Websites and Books

Helpful websites

Follow the links below to read more about child health (sites will open in new tabs/windows):

Recommended books

There are many wonderful books available to share with your child or friends and family that will help you to discuss events such as going to the hospital, surgery, serious illness, death and dying, and what it is like being a sibling of a hospitalized child.

See our catalog of books, organized by category:

Chronic illness


  • The Lion Who Had Asthma, by Jonathan London and Nadine Bernard Westcott
    Description: During an attack of asthma, the lion of Sean's fantasy stops roaring. He wheezes, feels tired, and wants to cry. Sean's mother shows up with a nebulizer, but Sean is the one who turns it on, and as he breathes deeply, he becomes a jet pilot.
    Ages: 4-8
  • Taking Asthma to School, by Barbara Mitchell
    Description: This book will help children and parents discuss asthma with schoolmates and classroom teachers. Includes "Ten Tips for Teachers" and "Kids Quiz".
    Ages: 4-8
  • So You Have Asthma Too!, by Nancy Sander
    Description: A child's look at asthma. Understanding what asthma is, how to live with it, and realizing you can still do most things other kids can do.
    Ages: 5-10
  • Breathe Easy, by Jonathan Weiss
    Description: Practical and personal guide for young people who have asthma. Techniques to control and live with asthma. Filled with illustrations, diagrams, and self quizzes.
    Ages: 8-14

Belly issues

  • The Gas We Pass, by Shinta Cho
    Description: A simple explanation of human and animal gas. A basic diagram shows the passage of food and air through the body.
    Ages: 4-6
  • Where's the Poop, by Julie Markers
    Description: Reinforces the concept of toilet training, by showing children that all creatures have a place to poop: tigers in the jungle, kangaroos in the outback, and monkeys in the rainforest.
    Ages: 4-6
  • It Hurts When I Poop: Children Who are Scared to Use the Potty, by Howard Bennett
    Description: Ryan is scared to use the potty. This story, along with Ryan's "poop program," will help young children gain the confidence they need to overcome this common problem and establish healthy habits.
    Ages: 4-12
  • The Moose with Loose Poops, by Charlotte Cowan
    Description: Four-year-old Miles develops a tummy ache while on a family picnic in Maine. His planned camping trip with Papa (complete with canoeing and fishing) is delayed when he starts throwing up (oops!) and gets diarrhea (loose poops). Mama, Papa and Lucy Moose take excellent care of Miles at home with the help of their pediatrician, Dr. Hippo. Miles recovers in time to camp with Papa under a special, star filled sky.
    Ages: 4-10
  • The Truth about POOP!, by Susan Goodman
    Description: This book provides an interesting view and history of poop. There are fun facts for both humans and animals.
    Ages: 6+


  • Chemo to the Rescue! A Children's Book About Leukemia, by Mary Brent and Caitlin Knutsson
    Description: Kyle, a boy with leukemia, teaches you about cancer, blood cells, treatment and side effects.
    Ages: 4-8
  • Henry and the White Wolf, by Tyler Karu and Tim Karubr
    Description: A courageous hedgehog copes with fear and change in his health with the support of friends and his good luck stone.
    Ages: 4-8
  • Kathy's Hats, A Story of Hope, by Trudy Krisher
    Description: A girl diagnosed with cancer learns to cope with emotions and side effects of treatments.
    Ages: 4-8
  • Why, Charlie Brown, Why?, by Charles M. Schulz
    Description: Charlie Brown and his friends learn about cancer when their friend and classmate Janice is diagnosed with leukemia.
    Ages: 4-8
  • Taking Cancer to School, by Cynthia S. Henry and Kim Gosselin
    Description: Max learns about cancer when he is diagnosed with leukemia and teaches his classmates about it.
    Ages: 5-10

