Friday, February 29, 2008

Care Pages...resource for parents with ill children

I want to encourage parents with a child who is chronically or terminally ill to consider creating a care page for their child. You can log onto to begin. Care pages give you the opportunity to update family and friends with news about your child without taking hundreds of phone calls. You can appoint one person to update the page daily or weekly, or you can journal the pages yourself. You can also receive email messages from others to your site, keeping you uplifted with their prayers and support. This service is free to parents, and is supported through hospitals and university hospitals for their patients. Log on and explore the site to connect to other parents going through similar experiences. You can also network with others for more information on your child's illness and treatment.
Today, most hospitals have Internet connections available for parents, computers available, or parents can bring in laptops. The hospital stay for a chronically ill child can be lengthy, so this service is both a blessing and very informative for parents who are staying with the child. Check it out.

Monday, February 25, 2008

great resource for children's writers

Good morning. Here is wishing you a great week with new ideas, lucrative networking connections, and making new friends. I wanted to recommend another helpful web site for the children's writer. You can find this information at

I subscribe to the paper snail mail newsletter as well as the free email newsletter. It has several free downloads and it keeps information fresh and informative. They offer insight into the current market and they also will plug new authors or successful well knowns. Look for contests and other positive ideas as you continue on this writing road.

As I try to find my focus on this writing journey, I wanted to share a somber moment I experienced this week-end, somehow validating my desire to get to the heart of the matter. You know I am a critical care nurse, so my experiences are somewhat unique as well as extreme.

We had a 9 week old infant with multiple anomalies and a micro-sized brain on the unit. She was only 5 pounds, very physically deformed, and was only given hours to a few days to survive. Her parents had her at home, but as the end grew near, felt it more appropriate to have her with us in the intensive care.

We promised she would not be alone and we would love her until the end. And we did. The great nurses that I work with and myself, took turns holding and cuddling that not so cuddly baby. Her nurse dressed her in pink and wrapped her in a soft handmade blanket and we passed her around to whom ever wasn't busy at the moment. That baby was never alone. She was surrounded by nurses who took an oath to love and care for their patients, no matter the circumstances.

Which brings me back to my writing journey... I want to be a voice for children. All children. I want others to read about them, care about them, relate to their circumstances, and somehow be affected by what I write about them. Maybe through that change, the reader can be an example and bring about their own influences to benefit a child. I want to get to the heart of what children feel but cannot always express so they know someone cares.

What is the focus of your writing journey?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Book review

When there is a death of a loved one in a family with children, adults can be at a loss as to how to help the child. Sometimes, a child is devastated by the death of a pet and the parent doesn't always feel the same loss. This can lead to the child feeling lost and misunderstood. Grief is grief no matter who the special someone is and a workbook written by Marge Heegaard titled When Someone Very Special Dies is a great tool to assist the child in dealing with this painful emotion.

The book is aimed at the 6-12 year old who is dealing with loss. It has page after page of places for the child to draw or write their feelings from the prompts on each page. The younger child may need guidance with the written word on each page, but should be encouraged to draw and color independently. Older children can read and understand the text to work on the journal type workbook alone.

The book has written tips for parents. It contains honest explanations and uses common terms like funeral, death, casket, soul, and cremation. It is culturally diverse and leaves many open opportunities for parents or other adults to discuss family beliefs. The book is designed to be worked on over a period of time, not just one sitting. This allows the child time to digest and think about the loss being felt. Grief itself doesn't go away quickly, and the book addresses the feelings of anger and fear that the child may feel weeks after the funeral.

What I love about this book is the positive effect is has in the last few pages as the child is working through his grief. It has the child list good memories and positive influences from the person. Then the child can take these ideas and use them to develop his/her own character. It has the child make another list of people they trust and can talk to about their feelings. It doesn't leave the child hanging or give a magic number of days to stop feeling the pain. It shows the child that they can still have fun and be happy even while experiencing such a loss.

This author has a list of books with similar format for children experiencing divorce, drug and alcohol abuse by family members, and dealing with the remarriage of a parent. Marge Heegaard is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Registered Art Therapist and Certified Grief Counselor in Minneapolis, MN. These materials are available through Woodland Press at the following address and phone number.

Woodland Press

99 Woodland Circle

Minneapolis, MN. 55424


You can also purchase these at your favorite book store or have your librarian order them for your review.

Remember, take the time to deal with the grief yourself , so you can help your child in a healthy way. Be honest with your child and reassuring, always in love. Seek the help of other family members if you are feeling overwhelmed. And seek the assistance of grief counselors or clergy if there are questions your child has that you cannot answer. Honesty really is best.

Blessings and joy!

Parents... go with your gut

I am a mother , grandmother, and pediatric nurse and I still go with my gut when it comes to my children and grandchildren and illness. What I mean by that is I use my knowledge base and assessment skills but I still rely on my inner instincts as my guide to find the appropriate care.

