Blogger Lisa Taylor

Yup! There’s a book for that! Or is there?

It’s no wonder that library patrons often ask for help in choosing a picture book, especially when entertaining grandchildren or visiting students as a “guest reader” in school.  Woe to the harried parent who chooses a book based on its cover and is later surprised to find that she is reading a book to an expectant crowd of preschoolers and her topic is the Chinese Cultural Revolution, head lice, or the death of the family pet!

War, death, natural disasters – they happen, and a well-crafted picture book may comfort a young child trying to make sense of it all.  These books may not be what the average person wants on the average day, but when they’re asked for, they’re not just wanted, they’re needed.

Yup, it seems as if there’s a picture book for everything – cancer, catastrophic flooding, Grandpa’s Alzheimer’s disease, Mom and Dad’s divorce, racism, sister’s Down Syndrome, but…

recently I was asked for a book that I did not have – a book for a young child with a chronic illness, an illness that requires constant and sometimes painful medical intervention.  And then I began to think, what about a book for child facing a lengthy hospital stay?  Sure, Madeline had her appendix out, but we never saw her in the hospital.  Franklin went there too, but it was a quick operation.

Coincidentally, after I decided to write this post, a similar request appeared on the Kidlitosphere listserv – a librarian looking for a picture book for a child with cancer.

If you know of an appropriate book, I’d love to hear of it, but more than that, I’d love to hear your suggestions for other “books you wish someone would write.”

(photo courtesy of morgueFile and free of copyright restrictions)


  1. Renee

    Suggestion for Books I Wish Someone Would Write – a picture book or early chapter book about a child who has burns on his or her body. I had a parent with a 3rd grade child who has burns on his arms that wanted to find a fiction book with a character who has burns like this child. I found lots of YA books that met that criteria but didn’t have any luck with books for a younger child. I ended up finding a non-fiction book that the mother and child liked; Bad Burns: True Survival Stories by Sandra Markle (Powerful Medicine series, 2011)

  2. K Wygant

    There is a picture book by Patricia Polacco called The Lemonade Club where a girl named Marilyn discovers she has Leukemia and how she and her best friend Traci try to brace for the rough road ahead of her.

    1. Lisa

      Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. Deana Rosen

    I wish there was a picture book or chapter book about ADD or AD/HD. My daughter has ADD and there are no books for her to read about this disorder. There are lots of nonfictions books out there but none in picture book or chapter book form.

    1. Lisa

      I like All Dogs Have ADHD by Kathy Hoopmann, but it’s not for kids. There’s always Joey Pigza for an ADHD chapter book, but offhand, I can’t think of a picture book. Suggestions, anyone?

      1. Mary Voors

        How about A.D.D. Not B.A.D. by Audrey Penn or Some Kids Just Can’t Sit Still by Sam Goldstein?

        1. Jennifer

          I like Birdie for Now by Jean Little. It’s a shorter chapter book.

  4. Pauline

    At our children’s hospital libraries, we carry a range of health books made for kids including bereavement, cancer, surgeries, and dealing with pain. Some of our families and librarians favorites are Kathy’s Hats and Imagine a Rainbow.

    1. Lisa

      Do kids like them, and is there a particular publisher for most of them?

  5. Africa Hands

    The American Psychology Association has a press for books touching on the subjects mentioned above. You can search their website for books on divorce, ADD/ADHD, depression, etc. Magination Press usually has a booth at Midwinter and Annual.

  6. Amy

    For illness, there’s Sometimes by Rebecca Elliott. It’s based on her daughter, who’s profoundly disabled and requires hospital stays. It’s narrated from her son’s perspective, though, so it’s not quite as involved, but it still might help. It’s playful in parts, but doesn’t sugarcoat either.

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