Cancer Hates Kisses

Three months after the birth of my daughter, Penelope James, I found a lump in my left breast and it was cancer.

Cancer Hates Kisses is the story of how my daughter, with her smiles and laughter and snuggles and love, helped me to be a cancer-fighting superhero. I found that spending time with my daughter, even if all we were doing was snuggling in a chair and reading because I was too weak to do anything else, was incredibly healing.

Mama is a cancer-fighting superhero. A superhero is brave. All day long she kicks cancer’s butt.

Cancer Hates Kisses flips the traditional cancer script. It is not a sad story; it is an empowering one. It is a story that recognizes that it takes superhero strength to kick cancer’s butt and be a parent. It is a story that celebrates how children, with their smiles, laughter, joy, hugs, kisses, and love are the best possible medicine. Indeed my own daughter gave me the courage to wake up each day and fight cancer with every ounce of my being. Cancer Hates Kisses demystifies cancer for children, using simple language to discuss really complicated subjects like surgery, chemotherapy, hair loss, and radiation. It prepares children for what will likely come with a cancer diagnosis, be it any type of cancer, but also provides them with simple strategies to support their loved one. For example, there will be scars after surgery, but these scars are warrior wounds. Kiss these warrior wounds because cancer hates kisses!

Mama has scars after her surgery. “These are warrior wounds,” she says. We kiss Mama’s warrior wounds. Cancer hates kisses.

Cancer Hates Kisses applies to anyone with cancer. It was inspired by my battle with breast cancer, but it is written in order to apply to any type of cancer. The genre I chose is a picture book for children, but it’s just as much a story for adults. We all struggle when someone we love faces a diagnosis of cancer and the subsequent battle. This book is meant to inspire empathy in readers and to provide simple, tangible mechanisms by which to support a loved one through an immensely difficult time.
This book will be released September 19, 2017. A portion of my proceeds will be donated to Mt. Sinai’s Dubin Breast Center, where I was treated, and Penguin Random House will donate a portion of proceeds to the American Cancer Society.