Most parents know that a virus can last 1-4 days. They know a child with a fever not relieved by Tylenol or Motrin and higher than 103 degrees needs to be seen by the family doctor. Parents today understand that you give clear liquids when a child has been vomiting and avoid solid foods for several hours. But in my experience, parents are uncomfortable with questioning a physcian when they don't agree with the diagnosis, and sometimes they don't have the confidence to follow their gut when seeking care for their children.

This especially comes into play when children are in pain. If pain is severe enough for a child to be crying for hours, unable to play or be distracted, or if the pain in not relieved by over the counter pain medications, parents should have the pain evaluated. Pain is the sign of something not right, a warning if you will. And behavior can be a warning also, an important warning if a child in not verbal.

Working in a critical care pediatric unit, I do see the worse case senerios, however, I want parents to be advocates for their children. You know when something is just not right. Recently we had a child who was having balance issues while she walked. Mom took her in to see the doctor at the free clinic several times and was told there was nothing wrong. Finally, she took the bus to our emergency room to have the child evaluated because she just felt something was wrong, and a cat scan showed a brain tumor. This case is extreme, but what I want parents to understand is this.... you are your child's voice when no one else will listen. Be confident in that responsibility and follow your gut. A second opinion is always available if your child does not apear to be getting better from a normal childhood illness.

Resources: American Academy of Pediatrics has a parenting magazine called Healthy Children.
This magazine focuses on all aspects of preventive health and the well being of
children. You can find this magazine at the local library or on the American
Academy of Pediatrics web site. You can also ask you family doctor for more
resources for parents. Parents please speak up!

American Academy of Pediatrics

Monday, February 18, 2008



It is cold and windy here in Indiana with blinding snow flurries. We have had a frightful winter here in the midwest and it has kept me inside glued to my favorite books. There is nothing quite like curling up with a good book in front of the fire......

Alas, I ventured out today on a fieldtrip to Barnes and Noble, another favorite thing for me. I arrived just in time for the toddler story. One of the employees was reading a book on President Abraham Lincoln with such expression, I almost forgot what I came in to research.

The point of all of this conversation is to remind fellow writers to treat yourselves to a fieldtrip...just for fun, just for research, and just to connect with your audience. If you write for adults, enjoy a latte and a good read in a comfy chair at your favorite book store. Listen and watch your adult audience for tips on what they are reading. If you write for young adults, schedule your fieldtrip after school hours or on a school holiday and observe what those readers are choosing. As for me, I sat in on toddler time and it was enlightening. It reminded me what I love about children.... they get excited about everything.

After a toddler review on American Presidents, I sought out the buyer for the childrens' book department. She was available and very willing to discuss her thoughts on what the market needed and where it was saturated with the same old thing. She also was helpful in pointing out her favorite books for each age group and suggested others for the research I originally came in to do.

This fieldtrip did several things. 1. I introduced myself to the most important person at that store who someday may buy my books. 2. It gave me hands on experience with my target readers and their parents. 3. It was fun. 4. It was only an hour of my time but will inspire me for many more with new ideas. 5. I got ideas for research material that I hadn't thought of. AND it was productive. I left with notes, a few books to write reviews on, a new market guide, and more ideas than I had when I went into the store.

I highly recommend giving yourself permission to go on your own fieldtrip. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Book Review

I believe the subject of death is a difficult one for parents to address with their children. I also believe that it should be brought up and discussed long before an incident occurs. That being said, I have just finished a delightful book for readers 8-10 years of age that addresses this issue in a warm and compassionate way.

Remembering Mrs.Rossi by Amy Hest and illustrated by Heather Maione shows the spunky character named Annie dealing with the unexpected loss of her mother at the tender age of 8. It shows Annie experiencing all the emotions one would expect a child to have while dealing with such loss, but it equally shows her father helping her through this tough time. The story is sad, happy, and loving. Remembering and memories become the key to making it through this for Annie and her father. You will fall in love with the character from the very first page.

This book could be read alone or together, maybe a chapter a night during family time. Reading this story will open the door to discussing your family values regarding death and dying, and allow you to share with your child any past experience you have with loss.

I highly recommend this book for this age group. I will be doing reviews on other books for children of all ages that deal with these tough issues. If you have a book you recommend or a book you have written and would like it included, please email me or send comments to the blog. I don't think we ever have enough resources to help our children with the painful realities of life and death, so I welcome your input.

Until next time, Blessings to all for a delightful week-end.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Voice for kids

I am a registered nurse and author interested in being the voice for kids in all kinds of situations. In my line of work I see children dealing with illness, loss, and life with courage, love, anger, and fear. My goal is to reach out to kids to help them deal with their situations. Children of all ages need to know that what they feel is real, is normal, and they are not alone. I find that both fiction and non-fiction writing can ease a child's stress if they can relate to what they read.

On these pages I will give resources for a variety of health and developmental issues, as well as personal accounts from my experiences. I will cover age appropriate resources as well as information for parents and grandparents. I will offer book reviews for text that I find helpful in a given situation, and of course I will include fun, fun, fun.

Check back often for this heartfelt journey.

Blessings to one and all.