The Goodbye Cancer Garden


After Mom and Dad tell Janie and Jeffrey that Mom has Cancer, the whole family goes to the doctor to ask questions. “Is Mom better yet?” Jeffrey asked. “Not yet,” she said. “But we’re working very hard to make her better-probably by pumpkin time.” That gave Janie an idea…the family plants a vegetable garden. As the garden grows, Mom’s treatment progresses…surgery, chemo, head-shaving and other side effects, radiation…and when it’s all done, there are healthy pumpkins and a healthly Mom!

  • 32 Pages
  • 8" x 10"
  • 9780807529942
  • March 2011

Buy from Albert Whitman


  • Smoothly told in a reassuringly matter-of-fact and understated way, this is less a story about cancer than about one family’s response to it…An uplifting, hopeful story, well told and beautifully illustrated.

    - School Library Journal, starred review

  • A family uses creativity and humor to cope with a mother’s breast cancer treatment in this heartening and informed story…The side effects of each stage of treatment are described in a candid yet not alarming manner…wispy illustrations are characterized by frenetic sketchy outlines that initially heighten the children’s nervousness, but later feel suggestive of the family’s energy and hopefulness, which should reassure children facing similar ordeals.

    - Publishers Weekly

  • An unexpectedly upbeat text and delicate illustrations distinguish this story based on the true experiences
    of a family’s journey through breast cancer treatment and recovery…it is a rare youth title about cancer that focuses on recovery rather than dealing only with loss.

    - Booklist

Awards & Accolades

  • CCBC Choices 2012
  • 2011 Best English Language Children's Book, Sharjah International Book Fair


Common Core

RI.2.1,4,6,7,8,9 RI.3.1,2,3,4,5,7,8,9 SL.2.1a,1b,1c,2,3,4 SL.3.1a,1b,1c,1d,2,3,4


  • Accelerated Reader Points: 0.50
  • ATOS Level: 3.60