s life upside down, Erin immediately looked for books they could share. But when she couldn’t find many age-appropriate stories about kids with chronic illnesses, she did what any English teacher would do — she wrote her own. In our new podcast, she shares Livy’s story and its impact on the lives of those around her. She also explains how this wonderful new book can help both kids and their families who are confronting similar situations and discusses how she created this inspiring tale of child empowerment.
Our chat with Erin also reminded us that it can indeed be difficult to find good stories for children dealing with chronic illnesses. Here are some of our favorites:
My Cancer Days by Courtney Filigenzi
The winner of numerous awards, this children’s book aims to help kids throughout their entire journey with cancer, from diagnosis through treatment. My Cancer Days gracefully explores the ups and downs of life with a chronic illness and the importance of sharing your feelings.
The Someday Suitcase by Corey Ann Haydu
A heart-rending look at a close friendship impacted by chronic illness, the book follows Clover and Danny as doctors struggle to find a diagnosis for Danny’s sudden health problems. When Danny finally learns that he’s suffering from a severe autoimmune disease, Clover will do anything to find the cure.
Brave Just Like Me by Kimberly Ruff
Like Erin Garcia, Kimberly Ruff’s experience with a family member’s serious diagnosis inspired her to write her own book. Based on her young daughter’s fight with a life-threatening medical condition, Ruff’s wonderful story teaches a message of “be brave and know that you are not alone.”
Halfway Normal by Barbara Dee
Middle school for anyone is hard, but when Norah’s two years of cancer treatment end and it’s time for her to return to school, she can’t imagine anything harder. After dealing with leukemia, Norah’s now got to tackle schoolwork, friends, and boys, while adjusting to her new life.
A Sick Day For Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead
When zoo caretaker Amos falls ill, his animal friends journey to his home to take care of him.
It’s a delightful story emphasizing the importance of being there for your friends whenever they’re not feeling great — regardless of their age.
The UpBeat podcast is powered by CoachArt, a nonprofit organization that provides FREE art and athletic activities to families impacted by any childhood chronic illness – such as arthritis, asthma, diabetes, cancer, cerebral palsy and more. Programs are currently offered in the Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco Bay areas, with more cities coming soon!