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Children's Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock (CHad)
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Recommended Books

Children in costume

There are many wonderful books available to share with your child or friends and family that will help you to discuss events such as going to the hospital, surgery, serious illness, death and dying, and what it is like being a sibling of a hospitalized child.

See our catalog of books organized by category:

Chronic Illness


  • The Lion Who Had Asthma

    By Jonathan London and Nadine Bernard Westcott

    Description: During an attack of asthma, the lion of Sean's fantasy stops roaring. He wheezes, feels tired, and wants to cry. Sean's mother shows up with a nebulizer, but Sean is the one who turns it on, and as he breathes deeply, he becomes a jet pilot.

    Ages: 4-8

  • Taking Asthma to School

    By Barbara Mitchell

    Description: This book will help children and parents discuss asthma with schoolmates and classroom teachers. Includes "Ten Tips for Teachers" and "Kids Quiz".

    Ages: 4-8

  • So You Have Asthma Too!

    By Nancy Sander

    Description: A child's look at asthma. Understanding what asthma is, how to live with it, and realizing you can still do most things other kids can do.

    Ages: 5-10

  • Breathe Easy

    By Jonathan Weiss

    Description: Practical and personal guide for young people who have asthma. Techniques to control and live with asthma. Filled with illustrations, diagrams, and self quizzes.

    Ages: 8-14

Belly Issues

  • The Gas We Pass

    By Shinta Cho

    Description: A simple explanation of human and animal gas. A basic diagram shows the passage of food and air through the body.

    Ages: 4-6

  • Where's the Poop

    By Julie Markers

    Description: Reinforces the concept of toilet training, by showing children that all creatures have a place to poop: tigers in the jungle, kangaroos in the outback, and monkeys in the rainforest.

    Ages: 4-6

  • It Hurts When I Poop: Children Who are Scared to Use the Potty

    By Howard Bennett

    Description: Ryan is scared to use the potty. This story, along with Ryan's "poop program," will help young children gain the confidence they need to overcome this common problem and establish healthy habits.

    Ages: 4-12

  • The Moose with Loose Poops

    By Charlotte Cowan

    Description: Four-year-old Miles develops a tummy ache while on a family picnic in Maine. His planned camping trip with Papa (complete with canoeing and fishing) is delayed when he starts throwing up (oops!) and gets diarrhea (loose poops). Mama, Papa and Lucy Moose take excellent care of Miles at home with the help of their pediatrician, Dr. Hippo. Miles recovers in time to camp with Papa under a special, star filled sky.

    Ages: 4-10

  • The Truth about POOP!

    By Susan Goodman

    Description: This book provides an interesting view and history of poop. There are fun facts for both humans and animals.

    Ages: 6-up


  • Chemo to the Rescue! A Children's Book About Leukemia

    By Mary Brent and Caitlin Knutsson

    Description: Kyle, a boy with leukemia, teaches you about cancer, blood cells, treatment and side effects.

    Ages: 4-8

  • Henry and the White Wolf

    By Tyler Karu and Tim Karubr

    Description: A courageous hedgehog copes with fear and change in his health with the support of friends and his good luck stone.

    Ages: 4-8

  • Kathy's Hats, A Story of Hope

    By Trudy Krisher

    Description: A girl diagnosed with cancer learns to cope with emotions and side effects of treatments.

    Ages: 4-8

  • Why, Charlie Brown, Why?

    By Charles M. Schulz

    Description: Charlie Brown and his friends learn about cancer when their friend and classmate Janice is diagnosed with leukemia.

    Ages: 4-8

  • Taking Cancer to School

    By Cynthia S. Henry and Kim Gosselin

    Description: Max learns about cancer when he is diagnosed with leukemia and teaches his classmates about it.

    Ages: 5-10

Cancer Sibling Books

  • Oliver's Story For "Sibs" of Kids with Cancer

    By Michael Dodd

    Description: A boy tells the story of when his younger sister had cancer and the emotions he had during her treatments and hospitalizations.

    Ages: 4-8

  • What About Me? When Brothers and Sisters Get Sick

    By Allan Peterkin, MD

    Description: A young girl learns to cope with her brother being ill and the emotions that go along with it.

