acceptance, Childhood Cancer, coronavirus, Parenting, Uncategorized

Living with uncertainty in the time of the coronavirus

The Buffalo News published one of my essays today. It parallels the country’s reaction to COVID-19 with my daughter’s leukemia diagnosis, and how we can utilize long-term thinking strategies for dealing with the related anxiety.

MY VIEW

Living with uncertainty in age of coronavirus

Over the last week, a feeling of apprehension has swept over the country. With the coronavirus infecting thousands of Americans and cities taking drastic measures to slow the spread, citizens rush to combat this pandemic. We scramble for some sense of control, bury our fears and hope that life will soon return to normal.

It won’t.

The current reaction to COVID-19 reminds me of how I felt six years ago when my daughter…

Click here to read the entire piece.

books, Children with Incarcerated Parents, Criminal Justice, Education

Using FROM THE DESK OF ZOE WASHINGTON to Teach About Criminal Justice

If you’re considering using literature to help middle schoolers critically engage in learning about criminal justice, From the Desk of Zoe Washington is a great vehicle to do so. I wrote a blog post with many suggestions for incorporating this book into the classroom and with middle schoolers. Click here to read it.

From debut author Janae Marks comes a captivating mystery full of heart, as one courageous girl questions assumptions, searches for the truth, and does what she believes is right—even in the face of great opposition.

books, Uncategorized

Snow Day: a modern Hansel and Gretel tale

It may be fall, but Snow Day is now available! This is my latest book for Teacher Created Materials, and it was a blast to write. Because it’s based on my actual children and Buffalo weather, this one’s even more special to me. Here’s the overview:

Snow Day
snow_day
This early chapter book features full-color illustrations to capture the attention of 4th-6th grade children who enjoy modern retellings of classic tales. In this spin on Hansel and Gretel, Lia and Tim are playing outside on a snow day when they get lost in the woods. They find a candy shop owned by the mysterious Mr. Gretel, who gives them as much candy as they can eat. But they’ll have to rely on their own smarts when it comes to getting home! Kids will be captivated by this fast-paced adventure story that appeals to reluctant readers.

Should you read it, or any of my work, I’d love to hear your reactions.

 

books, Childhood Cancer

Will Jax Be Home for Thanksgiving?

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. As such, I want to let you know about a new picture book coming out this November: Will Jax Be Home for Thanksgiving? Written by Samarrah Fine Clayman and illustrated by Amy Preveza, this tender story showcases the love a sister holds for her younger brother, who has a brain tumor.

Jax Cover

Will Jax Be Home for Thanksgiving? is told through the older sister’s point of view, a perspective often lost when families are dealing with the pain and worry over a child undergoing cancer treatment. The short, inquisitive sentences and descriptions are realistic: “Are the doctors nice?” “Will you be home for Thanksgiving?” “The next week, Mom and Dad keep taking turns sleeping at the hospital.”

If you are looking for a book for siblings of childhood cancer patients, this is a good one to explain what could happen with family dynamics. Given a scary environment filled with changes and uncertainty, Clayman’s child-friendly language and Preveza’s bright colors make for an optimistic, hopeful read.

Further, Clayman writes with authority on the subject, as she pulls from her own experience. In 2017, her 23-month-old son was diagnosed with an ependymoma, a rare brain tumor found mainly in young children. While the treatment involves surgery and radiation, the tumor can often reoccur, and there is no cure. For this reason, she and her husband created The Ependymoma Research Foundation, and all profits from the sale of this book will be donated there.

For more information on the author, visit www.SamarrahFineClayman.org.

For more information on the illustrator, visit www.amypreveza.com.