Cancer sibling books

  • Oliver's Story For "Sibs" of Kids with Cancer, by Michael Dodd
    Description: A boy tells the story of when his younger sister had cancer and the emotions he had during her treatments and hospitalizations.
    Ages: 4-8
  • What About Me? When Brothers and Sisters Get Sick, by Allan Peterkin, MD
    Description: A young girl learns to cope with her brother being ill and the emotions that go along with it.
    Ages: 4-8
  • Stevie's New Blood, by Kathryn Ulberg Lilleby
    Description: Stevie is having a bone marrow transplant to help cure his leukemia, and his sister Anna is his donor. This book teaches about the bone marrow transplant process.
    Ages: 5-128

Cystic fibrosis

  • Cadberry's Letters, by Jennifer Racek
    Description: Cadberry discovers what C and F really mean and how those two tiny letters affect so much of his life.
    Ages: 4-8
  • Mallory's 65 Roses, by Diane Shader Smith
    Description: Mallory, a little girl with cystic fibrosis (CF), explains her condition in her own words, in a way that is easier for children to understand and helpful for adults.
    Ages: 4-8
  • Taking Cystic Fibrosis to School, by Cynthia Henry
    Description: Explains and normalizes cystic fibrosis for children.
    Ages: 4-8


  • Rufus Comes Home, by Kim Gosselin
    Description: Rufus helps the child, family, and friends deal with this disease in an informative way that is neither too medical nor too simple.
    Ages: 4-8
  • Even Little Kids Get Diabetes, by Connie Piner
    Description: For children who have recently learned that they have diabetes, it discusses symptoms, procedures, and treatment.
    Ages: 8-11
  • It's Time to Learn About Diabetes, by Jean Betschart-Roemer
    Description: When kids find out they have diabetes, they often have questions about what it is and how they got it. This book is an easy-to-use guide that explains diabetes in simple terms, showing school-age kids how to help take care of themselves.
    Ages: 8-11
  • Lara Takes Charge, by Sally Huss
    Description: Friendly pictures with lots of color are used to tell the story of Lara, a little girl with diabetes. Lara tells all the things she does that regular kids do—run, swim, dance—and she talks about her insulin pump and doing blood tests. *Especially for kids with insulin pumps.
    Ages: 8-11
  • My Sister Rose Has Diabetes, by Monica Driscoll Beatty
    Description: This book describes the impact of diabetes on the entire family and why some family routines change to meet Rose's needs.
    Ages: 8-11
  • Taking Diabetes to School, by Kim Gosselin
    Description: This book allows elementary school students to teach their classmates about diabetes.
    Ages: 8-11


  • Taking Seizure Disorders to School: A Story About Epilepsy, by Kim Gosselin
    Description: Jamie has epilepsy and wants her classmates to know about seizures.  She shares with them what they should do if she has a seizure, that she can participate in the same activities as her peers, and that she and her classmates are a lot like one another.
    Ages: 8-12