    Ages: 4-8

  • Stevie's New Blood

    By Kathryn Ulberg Lilleby

    Description: Stevie is having a bone marrow transplant to help cure his leukemia, and his sister Anna is his donor. This book teaches about the bone marrow transplant process.

    Ages: 5-12

Cystic Fibrosis

  • Cadberry's Letters

    By Jennifer Racek

    Description: Cadberry discovers what C and F really mean and how those two tiny letters affect so much of his life.

    Ages: 4-8

  • Mallory's 65 Roses

    By Diane Shader Smith

    Description: Mallory, a little girl with cystic fibrosis (CF), explains her condition in her own words, in a way that is easier for children to understand and helpful for adults.

    Ages: 4-8

  • Taking Cystic Fibrosis to School

    By Cynthia Henry

    Description: Explains and normalizes cystic fibrosis for children.

    Ages: 4-8


  • Rufus Comes Home

    By Kim Gosselin

    Description: Rufus helps the child, family, and friends deal with this disease in an informative way that is neither too medical nor too simple.

    Ages: 4-8

  • Even Little Kids Get Diabetes

    By Connie Piner

    Description: For children who have recently learned that they have diabetes, it discusses symptoms, procedures, and treatment.

    Ages: 8-11

  • It's Time to Learn About Diabetes

    By Jean Betschart-Roemer

    Description: When kids find out they have diabetes, they often have questions about what it is and how they got it. This book is an easy-to-use guide that explains diabetes in simple terms, showing school-age kids how to help take care of themselves.

    Ages: 8-11

  • Lara Takes Charge

    By Sally Huss

    Description: Friendly pictures with lots of color are used to tell the story of Lara, a little girl with diabetes. Lara tells all the things she does that regular kids do—run, swim, dance—and she talks about her insulin pump and doing blood tests. *Especially for kids with insulin pumps.

    Ages: 8-11

  • My Sister Rose Has Diabetes

    By Monica Driscoll Beatty

    Description: This book describes the impact of diabetes on the entire family and why some family routines change to meet Rose's needs.

    Ages: 8-11

  • Taking Diabetes to School

    By Kim Gosselin

    Description: This book allows elementary school students to teach their classmates about diabetes.

    Ages: 8-11


  • Taking Seizure Disorders to School: A Story About Epilepsy

    By Kim Gosselin

    Description: Jamie has epilepsy and wants her classmates to know about seizures.  She shares with them what they should do if she has a seizure, that she can participate in the same activities as her peers, and that she and her classmates are a lot like one another.

    Ages: 8-12

Death and Dying

Death and Dying

  • The Next Place

    By Warren Hanson

    Description: A story of 'the next place' – a place of light and hope where earthly hurt is left behind in a celebration of life. Death is presented in this story in a non-religious way.

    Ages: 4 and up

  • How I Feel: A Coloring Book for Grieving Children

    By Alan D. Wolfelt, PH.D

    Description: A coloring book presenting many feelings grieving children experience. Includes a guide to read with the child to help share feelings.

    Ages: 3-8

  • Help Me Say Goodbye: Activities for Helping Kids Cope When a Special Person Dies

    By Janis Silverman

    Description: An art book encouraging children to express their feelings in words or pictures. Topics include: what to say or do, feelings, remembering the special friend or relative.

    Ages: 4-10

  • Gentle Willow: A Story for Children About Dying

    By Joyce C. Mills, PH.D

    Description: A story of a tree and her friends in the forest—it addresses feelings of sadness, love, disbelief, and anger, and provides children with a way to view death and dying.

    Ages: 4-8

  • I Miss You: A First Look at Death

    By Pat Thomas

    Description: A picture book talking about death in a simple and realistic way for young children.

    Ages: 4-8

  • Sad Isn't Bad

    By Michaelene Mundy

    Description: Coping with loss, children learn what they need to know about loss.

    Ages: 4-8

  • When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death

    By Laurie Kransy Brown and Marc Brown

    Description: A guide to helping children understand what death means and how to cope with feelings.

