Stories about: Parenting

Reading to teach and heal: More books for 8-12 year olds

Middle-schooler reading book in winter

The holiday season is a time to reflect, find gratitude and show kindness, especially to those who may be struggling. It’s also a great time to escape the chaos and hunker down with a good book.

Why not do both?

Today, there are more and more books about children and teens coping with physical and mental health issues that help young readers empathize with these characters but also relate, especially if they’re faced with a similar condition. We’ve selected five books that will not only make great gifts for the kids on your list, but also will stay with them long after those holiday decorations are put away.


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Supporting Latino families: The power of relationships

Spanish-speaking staff and parents support Latino families at Boston Children's Hospital.
Cecilia Matos and Sara Diaz support Spanish-speaking families at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Navigating a child’s medical journey can be difficult on any parent. But for a mother or father not familiar with the U.S. healthcare system or whose first language isn’t English, the journey is much more complex.

Just ask one of the attendees at Fuente de Luz (“Fountain of Light”), the monthly informational group for Spanish-speaking families at Boston Children’s Hospital. On the first Tuesday of every month, around eight to ten Latino mothers — and occasionally fathers — get together to share their experiences and receive support from each other. There are hands to pass tissues and hold onto others; una familia formed from shared experiences.

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Parent-to-parent: Tips for Home Parenteral Nutrition families

Toddler using parenteral nutrition smiles while making bird house

Four-year-old Thomas Onorato is a young zoologist at heart. Often seen with binoculars in hand, the adventurous preschooler is particularly drawn to bird watching. He enjoys talking about his feathery friends and studying their beauty and habitat.

Thomas’ love of animals runs so deep that he says he wants to be a veterinarian when he grows up. “Thomas is obsessed with animals. It’s his love,” says his mother, Melissa.

Beyond his quest to care for animals, Thomas has two other important missions — to manage the rare condition, microvillus inclusion disease (MVID) and receive the lifesaving parenteral nutrition (PN) support he needs to grow and thrive.

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Fighting for the next family: Mom’s experience inspires nutrition support guidelines

Michelle fought to ensure that her twins receive the nutrition support they need at school for short bowel syndrome.

As Michelle Marti watched her twin sons, Nicholas and Max, run around the playground, she worried. To a stranger — like the representative of their local school’s Planning and Placement Team (PPT), there to evaluate the boys’ eligibility for special needs services in kindergarten — they looked like any other kids having fun. But their playfulness masked a serious illness: short bowel syndrome, the result of a condition called Hirschsprung’s disease. “They look healthy on the outside because all of their medical differences are under their clothes,” admits Michelle.

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