Book Reviews: You Are The Best Medicine and Brushing Mom's Hair

You Are the Best Medicine
Author: Julie Aigner Clark
Illustrated by Jana Christy
Interest Level: Ages 4-8

From the Book Jacket: Watching a parent go through cancer treatment is scary. In this courageous and sensitive book, cancer survivor Julie Clark creates sweet and poignant memories that remind us how children can nurture their mommies at a time when optimism and love are most needed. Watch the book trailer below...

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Since I review children's books from a bibliotherapy perspective, I'm solely focused on the emotional aspect it offers to a child. Author Julie Aigner Clark has survived breast cancer twice - and after reading You Are The Best Medicine it is clear she knows exactly what healing words children need to hear from a parent during cancer, emotional safety, honesty, and happiness. Cancer and happiness?? Yes, I said it - happiness. Because throughout the story, the mom keeps touching upon how the thought of her daughter brings her such happiness and keeps her going. The best medicine is her loving relationship with her precious child. I believe it's also the best medicine for the child. This is perfect bibliotherapy. What a beautiful reminder to stay focused on the positive. 

Brushing Mom's Hair
Author: Andrea Cheng
Illustrated by Nicole Wong
Interest Level: Ages 9 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Ann is just short of fifteen when Mom is diagnosed with breast cancer. How can she tell the girls in her ballet class that her mother had her breasts cut off? Her matter-of-fact sister, Jane, takes charge at home; her brother, Nick, calls from California; Dad helps when he can, as do friends, teachers, and relatives. Still, Ann is consumed with worry. Who's going to make sure that Mom drinks enough water, like the doctor said? Unless she is dancing or making pottery, Ann feels completely alone. She has a book that says "Don't sweat the small stuff. And it's all small stuff." Even cancer?

Why It's On My Bookshelf: It is possible for a book to reach out and touch a child's soul. Brushing Mom's Hair is phenomenal and it reaches out and just embraces the child. The author's own treatment of breast cancer and it's impact on her daughter are what make it so real. I'm always in awe of how poetry, when written from the heart, can be so healing. I'm also grateful this was written for teenagers because I get so many emails asking for more recommendations for this age level. This is an easy one to recommend. Andrea Cheng does not sugar coat her words or talk down to the reader. I thank her for that. I can see this inspiring a child/young adult to write their own poetry, journal, open up conversation, or just make them feel okay. I feel lucky to have this one on my shelf.

A Link to This Book:


  1. These both look wonderful! So sweet. Have you read the book Someday? I'm sure you have...probably even written about it. Not so sure it is on your shelf but one of my 3 year old and 5 year old just cry every time I read it so I keep it for myself most of the time. :)

  2. I have read and reviewed that gem. I love it too! You are such a good mom. I did an email exchange with Eileen Spinelli about that book. whoa....look at me all bragaroo! ;-)

    I bring that up because she is not just a delight with the words on the pages but personally also! It's easy to see how she can write like that.