Sunday, October 9, 2011

Nowhere Hair

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. When children have a loved one facing this health issue, they are often filled with questions and fear. Nowhere Hair by Sue Glader offers a way to talk to children about cancer in a positive way.

Framed in rhyming text, the story begins with a young girl wondering why her mother is bald. Mom answers in simple terms: “I’m bald because of medicine I take to cure my cancer.”

With reassuring words and images, the story explains how cancer is not the fault of the child and is not contagious. Then, the story honestly addresses some of the changes in energy and appearance caused by treatment, such as fewer trips to the park and hats and wigs that become part of mom’s wardrobe. However, it gently highlights what stays the same—mom’s love for her family and children. The story ends with the child’s plea to those who meet her mom to treat her kindly despite her baldness. It concludes with a powerful reminder: “It’s hard to see her without hair./ I miss her curls that bounce./ And though I know her hair will grow,/ it’s what’s inside that counts.”

The book features beautifully expressive and whimsical watercolor pictures done by Edith Buenen. The swirling movements of the illustrations match the upbeat rhythm of the text. Plus, even though mom is bald, the artist makes her look attractive and hip.

What I Like: Though the topic is deep and sensitive, the author handles it in an optimistic manner. The beat in the text works, which is always refreshing with a rhyming book. I think it would serves as a great tool to help younger children address some of the anxiety they might face when dealing with a loved one going through chemotherapy.

What I Dislike: While this book implies Biblical concepts of hope, counting blessings, and treating others they way we want to be treated, there is no specific reference to God, nor are Scripture/Scripture passages included in the story. Perhaps the author is trying to appeal to a wider audience, but I personally think the story would not at all be lessened by a reference to faith or by including an encouraging Scripture quote, even if it's outside the text in a note from the author.

Overall Rating: Despite my minor dislike, I believe the book holds a powerful message, and for that alone it deserves an Excellent rating.

Age Appeal: ages 3-10

Publisher Info: Thousand Words Press, 2010; ISBN:978-0-984-3591-0-3; hardcover, 32 PGS., $15.99.

This book is not available at
Buy it at for $15.99.
OR Buy the Kindle version for $7.39.

Special Info: Nowhere Hair has a Livestrong Foundation recommendation and the blessings of the Lymphoma and Leukemia Foundation.

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