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You Are the Best Medicine Hardcover – September 7, 2010

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Hardcover, September 7, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 3–This book delivers a soothing, lullabylike message from a mother with cancer to her young daughter. Reassuring and tactful, it affirms that love and kindness are the best medicine for anyone who is ill. While Clark addresses scary situations like chemotherapy and hair loss, she does so in a gentle, understanding way. Each of these difficult topics is bridged with memories that the mother has of her daughter as a baby. She explains how her child's first smile, her sweet baby hair, and times she had a cold will help her through her own hardships and fear. A happy ending is included; the mother recovers and rejoices in all the time that she and her daughter will have together in the future. Soft pastel illustrations are as beautiful and gentle as the text, and very child oriented. An important and heartfelt addition for most collections.–Jasmine L. Precopio, Fox Chapel Area School District, Pittsburgh, PAα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Here’s a much-needed book, and one that’s done with lots of love. A mother narrates: “When I tell you I have cancer, I will be sad.” For each moment of hardship, this mother finds a happier time in the life of her and her daughter with which to equate it. When she feels scared, it will remind her of how she could make her frightened child feel safe after a nightmare, and that will calm her. When her hair falls out, she will remember her child’s head as a baby and hope that her hair grows back as beautifully. When she feels sick, she’ll think of the times she took care of her little girl and know just hearing her child’s stories will do the same for her. Then comes hope: “And then I will be well. And I will think of all the happiest times that we have had and the happy times we are going to have.” Soft-edge illustrations, tender in feel and comforting in color, add sweetness to Baby Einstein founder Clark’s story. Sadly, there will be much use for this, but anyone needing to talk to a child about cancer will find the right words here. Grades K-3. --Ilene Cooper

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray; 1st Printing edition (September 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061956449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061956447
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 9.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #217,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L. Ruberto on May 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, and purchased this book to help my 4-year-old daughter understand my illness and treatment. It conveys some basic messages with a very sweet story line. The fact that the mother in the story keeps relating her experiences to her child as a baby really appealed to my daughter; she is at an age where she loves to hear stories about herself as a baby.

I purchased 3 books from on the same subject, and this was my favorite -- and more importantly, her favorite. She actually asks to read "the books about mommy's cancer."

It is important to note that the book does give the idea throughout that the mother will be OK at the end of the chemo treatments and life will go back to normal. My prognosis is very good, so I was comfortable with this message, but if your prognosis is not as positive this book may not be for you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By DClark12 on December 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
At 30, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I bought this book to help my 2.5 year old understand my upcoming mastectomy and chemotherapy. This was a really sweet book and brought tears to my eyes when I read it. However, I returned it because it is not literal enough for a toddler/preschooler. I think an older child (5+) will understand the comparisons between the baby memories and the effects of cancer and treatment, but it's really too abstract for a small child. I returned it and purchased "Mom and the Polka Dot Boo Boo". This book better explains what is happening with simple words.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lori Calabrese "Children's Books Examiner" VINE VOICE on November 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Imagine being a child and watching a parent go through cancer treatment. It can definitely be overwhelming. That's why You Are the Best Medicine by cancer-survivor, Julie Aigner Clark is a must have for a child with a parent who has been diagnosed.

The book follows a mom as she explains to her daughter that she has cancer. As the mom discusses some of the trials and tribulations she'll go through, she relates it back to many of the memories she has of her child: How she will be sad because she's sick, but she'll be happy since it's a sickness her daughter can't catch. How she will feel scared, but will remember all the times her daughter had a nightmare and came into her room to sleep with her. And how she will have to take medicine that makes her lose her hair, but will remember her daughter's sweet little baby head, round and bald.

As it prepares a child for the rough road ahead, it's a great resource to teach children about the importance of love and support. It truly is a wonderful reminder that love and kindness really are the best medicine.
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Format: Hardcover
Mommy pulled her little girl close to nestle and whisper in her ear. She would tell her that she had cancer and be sad. Mommy would say that it was "not a sickness that" her little girl could catch, but it was still important that they share their love together. Her little girl would still "light up [her] whole room" with her smiles as she rested quietly reading a book. A black-eyed Susan and a cuddle would be welcome. Mommy's memory would tell her about those special times when she cuddled her baby and warm her as she felt the love they shared.

Now Mommy would be scared because she'd have to go to the doctor, but she remembered when her little girl was scared too. When the nightmare woke her, it was time to nestle in bed together. Mommy thought, "Your skin was as soft as a butterfly's wing, and you curled against me and we felt safe." Now it was her daughter's turn to make Mommy "feel sweet and safe." Things would be scary, but it would be a special time for mother and daughter. The medicine would make Mommy feel ill and the hair would fall out, but that wonderful hat would make things feel better. It was a time to remember and a time to become close.

This is a beautiful story about how a little girl helps love and nurture her mother as she journeys through cancer treatment. The tone of the story is very soft and comforting, a feeling that both a parent and child will need as they travel the very difficult road of cancer. Not only does the child need comforting, but also the parent during times of uncertainty. The artwork is soothing and joyous. I loved the remembrances of when Mommy had to sooth her little one or recalled especially memorable, poignant moments of loving times. Both the author and illustrator have been touched by cancer, either personally or in their family. A portion of the proceeds from this book go to UCLA's Johnsson Comprehensive Cancer Center for research.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Books That Heal Kids on December 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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 that's also the best medicine for the child. This is perfect bibliotherapy. What a beautiful reminder to stay focused on the positive.
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