Sunday, October 16, 2011

Nowhere Hair ~ by Sue Glader

Nowhere Hair ~ by Sue Glader, illustrated by Edith Buenen, 2011, children's
This is the story of a young girl who tries unsuccessfully to find her mother's missing hair, only to learn that medicine has made it fall out. She learns that she didn't cause the cancer, she can't catch it, and Mommy is still very much up for the job of mothering. The book, written in rhyme, explains hats, scarves, wigs, going bald in public, and the idea of being nice to people who may look a little different than you. It ends with the idea that what is inside of us is far more important than how we look on the outside. It's silly, and touching, and real.
"Let your hair down, and let yourself go" is a refrain in this video.

I came to this post in a roundabout way.  I am reading a book whose main character has survived cancer, so obviously, chemotherapy was mentioned.  Think of the word itself, its syllables:  che-mo-ther-a-py.  Long words are the ones most likely to by hyphenated in a book.  With the first syllable at the end of one line in my book, the word seemed changed, much as the poetry of e. e. cummings finds new meanings because words are re-arranged on the page.  The second part of this hyphenated word caused my reading to lurch to a stop as I pondered what I was seeing.
Do you see what I saw?  The word "mother" stopped me mid-sentence.
The word's meaning is far from where my thoughts were circling:
chemotherapy = the treatment of disease by means of chemicals that have a specific toxic effect upon the disease-producing microorganisms or that selectively destroy cancerous tissue
I re-read the sentence to assure myself it had nothing to do with mother or mothering, even though "mother" is in the middle of that word.  Am I too easily distracted when the layout of a sentence — when a word must be split — derails my attention from the story?

I googled "mother chemotherapy" and this book popped up.  I've never seen it, and there's no copy at my library (I checked).  But doesn't it seem like a perfectly wonderful book?  Especially since October is breast cancer awareness month.


Helen's Book Blog said...

I am so glad to hear that someone has written such a wonderful book about chemotherapy on a parent so that kids can begin to understand the changes taking place!

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Me, too, Helen! It seems perfect for younger kids who still read picture books. I wonder if there is something comparable for slightly older kids, as well.