    Ages: 4-10

  • Where Do People Go When They Die?

    By Mindy Avra Portnoy

    Description: A book that shares the numerous responses children receive when asking about death. In this book, children ask various adults and themselves, "Where do people go when they die?". Each response is different and reflects various beliefs about death. Suggestions on how to help explain death to children are also included.

    Ages: 5 and up

  • What Does That Mean? : A Dictionary of Death, Dying and Grief Terms for Grieving Children and Those Who Love Them. A Centering Corporation Resource

    By Harold Ivan Smith and Joy Johnson

    Description: A dictionary guide for talking with children about topics related to death and dying.

    Ages: 6 and up

  • The Fall of Freddie the Leaf

    By Leo Buscalgia, Ph.D

    Description: A story and description of the seasons of life and death through nature and a leaf named Freddie.

    Ages: 5-9

  • Healing Your Grieving Heart For Kids: 100 Practical Ideas

    By Alan D. Wolfelt, PH.D.

    Description: A book of 100 ideas to help children express their grief.

    Ages: 6-12

  • Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children

    By Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen

    Description: A story about life and death using nature, animals and people - beginnings, endings and living in between.

    Ages: 5-10

  • The Tenth Good Thing about Barney

    By Judith Viorst

    Description: A boy whose cat has died learns to understand death as he remembers all the good things about his cat Barney.

    Ages: 5-9

  • What's Heaven?

    By Maria Shriver

    Description: A daughter learns about coping with death and heaven when her great-grandmother dies.

    Ages: 5-9

  • What on Earth Do you Do When Someone Dies

    By Trevor Romain

    Description: A collection of questions and answers children often ask as well as suggestions for coping with death.

    Ages: 8-12

  • Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss

    By Pat Schweibert, Chuck Deklyen, Taylor Bills

    Description: Presentation of the ongoing journey of healing and grief through a grandmother in her preparation of making tear soup. Additional resources provided at the end of the book for support and coping of different 'cooks' (if the child is the cook, if there are two of you cooking, if your friend is making tear soup...).

    Ages: 9-12

  • Teenagers Talk about Grief

    By June Cerza Kolf

    Description: Teens talk about the many difficult emotions they faced when coping with the death of a loved one.

    Ages: 13 and up

  • Say Goodnight, Gracie

    By Julie Reece Deaver

    Description: A chapter book about teen best friends that are always together until one friend dies and the other must learn to grieve and cope with this loss.

    Ages: 13 and up

  • Healing Your Grieving Heart For Teens: 100 Practical Ideas

    By Alan D. Wolfelt, PH.D

    Description: A book of 100 ideas to help teens express their grief.

    Ages: 13 and up

  • When a Friend Dies, A Book for Teens about Grieving and Healing.

    By Marilyn E. Gootman, Ed. D.

    Description: A simple book on helping teens cope with the sadness and begin to heal with the loss of a friend.

    Ages: 13 and up

  • Bridge to Terabithia

    By Katherine Paterson

    Description: Two best friends in the 5th grade build a magical kingdom in the woods until one day a terrible tragedy occurs and one child must finally understand the strength and courage Leslie has given him.

    Ages: 13 and up

Activity Books on Death and Dying

  • The Grief Bubble: Helping Kids Explore and Understand Grief

    By Kerry DeBay

    Description: An activity book for writing and drawing on the topics of 'normal' life before the death of someone special, feelings, what is different after the death, grief, and the 'new normal'.

    Ages: 6-10

  • Remember...A Child Remembers.

    By Enid Samuel-Traisman, MSW

    Description: A Centering Corporation Resource. Write-in memory book for bereaved children to help cope with loss and continue memories. The pages include writing about the person's life and death, a goodbye letter, a story about us, pages to draw the service, being angry, and being happy.

    Ages: 8-12

  • Fire In My Heart, Ice In My Veins.

    By Enid Samuel-Traisman, MSW

    Description: A Centering Corporation Resource. Journal for teenagers experiencing a loss. For the writer to journal about themselves and the person who died, feelings, and coping.