Death and dying

Death and dying

  • The Next Place, by Warren Hanson
    Description: A story of 'the next place' – a place of light and hope where earthly hurt is left behind in a celebration of life. Death is presented in this story in a non-religious way.
    Ages: 4+
  • How I Feel: A Coloring Book for Grieving Children, by Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD
    Description: A coloring book presenting many feelings grieving children experience. Includes a guide to read with the child to help share feelings.
    Ages: 3-8
  • Help Me Say Goodbye: Activities for Helping Kids Cope When a Special Person Dies, by Janis Silverman
    Description: An art book encouraging children to express their feelings in words or pictures. Topics include: what to say or do, feelings, remembering the special friend or relative.
    Ages: 4-10
  • Gentle Willow: A Story for Children About Dying, by Joyce C. Mills, PhD
    Description: A story of a tree and her friends in the forest—it addresses feelings of sadness, love, disbelief, and anger, and provides children with a way to view death and dying.
    Ages: 4-8
  • I Miss You: A First Look at Death, by Pat Thomas
    Description: A picture book talking about death in a simple and realistic way for young children.
    Ages: 4-8
  • Sad Isn't Bad, by Michaelene Mundy
    Description: Coping with loss, children learn what they need to know about loss.
    Ages: 4-8
  • When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death, by Laurie Kransy Brown and Marc Brown
    Description: A guide to helping children understand what death means and how to cope with feelings.
    Ages: 4-10
  • Where Do People Go When They Die?, by Mindy Avra Portnoy
    Description: A book that shares the numerous responses children receive when asking about death. In this book, children ask various adults and themselves, "Where do people go when they die?". Each response is different and reflects various beliefs about death. Suggestions on how to help explain death to children are also included.
    Ages: 5+
  • What Does That Mean? : A Dictionary of Death, Dying and Grief Terms for Grieving Children and Those Who Love Them. A Centering Corporation Resource, by Harold Ivan Smith and Joy Johnson
    Description: A dictionary guide for talking with children about topics related to death and dying.
    Ages: 6+
  • The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, by Leo Buscalgia, PhD
    Description: A story and description of the seasons of life and death through nature and a leaf named Freddie.
    Ages: 5-9
  • Healing Your Grieving Heart For Kids: 100 Practical Ideas, by Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD
    Description: A book of 100 ideas to help children express their grief.
    Ages: 6-12
  • Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children, by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen
    Description: A story about life and death using nature, animals and people - beginnings, endings and living in between.
    Ages: 5-10
  • The Tenth Good Thing about Barney, by Judith Viorst
    Description: A boy whose cat has died learns to understand death as he remembers all the good things about his cat Barney.
    Ages: 5-9
  • What's Heaven?, by Maria Shriver
    Description: A daughter learns about coping with death and heaven when her great-grandmother dies.
    Ages: 5-9
  • What on Earth Do you Do When Someone Dies, by Trevor Romain
    Description: A collection of questions and answers children often ask as well as suggestions for coping with death.
    Ages: 8-12
  • Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss, by Pat Schweibert, Chuck Deklyen, and Taylor Bills
    Description: Presentation of the ongoing journey of healing and grief through a grandmother in her preparation of making tear soup. Additional resources provided at the end of the book for support and coping of different 'cooks' (if the child is the cook, if there are two of you cooking, if your friend is making tear soup...).
    Ages: 9-12
  • Teenagers Talk about Grief, by June Cerza Kolf
    Description: Teens talk about the many difficult emotions they faced when coping with the death of a loved one.
    Ages: 13+
  • Say Goodnight, Gracie, by Julie Reece Deaver
    Description: A chapter book about teen best friends that are always together until one friend dies and the other must learn to grieve and cope with this loss.
    Ages: 13+
  • Healing Your Grieving Heart For Teens: 100 Practical Ideas, by Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD
    Description: A book of 100 ideas to help teens express their grief.
    Ages: 13+
  • When a Friend Dies: A Book for Teens about Grieving and Healing, by Marilyn E. Gootman, Ed. D.
    Description: A simple book on helping teens cope with the sadness and begin to heal with the loss of a friend.
    Ages: 13+
  • Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
    Description: Two best friends in the 5th grade build a magical kingdom in the woods until one day a terrible tragedy occurs and one child must finally understand the strength and courage Leslie has given him.
    Ages: 13+

Activity books

  • The Grief Bubble: Helping Kids Explore and Understand Grief, by Kerry DeBay
    Description: An activity book for writing and drawing on the topics of 'normal' life before the death of someone special, feelings, what is different after the death, grief, and the 'new normal'.
    Ages: 6-10
  • Remember...A Child Remembers, by Enid Samuel-Traisman, MSW
    Description: A Centering Corporation Resource. Write-in memory book for bereaved children to help cope with loss and continue memories. The pages include writing about the person's life and death, a goodbye letter, a story about us, pages to draw the service, being angry, and being happy.
    Ages: 8-12
  • Fire In My Heart, Ice In My Veins, by Enid Samuel-Traisman, MSW
    Description: A Centering Corporation Resource. Journal for teenagers experiencing a loss. For the writer to journal about themselves and the person who died, feelings, and coping.
    Ages: 13+

Books for parents

  • Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby, by Deborah L. Davis, PhD
    Description: A book for parents experiencing the heartache of miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death.
  • Safe Passage: Words to Help the Grieving Hold Fast and Let Go, by Molly Fumia
    Description: A book of meditations on grieving.
  • The Worst Loss: How Families Heal from the Death of a Child, by Barbara D. Rosof
    Description: A book on parental bereavement.

