October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the perfect time to blog about a wonderful picture book that deals with breast cancer. THE GOODBYE CANCER GARDEN teams up children’s author Janna Matthies and illustrator Kristi Valiant, both from my home state of Indiana.
In January, when her mother shares the news with her family that she has breast cancer, Janie comes up with the idea to plant a garden: “Watching it grow, and eating healthy veggies, will remind us Mom’s getting better,” Janie tells them. With pumpkin season as their goal, the family joins together to plant the ‘Goodbye, Cancer’ garden.
From planning and planting, to eating the vegetables that they’ve grown, the garden parallels Mom’s progression through her treatment of breast cancer. Told in a sensitive way, the story shows ups and downs over the months that follow—eg: “Sometimes she looked sad, and my brother and I felt a little worried.”
THE GOODBYE CANCER GARDEN addresses a difficult issue with an uplifting and hopeful story line, and is illustrated with beautiful pictures filled with love and hope. The story was driven by the author’s own battle with breast cancer.
Enjoy a chat with the author and illustrator, and get in on a special give-away, at Jama’s Alphabet Soup, a blog that combines food and children’s books. While there, you’ll also find photos, a recipe, and get some insight into writing and illustrating a children’s book.
Jama’s Alphabet Soup:
Janna Mathies blogsite: http://jannamatthies.blogspot.com/
Kristi Valiant’s website: http://kristivaliant.blogspot.com/
THE GOODBYE CANCER GARDEN by Janna Matthies, illustrated by Kristi Valiant
Albert Whitman & company, Chicago, IL 2012