    Ages: 13 and up

Books for Parents

  • Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby

    By Deborah L. Davis, Ph.D

    Description: A book for parents experiencing the heartache of miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death.

  • Safe Passage: Words to Help the Grieving Hold Fast and Let Go.

    By Molly Fumia

    Description: A book of meditations on grieving.

  • The Worst Loss: How Families Heal from the Death of a Child

    By Barbara D. Rosof

    Description: A book on parental bereavement.

The Death of a Grandparent

  • When your Grandparent Dies: A Child's Guide to Good Grief

    By Victoria Ryan

    Description: A guide that spans from the terminal illness of a grandfather to the grandfathers death with pages on saying goodbye, it's okay to cry, what dying means, heaven, feelings, it's not your fault, talking, funeral - references to heaven and God. (This book may be more helpful to read in sections with your child than at one time).

    Ages: 5-9

The Death of a Parent

  • Mama's Going to Heaven Soon

    By Kathe Martin Copeland

    Description: A story about the upcoming death of a parent, a mother who is terminally ill. Talking about feelings related to understanding the terminal illness, death and questions about what will happen when the mother dies - reference to heaven.

    Ages: 5-9

Pregnancy Loss

  • Something Happened

    By Cathy Blanford

    Description: A book for children and parents who have experienced pregnancy loss.

    Ages: 4-10

Returning to School After a Death

  • Grief Comes to Class: An Educator's Guide

    By Majel Gliko-Braden

    A Centering Corporation Resource. A resource for school personnel and classroom teacher for support of bereaved students as well as resources for parents of grieving students as they re-enter the school environment after the death of a loved one.

Medical Visits


  • The Berenstein Bears Go to the Dentist

    By Stan & Jan Berenstein

    Description: This is a great book that shows what to expect when visiting the dentist for a check-up, filling a cavity, wiggling a lose tooth and getting a visit from the tooth fairy.

    Ages: 3-8

  • Going to the Dentist

    By Anne Civardi

    Description: In this book the Judd family goes to visit the dentist where they learn what to expect when getting a check-up and filling a cavity.

    Ages: 3-8

General Hospitalization

  • Clifford Visits the Hospital

    By Norman Bridwell

    Description: Clifford, the small red puppy, visits the hospital, cheers up patients, and gets into all kinds of trouble.

    Ages: 3-6

  • Franklin Goes to the Hospital

    By Paulette Bourgeois

    Description: Franklin's shell has cracked and he has to go to the hospital to get better.

    Ages: 3-6

  • Little Critter: My Trip to the Hospital

    By Mercer Mayer

    Description: Little Critter breaks his leg in a soccer game and has to make his first trip to the hospital. Little Critter rides an ambulance, meets the doctors, gets x-rays, and a cast.

    Ages: 3-8

  • Going to the Hospital Sticker Book

    By Anne Civardi

    Description: This book introduces kids to the unfamiliar setting of the hospital. Stickers can be used throughout the story to replace key words.

    Ages: 4-8

  • Do I Have to Go to the Hospital

    By Pat Thomas

    Description: This book helps kids understand that sometimes, when they are sick, it is best that they go to a hospital. They can make new friends, have visitors, get special care from doctors and nurses--and best of all, get well again.

    Ages: 4-8

Going to the Doctor

  • Corduroy Goes to the Doctor

    By Don Freeman

    Description: Corduroy visits the doctor in this board book and finds out that the medical staff is nice and friendly. During his visit he gets a shot and is praised.

    Ages: 0-5

  • Pooh Plays Doctor

    By Kathleen Zoehfeld

    Description: Pooh and his friends pretend to play doctor. Pooh learns about visiting the doctor and faces his fears of getting a shot.

    Ages: 1-5

  • Pooh Visits the Doctor

    By Kathleen Zoehfeld

    Description: Pooh goes to visit the doctor for a check-up. While there, he realizes that a doctor's visit is easier than he imagined. Pooh gets a shot and he is proud of himself after the visit.

    Ages: 1-5

  • The Berenstain Bears Go to the Doctor

    By Stan & Jan Berenstein

    Description: This book shows what to expect when visiting the doctor for a check-up. Brother and Sister are worried at first but realize visiting the doctor is easier than they thought.