The death of a grandparent

  • When your Grandparent Dies: A Child's Guide to Good Grief, by Victoria Ryan
    Description: A guide that spans from the terminal illness of a grandfather to the grandfathers death with pages on saying goodbye, it's okay to cry, what dying means, heaven, feelings, it's not your fault, talking, funeral - references to heaven and God. (This book may be more helpful to read in sections with your child than at one time).
    Ages: 5-9

The death of a parent

  • Mama's Going to Heaven Soon, by Kathe Martin Copeland
    Description: A story about the upcoming death of a parent, a mother who is terminally ill. Talking about feelings related to understanding the terminal illness, death and questions about what will happen when the mother dies - reference to heaven.
    Ages: 5-9

Pregnancy loss

  • Something Happened, by Cathy Blanford
    Description: A book for children and parents who have experienced pregnancy loss.
    Ages: 4-10

Returning to school after a death

  • Grief Comes to Class: An Educator's Guide, by Majel Gliko-Braden
    Description: A Centering Corporation Resource. A resource for school personnel and classroom teacher for support of bereaved students as well as resources for parents of grieving students as they re-enter the school environment after the death of a loved one.

Medical visits


  • The Berenstein Bears Go to the Dentist, by Stan & Jan Berenstein
    Description: This is a great book that shows what to expect when visiting the dentist for a check-up, filling a cavity, wiggling a lose tooth and getting a visit from the tooth fairy.
    Ages: 3-8
  • Going to the Dentist, by Anne Civardi
    Description: In this book the Judd family goes to visit the dentist where they learn what to expect when getting a check-up and filling a cavity.
    Ages: 3-8

General Hospitalization

  • Clifford Visits the Hospital, by Norman Bridwell
    Description: Clifford, the small red puppy, visits the hospital, cheers up patients, and gets into all kinds of trouble.
    Ages: 3-6
  • Franklin Goes to the Hospital, by Paulette Bourgeois
    Description: Franklin's shell has cracked and he has to go to the hospital to get better.
    Ages: 3-6
  • Little Critter: My Trip to the Hospital, by Mercer Mayer
    Description: Little Critter breaks his leg in a soccer game and has to make his first trip to the hospital. Little Critter rides an ambulance, meets the doctors, gets x-rays, and a cast.
    Ages: 3-8
  • Going to the Hospital Sticker Book, by Anne Civardi
    Description: This book introduces kids to the unfamiliar setting of the hospital. Stickers can be used throughout the story to replace key words.
    Ages: 4-8
  • Do I Have to Go to the Hospital, by Pat Thomas
    Description: This book helps kids understand that sometimes, when they are sick, it is best that they go to a hospital. They can make new friends, have visitors, get special care from doctors and nurses--and best of all, get well again.
    Ages: 4-8

Going to the doctor

  • Corduroy Goes to the Doctor, by Don Freeman
    Description: Corduroy visits the doctor in this board book and finds out that the medical staff is nice and friendly. During his visit he gets a shot and is praised.
    Ages: 0-5
  • Pooh Plays Doctor, by Kathleen Zoehfeld
    Description: Pooh and his friends pretend to play doctor. Pooh learns about visiting the doctor and faces his fears of getting a shot.
    Ages: 1-5
  • Pooh Visits the Doctor, by Kathleen Zoehfeld
    Description: Pooh goes to visit the doctor for a check-up. While there, he realizes that a doctor's visit is easier than he imagined. Pooh gets a shot and he is proud of himself after the visit.
    Ages: 1-5
  • The Berenstein Bears Go to the Doctor, by Stan & Jan Berenstein
    Description: This book shows what to expect when visiting the doctor for a check-up. Brother and Sister are worried at first but realize visiting the doctor is easier than they thought.
    Ages: 3-8
  • Going to the Doctor, by Anne Civardi
    Description: The Jay family goes to visit the doctor who helps them all to feel better.
    Ages: 3-8
  • Nicky Goes to the Doctor, by Richard Scarry
    Description: n this book Nicky goes to the doctor for a check-up. He learns that the medical staff is nice, finds out everything is okay at the doctor's, and goes home to tell his siblings all about his visit.
    Ages: 3-8


