The Goodbye Cancer Garden

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Janna Matthies
Kristi Valiant


The Goodbye Cancer Garden




Janna Matthies

Kristi Valiant

Published 2011

Age Levels: 6-10, Grades: 1-5
Pages: 32
8.00" x 10.00"
Illustrations: Full color

Accelerated Reader® Points: 0.50
ATOS Level: 3.60

Plot Summary

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 asks. "Not yet," the doctor says. "But we're working very hard to make her better--probably by pumpkin time." That gives Janie an idea: to plant a vegetable garden. As the garden grows, Mom's treatment, chemo, head-shaving, radiation...and when it's all done, there are healthy pumpkins and a recovering Mom!



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


"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." STARRED REVIEW School Library Journal

"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 is a rare youth title about cancer that focuses on recovery rather than dealing only with loss." Booklist

Associated Keywords
Breast cancer, families, gardening, healthy living