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You Are the Best Medicine Hardcover – September 7, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #476,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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 amazon.com 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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sorry to not give a good review, others seemed to like it...aside from another I saw saying their young one was confused. I should've listened because this not worth $10! Maybe .99. Many kids books are 99.-2.99. This is minimal in length, there's no way it's worth $10. I was willing to pay ten because I wanted one to read that day to my son. I've been dealing with chemo for about a year and lately he's had some behavior issues I thought maybe he is worried. Heard the mother at the end is OK in this and I thought it will be good to reassure him . The woman was right who wrote about a young Toddler and not being able to understand the perspective . It doesn't really explain the cancer whatsoever or even mention cancer . I mean it's cute in theory that She talks of how these things well reminds her of her child when she was a baby , like when it says medicine will make me sick and it will make me lose my hair and then I will remember when you were a bald baby . . I just mentions being sick and some medicine but I wanted more about cancer . I also thought my son would like the baby part because lately he likes it when I talk about when he is a baby . But he could not make the connection that was the little girl in fact connections were confusing him . Knows I have no hair and he's absolutely fine with it and still calls me is pretty mama In the book when he saw the mama would know here taking medicine that made it fallout and then write the baby then he started saying why does the baby have no hair, and asked me if he was going to lose his hair . At four he could make the connection and it just confused him and he didn't even seem to like it .Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this with my 6-year-old after surgery #1, before surgery #2 and chemo/radiation.

It was incredibly helpful for him, also for both of us parents to read/bond with him. The book covers things like fatigue, baldness, etc but in a positive light - "when my hair is gone I will remember when you were a bald little baby." It's VERY sweet and hopeful, and set a tone of "we will get through this, no need to fear."

We also offered for him to take the book to school to read with his teacher. It gives others an "in" to listen for what he needs to be saying.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful book for a mom with breast cancer. I bought this when my 40 year old daughter was diagnosed to read to her 5 year old daughter. It took us awhile to read it to her as pretty emotional but when the time was right it was perfect. I would recommend this highly to any woman with young children undergoing breast cancer. It's been a year and my daughter is doing well as is my grandaughter!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have lymphoma and my son is five years old. It features a mom and young daughter. Pleasant illustrations. It talks about how the mom has cancer and doesn't always feel good but explains how thoughts or time with her daughter cheers her up. It lifted my spirits too.
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Format: Hardcover
Not exactly what I was hoping. The book focuses more on cancer than I thought it would. I was hoping it covered lots of chronic illnesses, but it is cancer specific. The content is very good! it gives a good run down of what can happen during cancer. It is written in a very kid friendly way!
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Format: Hardcover
How do you break the news and tell your children that you have breast cancer? This has to be the most difficult thing a mother has to deal with. Author and breast cancer survivor Julie Aigner Clark's book, You are the Best Medicine, is by far the best book on the topic of breast cancer.

The author chronicles her experience as she explains to her daughter that she has cancer. Watching a parent go through cancer treatment is not something any child should have to endure. The author does an outstanding job showing how her daughter helps nurture her while undergoing cancer treatment.

I love the soft and sweet tone of the book. The author manages to show how both mother and child need comforting in this difficult time. The title of the book speaks volume, as it is a great reminder that love and kindness is by far a very powerful and most important medicine. I love the positive tone of the story too. The author shows that one should never give up on hope, even in a potentially life-ending situation like cancer. This is my favorite part of the book:

"And then I will be well. And I will think of all the happiest times that we have had, like birthday parties and swimming and hide-and-go seek, and I will think of all the happy times we are going to have together tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that."

This book will make a great gift for family or friends who have been diagnosed with cancer. The soft illustrations bring the delicate story to life. The author gives a portion of the proceeds to UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. The center is well known for its pioneering role in developing life-saving cancer treatments.

Article first published as Book Review: You Are the Best Medicine by Julie Aigner Clark on Blogcritics.
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