Books for When Siblings Get Sick

This past December, we found out there was another cancerous mass in my daughter (stay tuned for that story). We’ve been on an emotional roller coaster–going back and forth from the hospital, having an unsuccessful surgery, and assuming that she would need chemotherapy. If this journey was filled with highs and lows for my husband and me, you can only wonder what our poor 4-year-old son, Kieran, was going through. “Why is Emily going back to the hospital? Why did her cancer come back? You mean she’s not going to have any hair?” These were all questions that he asked and we struggled to find the right answers. What helped? Books. My friend, Breezy Mama Karina, took it upon herself to research the best books to help explain to Kieran what was happening. Even if your kid doesn’t have cancer, but (heaven forbid) a sibling does get sick, or you’re trying to help out another’s child–turn to one of these. –Alex

What About Me? When Brothers and Sisters Get Sick.
by Allan Peterkin, M.D. illustrated by Frances Middendorf
Laura experiences conflicting emotions when her brother becomes seriously ill. Includes suggestions for parents to help their well children cope with a chronically ill sibling.
Alex’s Note: This is a great book for any sibling who has a brother or sister that is sick and needs to be in the hospital. Not specific to one reason why they’re in.
For Amazon’s price of $9.95, click here.

When Molly Was in the Hospital. A Book for Brothers and Sisters of Hospitalized Children.
by Debbie Duncan, illustrated by Nina Ollikainen, MD
Anna’s little sister, Molly, has been very ill and had to have an operation. Anna tells us all about the experience from her point of view. Sensitive, insightful, heartwarming story. A support and comfort for siblings and those who love them. The story is moving and rings with authenticity, for author Debbie Duncan based it on her family’s personal experiences. Artist Nina Ollikainen’s beautiful black and white drawings are accurately detailed and capture the emotional atmosphere of Anna and Molly’s tender relationship. Ages 3 – 12.
Alex’s Note: Like the book above, this book is great for any brother or sister with a sick sibling because it’s general.
For Amazon’s price of $11.01 (vs. $12.95), click here.

Oliver’s Story: For “sibs” of Kids with Cancer.
by Michael Dodd
This book tells a story about one child. But there is an important story to be told for every brother or sister of a child with cancer. That’s because when you find out your brother or sister has cancer, all of a sudden, life can kind of get turned upside down.
Alex’s Note: Though this book is fantastic about explaining cancer to siblings, I didn’t read it to Kieran because much of it takes place in the hospital, where Oliver gets to spend time with his sister and playing with all of the other patients. As a result of the swine flu, most hospitals don’t allow visitors–I knew Kieran would ask why Oliver got to play in the hospital and he couldn’t. Great for kids who have a friend that is diagnosed with cancer so they’ll see what the friend will go through.
For Amazon’s price of $25.98, click here.

I Can Too! Cancer Kids Can Too.
by Brittany’s Books Publishing, illustations by Cristine Thomas
A matter of fact I CAN series for kids with cancer. Join The CancerKid as he shows the whole world what he can do. Full of creative illustrations, including Astronaut, pirate, etc Helps boost self-confidence. Activity pages included for drawing. Ages 3-7.
Alex’s Note: Though this book is meant to be read by those kids who have cancer, it’s great for Kieran because it shows him that Emily can do anything she wants–cancer won’t stop her. This book is available with the main character being portrayed as male or female, as well as all types of ethnicities.
For Amazon’s price of $7.95, click here.

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  1. Alex,

    I’m so sorry to hear that your daughter is sick again. She will be in my thoughts and prayers. I hope she is well again very soon!

    Best wishes!


  2. Alex,
    I am sad to hear you have to deal with this horrible issue again. I am positive that you will get through this and keep Emily’s spirits up. Please let us know if we can do anything. Keeping your family in our prayers, Margie

  3. Thank you for sharing this list of resources.
    Thinking about Em (and family) during her recovery. We love y’all!

  4. Alex-I’m so sorry to hear about Emily)-: I will pray for your family!

  5. Alex,
    I can’t imagine what you are going through. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts. I am thinking about Emily and hoping she is well again very soon!

  6. Alex,
    So sorry to hear about Emily. Thank you for sharing your experience with all of us. We are thinking about you all!

  7. Alice Gold says

    I cannot even imagine how hard it would be to have a child associated with the word cancer. Hard for anyone to hear that much less parents or siblings. I had no idea about your daughter. I will pray for the best.

    And, yes, books have so many powers. I am a huge advocate locally for children’s literacy. You just can’t beat a good book.

  8. Thank you, everyone, for your sweet words. The last two months have been incredibly hard, but we made it through. I’ll be posting Emily’s story (the second half–I consider the first half to be what happened in September) on Monday, Feb. 8.

  9. Maureen Marino says

    Thank you for using your anguish and pain to help other people. I have found that this type of mental therapy is one of the best ways to survive such difficult times. All of you are a wonderful group of family members and Emily and Kieran will grow in love and support due to this inner strength you have mustered.
    You are always in our thoughts and prayers.
    One other things that has proven to help during difficult times is music therapy. Listening to soothing music does calm the inner beast and help a sense of calm take over. One of my favorite instruments to listen to in this situation has been relaxing harp music.
    Take care. Sending my love to all.


  1. Breezy Mama says:

    […] Do you know of someone who has a child going through an illness? Check out these books for the sick child’s siblings by clicking here. […]

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