First-time author McDonald, a three-time cancer survivor, crafts an uplifting children’s story that aims to give hope and inspiration to young people dealing with cancer.
A grandmother tells her life story to her grandchildren in this optimistic book about finding one’s purpose while fighting a dangerous illness. The story is simple and easy to understand, and there’s a quiet artfulness to Nana’s voice. At one point, she tells how she found out that she had cancer for the first time, when she was 3 years old: “[The doctor] felt my tummy and said, ‘You have a Wilms tumor and need to have an operation....But this was a long time ago, and no one ever said the word ‘cancer’ or talked about it. I was just told I had a tumor and its name was Wilms.” But although she receives treatment and spends significant time in the hospital, it never deters her from setting out to do what she wants to do—dance. Nana also finds strength and comfort in religion, which plays a big role in her recovery. The cancer returns when Nana is a young woman, but she has already achieved her goal of a dancing career and has traveled in Europe and started a family; once again, her faith and perseverance keep her spirits up. Now that she’s an old woman, Nana says, the cancer has returned for a third time, but she wants to make sure that her grandchildren know that no matter what obstacles life sets in front of them, they should never let it get them down. McDonald’s prose doesn’t shy away from the reality and danger of cancer, but it isn’t glum. This inspiring story and the bright, happy illustrations are likely to appeal to even very young children.
An inspiring children’s book about reaching for one’s dreams.