Here to Help: Coping with Serious Illness

By sharing stories together and having conversations about the books you read, you can help young children understand the world around them. Seeing diverse experiences represented in books helps children to explore their own identities and develop empathy for others.

It can be difficult to talk with a young child about serious illnesses, such as Cancer, Depression, PTSD or Dementia. Reading about characters who are navigating these and other experience can help children work through feelings and better understand what is happening.

Not every book is available at all locations, but any title can be requested. The children’s librarian at your neighborhood library is also here to help, with suggestions for additional titles on topics of interest–or feel free to suggest some titles to us.  New books are always being added to the collection. You can find more Here to Help booklists on different topics by clicking here.

Cancer Hates Kisses

As Mom goes through treatment for cancer, her family supports her with what cancer hates most: love.

Forget Me Not (Picture Book)

Young Julia comes to terms with the changes in her beloved grandmother, whose Alzheimer’s Disease makes it hard for her to remember people and things.

My Grandpa

An elderly grandfather bear and his adoring grandson share a special relationship.

My Little Grandmother Often Forgets

Tom’s grandmother is very forgetful and repeats herself often, but as long as he is there to help her, everything works out just fine.

The Purple Balloon

Easy-to-read text reveals that dying is hard work, for the old and especially the young, and how good it is that so many people help when a person dies, from medical staff to clergy and friends to family members.


Toby loves his big sister Clemmie. She always looks after him and he looks after her – even when her disability means she has to go to the hospital again.

Why Are You So Sad? A Child's Book About Parental Depression

Defines depression, identifies depression treatments, and provides many self-help options for those coping with a depressed parent. Includes a note to parents and spaces for writing questions or drawing to help express emotions and concerns.

You Are the Best Medicine

A mother who has cancer gently informs her child of what the effects will be, and reminds her little one of all the special times they have shared, and will continue to share, even while she undergoes treatment.