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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Author Carla Mooney Talks About Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Most people know what this stands for:

But what about this one?

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Many people don’t even realize that childhood cancer has its own “month” and a gold ribbon symbol. Yet many of us have been impacted by childhood cancer, either in our own families or in people we know. Cancer is the #1 disease killer of children in the United States, and even through survival rates are improving, about ¼ of children diagnosed with cancer will die within five years.

My own experience with childhood cancer began when my son Daniel was diagnosed with leukemia at 19 months of age. We quickly learned that he was one of the “lucky” ones – he had a type of leukemia (acute lymphoblastic leukemia or ALL) which has a higher survival rate. Yet I will never forget a conversation with one of his doctors, where she told us that he had a 75 percent chance of surviving for 5 years. For me, that 25 percent loomed too big and menacing over our Daniel. With great understanding, the doctor acknowledged our fears and said quite simply, “But for each family, it’s either 100 percent or nothing.” How true. Statistics mean nothing when a child has cancer. Either that child beats it or they don’t. And that is why raising awareness and research for childhood cancer is so important. So that every family can have their 100 percent.

Our journey through cancer has been tough and heartbreaking at times. We have gotten to know many children and families who did not win their battle. Yet we’ve also gotten to see the strength, kindness, and generosity of family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers. And through this experience, I was able to write Samson’s Tale. I hope that this book can be one piece of my “paying it forward” and helping someone else who may be going through similar experiences.

If you didn’t know, 30 percent of the proceeds of sales of Samson’s Tale go to Flashes of Hope, a national nonprofit that changes the way children with cancer and other life threatening illnesses see themselves through the gift of photography and raises money for pediatric cancer research. Consider buying a copy for your home school library. If you want, you might even ask your school or community librarians to contact Follett Library Resources to purchase Samson's Tale for their shelves.

Did You Know?

• Each school day, 46 children are diagnosed with cancer, and 1 in 330 children will develop cancer by age 20.

• On the average 12,500 children and teens will be diagnosed with some form of cancer each year in this country.

• Currently there are between 30-40,000 children undergoing cancer treatment in the U.S.

• Research funds are scarce, because most money goes to adult forms of cancer, such as breast and prostate.

• Over the past two decades, only ONE new cancer drug has been approved for pediatric use.

~Carla Mooney

(Visit Carla on the web at

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Young Illustrators Inspired by Samson's Tale

Kathleen Spale recently visited an elementary school where students participated in illustrating their favorite pets, which was inspired by a reading of our famous Samson's Tale.  Here is a sampling of their wonderful drawings, each one unique and special.  I must say, I think there may be some future illustrators in this group.  These students have certainly inspired me!

Happy creating,

Monday, September 12, 2011

The 57th Street Children's Book Fair with Kathleen Spale!

Kathleen Spale, illustrator of Samson's Tale, will be at The 57th Street Children's Book Fair on September 18, 2011.  So if you are in the area, stop by to see her this Sunday from 5:00 pm until 6:00 pm at the SCBWI booth.

The 57th Street Children's Book Fair  began 25 years ago as a back-to-school celebration.  The Fair hosts dozens of local booksellers and community organizations.  Thousands are expected to attend the fair, which includes a huge selection of books, reading-related activities, live entertainment, and refreshments!



Friday, September 2, 2011

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month with Samson's Tale

In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I think back to the cancer survival stories that touched my life.  I knew a few amazing children who were dealt the hardship of battling cancer.  I was always amazed at their courage and determination.  It was an odd mix of fear, worry, curiosity and admiration I had for these friends.  How could you be healthy one day, and then suddenly sick with cancer the next?  And how could you be sick and go to school at the same time, or miss weeks of school and then bounce back strong and hopeful?  How could one have a head full of beautiful hair and then become bald?  As children, it's hard to understand the hows and whys of childhood cancer.  As an adult, it is even more difficult to comprehend why this has to happen to children in the first place.  But resilience is a beautiful thing...and it's amazing to hear stories of how strong these children can be.

Way back when, I remember a smart, happy boy who lived up the street from me.  I had such a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that he had cancer, one because he was just a kid like me, and two because he was so positive and was almost easy to forget he was sick.  There were times he would be "out of sight" for weeks because of treatments, then the cancer would go into remission and he would be on the bus again, happy to return to school, talking and dreaming about things that were important to him, like sports.  He was brave and mature beyond his years.  The last I remember, he was cancer free.  I can still see that smile on his face.      

Sadly, thousands of children are diagnosed with cancer each year.  It is an astonishing and heart-aching amount.  Carla Mooney, the author of Samson's Tale, is a mother who understands what it's like to have a child who has battled cancer.  Her very own son inspired her to write this amazing story.  We invite you to check out Samson's Tale in support of children with cancer.  And in case you didn't know, 30% of the proceeds from book sales go to Flashes of Hope, a wonderful organization that changes the way children with cancer and other life threatening illnesses see themselves through the gift of photography, all while raising money for pediatric cancer research.  You might even consider buying a copy of Samson's Tale for your home library or for the library at your child's school.  If you want, you might even ask your school or community librarians to contact Follett Library Resources to purchase Samson's Tale for their shelves.

To those brave children fighting the good are my heroes!

Editor, Story Pie Press