Review: A Story about Cancer (With a Happy Ending)

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations


Book Title: A Story about Cancer (With a Happy Ending) (Available here)

Author: India Desjardins

Illustrator: Marianne Ferrer

Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Publication Date: January 2019

Most Suitable For: Upper KS2 & KS3

Reviewed By: Nia Talbot, Assistant headteacher and EYFS teacher


A teenage girl walks through the corridors of the hospital that she has been a cancer patient at for the last five years to receive her prognosis. As her parents accompany her, she reminisces, reflects and explores her feelings about the events over this time and what her fate may be. She has had to deal with so much including loss, the expectations of others and guilt.


This book, although short, is packed full of so much emotion. The author’s use of first person and her honest portrayal of the realities of those going through cancer combine to create a powerful prose with which those dealing with this illness could identify and, for those who aren’t, they can gain an understanding of the life of those battling through. “Mum, if I don’t get better, will you be disappointed in me?” the author asks as she explores how to make some sort of sense of what she is dealing with. The illustrations dominate the pages, adding a sense of how much this disease consumes the life of the person and their family, but the use of colour splashed periodically throughout shows a yearning for normality.


Obviously, cancer is an emotive subject and can be difficult to discuss with children but that does not mean that we should shy away from giving children an avenue to explore and discuss. This book is accessible for pupils in upper Key Stage 2 and will lead to questions, queries and comments. Like all books with a sensitive content, I’d recommend teachers read it themselves first.


Curriculum links: PHSE



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You can order A Story About Cancer online or from your local bookshop or library.



Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Nia for reviewing it.

Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, BooksForTopics earns from qualifying purchases.  Click here to learn more. 

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