for The Goodbye Cancer Garden by Janna Matthies and Kristi Valiant
In January, Janie’s mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. When the doctor says, “We’re working very hard to make her better—probably by pumpkin time,” Janie gets an idea: a garden! “Watching it grow, and eating healthy veggies, will remind us Mom’s getting better.” In February her mom has surgery. In March, they dig the soil and plan what to plant. In April Janie’s mom starts chemotherapy. May brings weather warm enough for planting. Throughout the summer there are ups and downs for Janie’s mom, but the garden takes root and grows. In August, “We celebrated the end of chemo with a picnic and invited everyone who had helped us.” They eat food from the garden, and continue to share its bounty in September, when Janie’s mom has radiation, on into October. By the time the pumpkins are ripe, her mom’s treatments are finally done. Janna Matthies’s picture book offering an upbeat look at a family coping with illness while acknowledging the difficulties faced along the way is based on her own family’s experiences when she was being treated for breast cancer. (Ages 3–8)
CCBC Choices 2012. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2012. Used with permission.