    Ages: 3-8

  • Going to the Doctor

    By Anne Civardi

    Description: The Jay family goes to visit the doctor who helps them all to feel better.

    Ages: 3-8

  • Nicky Goes to the Doctor

    By Richard Scarry

    Description: In this book Nicky goes to the doctor for a check-up. He learns that the medical staff is nice, finds out everything is okay at the doctor's, and goes home to tell his siblings all about his visit.

    Ages: 3-8


  • Curious George Goes to the Hospital

    By H.A. Rey

    Description: Learn about the hospital as George goes in for surgery to remove a puzzle piece he has eaten.

    Ages: 3-8

  • Little Critter: My Trip to the Hospital

    By Mercer Mayer

    Description: Little Critter breaks his leg in a soccer game and has to make his first trip to the hospital. Little Critter rides an ambulance, meets the doctors, gets x-rays, and a cast.

    Ages: 3-8

  • Tubes in My Ears: My Trip to the Hospital

    By Virginia Dooley

    Description: Find out what to expect when following Luke through his surgical trip to get ear tubes.

    Ages: 4-8

  • Good-Bye Tonsils!

    By Juliana Lee Hatkoff and Craig Hatkoff

    Description: Explains the surgical experience for a little girl getting her tonsils out.

    Ages: 7-12

  • Alfred Goes to the Hospital

    By Dr. Lawrence Balter

    Description:  This story shows children that they can face hospitalization and surgery. Practical tips for parents and teachers follow the story.

    Ages: 8-12

  • Brave Little Megan

    By Alison Brock

    Description: Megan needs back surgery. This book explores her journey through surgery and hospitalization.

    Ages: 8-12

Hospitalization and Surgery Books for Siblings

  • What about Me? When Brothers and Sisters Get Sick

    By Allan Peterkin, MD

    Description: A young girl learns to cope with her brother being ill and the emotions that go along with it.

    Ages: 4-8

  • My Brother Needs an Operation

    By Anna Marie Jaworski

    Description: Joey's life changes when his little brother, Alex, goes to the hospital. This book deals with the feelings and changes in daily routine that siblings face during a brother's or sister's hospitalization. Includes information for parents, questions for the reader, a hospital diary, and activities.

    Ages: 4-8

  • When Molly was in the Hospital: A Book for Siblings

    By Debbie Duncan

    Description: Hospitalization of a child can cause chaos in even the closest of families; this story addresses feelings of worry, guilt, loneliness and jealousy experienced by siblings.

    Ages: 5-10

Relaxation and Coping

Relaxation and Coping

  • Angry Octopus

    By Lori Lite

    Description: Children will be able to relate to the angry octopus in this story as the sea child shows him how to calm down and manage his anger. This book gives ideas on how to focus different muscle groups to help rest mind and body.

    Ages: 4-8

  • A Boy and a Turtle

    By Lori Lite

    Description: This book uses imagination to help kids work towards a healthy life.

    Ages: 4-8

  • Bubble Riding

    By Lori Lite

    Description: This book helps children in learning how to relax.

    Ages: 4-8

  • Can You Imagine?

    By Harold H. Hopfe

    Description: The stories in this book use the imagination, while at the same time being fun.

    Ages: 4-8

  • The Goodnight Caterpillar

    By Lori Lite

    Description: This story teaches your child to relax the body so he/she can fall asleep.

    Ages: 4-8

  • Sea Otter Cove

    By Lori Lite

    Description: Easy breathing encourages your child to slow down, relax, and fall asleep.

    Ages: 4-8

  • Imagine a Rainbow: A Child's Guide for Soothing Pain

    By Brenda S. Miles, PH. D.

    Description: This book will introduce you and your child to the idea of using imagination to help relax or cope with discomfort.

    Ages: 4-8

Special Needs


  • Andy and His Yellow Frisbee

    By Mary Thompson

    Description: Explains autism to readers through the eyes of an older sister.

