Moon Balloon

"Cancer takes your family on a journey that you didn't necessarily plan for. The HCC program has ensured, through opening communication lines with my children, that I don't take the unplanned journey alone, but rather with my family right by my side."
- D.I., Survivor and Parent

girl reading book

Books used in our program

The Moon BalloonThe Moon Balloon:
A Journey of Hope and Discovery for Children and Families

Author and Illustrator: Joan Drescher
Publisher: The Moon Balloon Project, Inc., 2005



The Hope TreeThe Hope Tree: Kids Talk About Breast Cancer

By Laura Joffe Numeroff. Illustrated by David McPhail.

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 2001

This picture book is organized as the support group scrapbook for school-aged children of moms with breast cancer. A wide range of names and ages, as well as animal narrators will enable all children to identify with the content. Each double paged spread focuses on one concern, such as "the day my family found out" or "you can't catch it". In addition to outlining what to expect, each vignette suggests a course of action that will help the child gain a sense of control and hope.

The book is available for purchase, or as a free pdf file to download onto a computer.

Books for Children

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

By Judy Viorst

Simon and Schuster. 1987

A picture book which follows Alexander on a very bad day, which we all experience from time to time.


By Susi Gregg Fowler, Illustration by Jim Fowler

Harper Collins. 1998

A young boy and his uncle work together to create a garden. When the boy’s uncle becomes sick and is hospitalized, the young boy takes care of the garden to help greet his uncle when he comes home. Ages 5 and up.

Butterfly Kisses

By Ellen McVicker

Self Published. 2006

This book can be used to educate and a support a child who has a loved one facing cancer. It is a read aloud or follow along book.

Good Luck, Mrs. K!

By Louise Borden

Margaret K. McElderry Books. 1999

A picture book with watercolor illustrations by Adam Gustavson lend a Norman Rockwell aura to this warm, upbeat story. Mrs. K. has the best of qualities we hope to see in a teacher. A nine-year-old girl describes the sudden absence of her teacher and wonders how many operations it takes to cure cancer. Closes on a positive note. Supports the concept that many children are touched by the disease.

Henry and the White Wolf

By Tyler Karu

Workman Publishing, 2000

An illustrated allegorical story about hope, dignity, and strength.

Michael’s Mommy Has Breast Cancer

By Lisa Torrey

Hibiscus Press, publisher. 1999

Look past the small, muted illustrations to the excellent content of this picture book. Michael, about five, lives the story and expresses the feelings of a child whose mom has breast cancer: from diagnosis to treatment, recovery, and finally to “the birthday gift he wanted most-his mom back.” Be cautious of overwhelming a young child with too many words per page. Consider abbreviating the story or reading a few pages in a setting.

Mom Has Cancer! (Let's Talk About It)

By Jennifer Moore-Mallinos

Barron’s Educational Series. 2008

A great book for younger children. Endorsed by the American Cancer Society.

My Daddy’s Cancer: An Interactive Book for Children

By: Cindy Cohen and John Heiney

Promise Publishing Co. 1999

A story and activity book for 9-12 year olds.
Adults can read this book to younger children.

Nana, What's Cancer?

By Beverlye Hyman Fead and Tessa Mae Hamermesh.

American Cancer Society. 2009

This book was written by a grandmother and granddaughter. It explains answers to any questions that the granddaughter has about cancer in a helpful and understanding way.

Endorsed by American Cancer Society

Our Family has Cancer Too!

By Christine Clifford

Pfeifer-Hamilton Publishers, Duluth, MN. 1998

Perfect for a reluctant reader, this 54-page book is written from the perspective of an 11-year-old boy, with a cartoon illustration on almost every other page. It chronicles the journey from diagnosis through treatment in an upbeat, accurate way. Parents’ notes and a few pages for children to fill in also add value.

Our Mom Has Cancer

By Abigail Ackerman and Adrienne Ackermann

American Cancer Society. 2000

This book is written by kids for kids. It tells about their mother’s treatment, chemotherapy, hair falling out and more. It is very helpful to elementary ages students and is endorsed by the American Cancer Society.


By Elizabeth Winthrop

Clarion Books, 2000.

This is a wonderfully inspiring story of a young girl who is learning to cope with her mom's cancer. The book deals with the ever-changing range of emotions that kids go through when their mom is sick.

Sammy's Mommy Has Cancer

By Sherry Kohlenberg

Magination Press. 1994

Toddler Sammy’s mommy has cancer. This warm story is appropriate for young children with very simple, clear text and illustrations in primary colors. Cancer cells are given a visual description that most children will understand. American Medical Writers Association awarded this book the "Best Book of 1994".

Taking Cancer To School

By Kim Gosslin

JayJo Books. 2001

This book discusses what it is like to have a child in school with cancer. It is helpful for both the peers of the child and the child dealing with cancer.

The Paper Chain

By Claire Blake

Health Press. 1998

For families coping with cancer, this book provides concrete examples for positive steps families can take to help children cope successfully with a tough situation.


The Year My Mother Was Bald

By Ann Speltz

Magination Press. 2003

This book is divided into 12 chapters in a scrap book style. It discussed what happened during each month from diagnosis to recovery. It would be great from children 8 and up to read on their own and can be read to younger children as well.

Tickles Tabitha’s Cancer-Tankerous Mommy

By Amelia Frahm

Nutcracker Publishing Company. 2001

Bright, stylistic illustrations portray Tickles and her family. Mommy doesn’t look sick on the outside as long as she keeps her wig on, but seems grouchy all the time. Use this title when everyone in your family is feeling the stress and strain of treatment; it will provide a note of humor, reassurance, and hope.

What IS Cancer, Anyway? Explaining Cancer to Children of All Ages

By K.L. Carney

Dragonfly Publishing, 1998

An explanation of cancer and treatment appropriate for very young children. Some unique information such as, "will radiation make you radioactive" and "kids do not usually know the answers, ask an adult." Black and white line drawings and blank spaces are designed for coloring by the child. Highly Recommended.

When a Parent is Very Sick

By Eda J. LeShan

Joy Street Books, Boston, MA. 1986

This practical chapter book is ideal for independent readers with a sick or dying parent, or as a read-aloud for younger children. Also beneficial for parents and caregivers of children with an ill parent.

When Mommy is Sick

By Ferne Sherkin-Langer

A. Whitman, publisher. 1995

Mom’s illness is ever named, but the six-year-old girl’s feelings of sadness, anger, fear, impatience, wishful thinking, excitement, and happiness are clearly expressed. Illustrations are bright and keep pace with the text. This book would be effective in any setting where parent-child separation is an issue: doctor’s appointments, outpatient treatment, or surgery.

When Someone Has a Very Serious Illness: Children Can Learn to Cope With Loss and Change

By Marge Heegard

Woodland Press. 1992

This is a workbook to help families talk about illness and coping.

When Someone You Love Has Cancer

By Alaric Lewis

Elf- Help books for Kids. One Caring Place. 2005

This book goes through the emotions that kids and families may face while dealing with Cancer. A great book to read with children facing Cancer in a family setting.