  • Curious George Goes to the Hospital, by H.A. Rey
    Description: Learn about the hospital as George goes in for surgery to remove a puzzle piece he has eaten.
    Ages: 3-8
  • Little Critter: My Trip to the Hospital, by Mercer Mayer
    Description: Little Critter breaks his leg in a soccer game and has to make his first trip to the hospital. Little Critter rides an ambulance, meets the doctors, gets x-rays, and a cast.
    Ages: 3-8
  • Tubes in My Ears: My Trip to the Hospital, by Virginia Dooley
    Description: Find out what to expect when following Luke through his surgical trip to get ear tubes
    Ages: 4-8
  • Good-Bye Tonsils!, by Juliana Lee Hatkoff and Craig Hatkoff
    Description: Explains the surgical experience for a little girl getting her tonsils out.
    Ages: 7-12
  • Alfred Goes to the Hospital, by Dr. Lawrence Balter
    Description: This story shows children that they can face hospitalization and surgery. Practical tips for parents and teachers follow the story.
    Ages: 8-12
  • Brave Little Megan, by Alison Brock
    Description: Megan needs back surgery. This book explores her journey through surgery and hospitalization.
    Ages: 8-12

Hospitalization and surgery books for siblings

  • What about Me? When Brothers and Sisters Get Sick, by Allan Peterkin, MD
    Description: A young girl learns to cope with her brother being ill and the emotions that go along with it.
    Ages: 4-8
  • My Brother Needs an Operation, by Anna Marie Jaworski
    Description: Joey's life changes when his little brother, Alex, goes to the hospital. This book deals with the feelings and changes in daily routine that siblings face during a brother's or sister's hospitalization. Includes information for parents, questions for the reader, a hospital diary, and activities.
    Ages: 4-8
  • When Molly was in the Hospital: A Book for Siblings, by Debbie Duncan
    Description: Hospitalization of a child can cause chaos in even the closest of families; this story addresses feelings of worry, guilt, loneliness and jealousy experienced by siblings.
    Ages: 5-10

Relaxation and coping

  • Angry Octopus, by Lori Lite
    Description: Children will be able to relate to the angry octopus in this story as the sea child shows him how to calm down and manage his anger. This book gives ideas on how to focus different muscle groups to help rest mind and body.
    Ages: 4-8
  • A Boy and a Turtle, by Lori Lite
    Description: This book uses imagination to help kids work towards a healthy life.
    Ages: 4-8
  • Bubble Riding, by Lori Lite
    Description: This book helps children in learning how to relax.
    Ages: 4-8
  • Can You Imagine?, by Harold H. Hopfe
    Description: The stories in this book use the imagination, while at the same time being fun.
    Ages: 4-8
  • The Goodnight Caterpillar, by Lori Lite
    Description: This story teaches your child to relax the body so he/she can fall asleep.
    Ages: 4-8
  • Sea Otter Cove, by Lori Lite
    Description: Easy breathing encourages your child to slow down, relax, and fall asleep.
    Ages: 4-8
  • Imagine a Rainbow: A Child's Guide for Soothing Pain, by Brenda S. Miles, PhD
    Description: This book will introduce you and your child to the idea of using imagination to help relax or cope with discomfort.
    Ages: 4-8