    Ages: 5-12

  • Looking after Louis: Inclusion

    By Lesley Ely

    Description: A story about a child with autism and the support of his classmates. Focuses on the hard times other children have with "breaking the rules for special people".

    Ages: 5-10

  • Russell's World: A Story About Autism

    By Charles Amenta

    Description: Kids can see just what Russell and his family experience as well as the surprises and challenges that can come with autism.

    Ages: 6-12

Autism Sibling Books

  • Ian's Walk: Story About Autism

    By Laurie Lears

    Description: This story is about family relationships and highlights the emotions Julie feels about her autistic brother.

    Ages: 5-10

Down Syndrome

  • My Friend Isabelle: A friend with Down Syndrome

    By Eliza Woloson

    Description: This book teaches about differences and how to accept others.

    Ages: 4-8

  • My Friend has Down Syndrome

    By Jennifer Moore-Mallinos

    Description: Tammy, who has Down syndrome, goes to summer camp. Part of the "Let's Talk about it!" Series.

    Ages: 5-10

Down Syndrome Sibling Book

  • We'll Paint the Octopus Red

    By Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen

    Description: Emma learns she will soon be a big sister. When Isaac is born, the family learns that he has Down syndrome.

    Ages: 4-8

General Special Needs

  • Don't Call Me Special

    By Pat Thomas

    Description: This picture book explores questions and concerns about physical disabilities in a simple way.

    Ages: 4-8

  • I Want Your Moo

    By Marcella Bakur Weiner

    Description: A book about farm animals that gain the inner strength they have been looking for.

    Ages: 5-10

  • Rolling Along: Story of Taylor and his Wheelchair

    By Jamee Riggio Heelan

    Description: Describes a young boy's life with cerebral palsy; his condition, daily activities at home and at school, and his hope for doing things for himself.

    Ages: 5-10

  • We Can Do It! Story of Abilities

    By Laura Dwight

    Description: This book shows children with disabilities working with others and doing all of the things that children usually do.

    Ages: 5-10

Special Needs Sibling Books

  • In Jesse's Shoes

    By Beverly Lewis

    Description: Jesse's sister struggles to understand her brother—and the kids who make fun of him.

    Ages: 4-10

  • Views from Our Shoes: Growing Up with a Brother or Sister with Special Needs

    By Donald Meyer

    Description: A collection of 45 essays by children and young adults who have a sibling with special needs.

    Ages: 14+, adults

When a Parent is Ill

When a Parent is Ill (for children)

  • Someone I Love is Sick: Helping Very Young Children Cope with Cancer in the Family

    By Kathleen McCue, MA, LSW, CCLS (from the Gathering Place)

    Description: Self made book to help young children cope when a parent or grandparent has cancer.

    Ages: 2-6

  • Mommy Has to Stay in Bed

    By Annette Rivlin-Gutman

    Description: For young children faced with the difficulty of having a parent on bed rest.

    Ages: 4-8

  • When Pete's Dad Got Sick: A Book About Chronic Illness

    By Kathleen Long Bostrom

    Description: A story to help children understand and accept a chronically ill parent.

    Ages: 4-8

  • You Are the Best Medicine

    By Julie Aigner Clark

    Description: A mother tells her young daughter how she helps her copes with having cancer and that her daughter is the best medicine for her.

    Ages: 4-8

  • The Memory Box

    By Mary Bahr

    Description: This is a picture book that tells the story of a grandfather and his grandson creating a memory box together. They fill the box with written memories and trinkets. The grandmother explains that they will later be able to use the memory box to help grandpa remember and then later to help themselves remember. This book specifically references Alzheimer's Disease, but it could easily be used for dementia or other diseases with memory loss.

    Ages: 5-12

When a Parent is Ill (for parents)

  • How to Help Children Through a Parent's Serious Illness

    By Kathleen McCue, MA, CCLS

    Description: This book can help you help your child cope when a parent is diagnosed with a life threatening or chronic illness.

  • When a Parent Has Cancer A Guide to Caring for Your Children

    By Wendy Schlessel Harpham, M.D.

    Description: This books offers advice for raising children while struggling with a potentially life-threatening illness.

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