Books, Reviews

Book Review: I Have a Question About Cancer

I read this book a few months ago and while it is written with a younger audience in mind(specifically those with special needs), it will prove to be a book to go to for others as well. For all who have to face questions from young ones when cancer impacts a loved one, ‘I Have a Question About Cancer’ is sure to help.

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I Have a Question About Cancer

Book Info

I Have a Question About Cancer - Book Review

Title: I Have a Question about Cancer: Clear Answers for All Kids, including Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other Special Needs
Authors: Arlen Grad Gaines and Meredith Englander Polsky
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers (May 21, 2019)
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction
Age Range: 5 – 11 years

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Target|| Barnes and Noble


Cancer is a difficult topic for any parent, caregiver or educator to explain to a child. This book is designed to help kids, including children with autism spectrum disorder or other additional needs, to understand what it means when someone in their life has cancer.

Using a question and answer format, it explores the life changes and feelings of uncertainty a child may experience if a loved one has cancer. Illustrated with SymbolStix, a symbol-based language for visual thinkers, this book explains a difficult topic to children who might otherwise struggle to understand it. The book also features a short picture story that repeats the complete story for children who process information best through visual cues. Additional guidance for parents and caregivers provides ideas to help children cope with this experience

My Thoughts

Given my personal experiences with cancer – family and friends already lost to or dealing with this dreaded disease – this book is something I know will be a valuable resource for many.

This is one of those books that you wish was not needed in the first place, but you are glad it is there – since it is, well, NEEDED (unfortunately and seemingly more now than ever).

Using a combination of simple, straightforward yet gentle text and illustrations bared down to stick-figures, this book speaks very effortlessly to its target audience (and to others as well). It does a wonderful job of helping deal with the tough questions that arise when loved ones are diagnosed with cancer.

Written from the perspective of a narrator (a child) who is asking the questions needing answers, it can help start conversations which might otherwise be difficult; and will the reader help find the right language to use while answering(or asking) questions.

With its three step approach (a detailed story, a shorter picture story, suggestions for parents and caregivers), this book is an excellent resource to help deal with a tough subject.

In Summary

A valuable resource that will be useful for caregivers (parents, educators, others) as well as at doctors’ offices, clinics, and classrooms.

Rating: 5/5
Reading Level: 5 – 11 years (and all who need it)

Disclaimer: Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this eARC. These are my honest thoughts about the book.

And Then, Well, The End of this Post

My previous posts for this month are below. Playing catch up by posting more than one post is the way to get this done now! My Inktober posts – well, they will follow soon enough. Working on them right now and hope the next post here will feature my next Inktober adventures as well!

11 thoughts on “Book Review: I Have a Question About Cancer

  1. This is a good idea. I wish it was out when my mom got cancer. I was pretty young so this probably would’ve helped.

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