Special needs


  • Andy and His Yellow Frisbee, by Mary Thompson
    Description: Explains autism to readers through the eyes of an older sister.
    Ages: 5-12
  • Looking after Louis: Inclusion, by Lesley Ely
    Description: A story about a child with autism and the support of his classmates. Focuses on the hard times other children have with "breaking the rules for special people".
    Ages: 5-10
  • Russell's World: A Story About Autism, by Charles Amenta
    Description: Kids can see just what Russell and his family experience as well as the surprises and challenges that can come with autism.
    Ages: 6-12

Autism books for siblings

  • Ian's Walk: Story About Autism, by Laurie Lears
    Description: This story is about family relationships and highlights the emotions Julie feels about her autistic brother.
    Ages: 5-10

Down Syndrome

  • My Friend Isabelle: A friend with Down Syndrome, by Eliza Woloson
    Description: This book teaches about differences and how to accept others.
    Ages: 4-8
  • My Friend has Down Syndrome, by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos
    Description: Tammy, who has Down syndrome, goes to summer camp. Part of the "Let's Talk about it!" Series.
    Ages: 5-10

Down Syndrome books for siblings

  • We'll Paint the Octopus Red, by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen
    Description: Emma learns she will soon be a big sister. When Isaac is born, the family learns that he has Down syndrome.
    Ages: 4-8

General special needs

  • Don't Call Me Special, by Pat Thomas
    Description: This picture book explores questions and concerns about physical disabilities in a simple way.
    Ages: 4-8
  • I Want Your Moo, by Marcella Bakur Weiner
    Description: A book about farm animals that gain the inner strength they have been looking for.
    Ages: 5-10
  • Rolling Along: Story of Taylor and his Wheelchair, by Jamee Riggio Heelan
    Description: Describes a young boy's life with cerebral palsy; his condition, daily activities at home and at school, and his hope for doing things for himself.
    Ages: 5-10
  • We Can Do It! Story of Abilities, by Laura Dwight
    Description: This book shows children with disabilities working with others and doing all of the things that children usually do.
    Ages: 5-10

Special needs books for siblings

  • In Jesse's Shoes, by Beverly Lewis
    Description: Jesse's sister struggles to understand her brother—and the kids who make fun of him.
    Ages: 4-10
  • Views from Our Shoes: Growing Up with a Brother or Sister with Special Needs, by Donald Meyer
    Description: A collection of 45 essays by children and young adults who have a sibling with special needs.
    Ages: 14+, adults

When a parent is ill

Books for children

  • Someone I Love is Sick: Helping Very Young Children Cope with Cancer in the Family, by Kathleen McCue, MA, LSW, CCLS (from the Gathering Place)
    Description: Self made book to help young children cope when a parent or grandparent has cancer.
    Ages: 2-6
  • Mommy Has to Stay in Bed, by Annette Rivlin-Gutman
    Description: For young children faced with the difficulty of having a parent on bed rest.
    Ages: 4-8
  • When Pete's Dad Got Sick: A Book About Chronic Illness, by Kathleen Long Bostrom
    Description: A story to help children understand and accept a chronically ill parent.
    Ages: 4-8
  • You Are the Best Medicine, by Julie Aigner Clark
    Description: A mother tells her young daughter how she helps her copes with having cancer and that her daughter is the best medicine for her.
    Ages: 4-8
  • The Memory Box, by Mary Bahr
    Description: This is a picture book that tells the story of a grandfather and his grandson creating a memory box together. They fill the box with written memories and trinkets. The grandmother explains that they will later be able to use the memory box to help grandpa remember and then later to help themselves remember. This book specifically references Alzheimer's Disease, but it could easily be used for dementia or other diseases with memory loss.
    Ages: 5-12

Books for parents

  • How to Help Children Through a Parent's Serious Illness, by Kathleen McCue, MA, CCLS
    Description: This book can help you help your child cope when a parent is diagnosed with a life threatening or chronic illness.
  • When a Parent Has Cancer: A Guide to Caring for Your Children, by Wendy Schlessel Harpham, MD
    Description: This books offers advice for raising children while struggling with a potentially life-threatening illness.