Kathy’s Hats: A Story of Hope

Kathy’s Hats:  A Story of Hope

Trudy Krisher, author

Nadine Bernard Westcott, illustrator

Albert Whitman & Company, Fiction, 1992

Suitable for: Ages 6-10

Themes:  Childhood cancer, Hair Loss, Hope, Self-esteem

Opening/Synopsis: “When I was born, I was almost bald.  My mother tied a tiny green ribbon to my little puff of fuzz.  This was my first hat.”  Kathy has a hat for every occasion.  Then one day when Kathy turns 9 years old, she finds out she has cancer.  Because of her cancer she feels angry, sick and scared.  There are some moving lines in the story:  “I didn’t like it when they poked me with needles to put the medicine in…I didn’t like it when I felt sick from the medicine…and the worst thing about the medicine was that it made my hair fall out.”   Kathy’s mother buys her lots of hats to cover her bald head, but she looses interest in her hats.  One day Kathy puts a bear pin on her hat and all her friends begin to give her pins for her hat.  They rally behind her on her journey.

Why I like this book:  I remember when this book first came out.  The author is from my home town and I went to a book signing to get copies for two children who were dealing with cancer and the aftermath of the chemo therapy.  I loved the idea of this book because it is so upbeat and encouraging.  I knew it would help them feel less alone.  Since my original purchase, the book has been picked up by a larger publisher and more text added.   Nadine’s illustrations are colorful and support the realistic, but positive story line.  Trudy wrote the book for her daughter who had cancer.  This is an outstanding book to help students in the classroom understand what a classmate with cancer is going through.  I highly recommend it.

Resources:  September was National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.  I discovered  a wonderful curriculum for teachers to use in the classroom at the Live Strong at School website.    For parents resources  visit the National Children’s Cancer Society, Childhood Cancer Lifeline,  American Childhood Cancer Organization.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

28 thoughts on “Kathy’s Hats: A Story of Hope

  1. What a moving story Pat! I felt for Kathy and those needles while reading your review. How wonderful that she had something to focus on during those difficult times with her friends rallying around her. This is certainly a great book to both, teach children how they can bring a positive focus, and also understand what someone is going through. (A story from the heart – writing what we know!)
    I was also interested as a writer to hear that the story had more text added to it when it was republished. Thanks for sharing Pat.


  2. Thank you Pat for introducing this book. Our hearts break when we see children so ill. I’ve had the opportunity to do musical storytelling in hospital’s for children in the cancer ward. The children are so brave. It is a joy to see them smile because of a story.


    • Janie, that’s is wonderful that you’ve had an opportunity to do musical storytelling for hospitalized children. It is such an important to give kids a sense of normalcy. Thanks for sharing.


  3. This sounds like such a good book to share with children who are going through cancer treatments — and to share with children whose friend or classmate is dealing with cancer. Thank you.


  4. Patricia, Although I am now a senior citizen, I still read many books, even middle-grade and young adult. Your reviews have stimulated my interest to read even more. As a child, I was a avid reader, but my interests were mostly determined by my parents who were extremely legalistic in thinking. Now, I feel like a child reading books I have recently found, thanks to you. Have a great day! Priscilla Rogers

    The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.

    Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2012 09:01:27 +0000 To: cilrogers@msn.com


    • Priscilla, what a lovely quote. Sounds like you’re playing in the sandbox and having a great time reading children’s books. There are so many wonderful ones out there. We didn’t have the abundance of books kids have today.


  5. This sounds like a wonderful story, Pat, both for kids dealing with cancer themselves and for kids who might know someone who is dealing with cancer. I love that it manages to be upbeat about such a difficult topic.


  6. Very moving, Pat. I want to read this for sure. My closest friend lost her daughter at age 10 from a rare form of ovarian cancer. It was a devastating time. Books like this are so needed for those kids going through cancer, and for those kids around them who don’t understand. And it has to be realistic and not sugar coat things…that wouldn’t be fair to the child with cancer or those around. My friend’s daughter was never able to go back to school after her surgery and treatments due to risk of infection. She was a beautiful child with a beautiful spirit.


    • Penny, I’m glad you liked the book. Will be sharing a different angle tomorrow in my PPBF selection. Sor sorry to hear about your friend’s loss. My friend lost her 8-year-old son to neuroblastoma. I will never forget how hard it was for the family. Books like this are important. Also good for the classroom if a student has cancer.


  7. This book does seem like a good book to help with cancer. Josie saw a doll with no hair in a toy store and she asked why it had no hair. My mom read the box and the doll was made to show kids that sometimes other kids loose their hair because of cancer. I think it is good to tell kids about things like this so they can understand what the kids with cancer are going through.


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