This is the tale of a young boy whose older sister gets cancer and, from his perspective, too much of their family's attention. Written and illustrated by Sally Loughridge, the book focuses on the emotional impact of his sister's illness and treatment on him. The author's unique background as a professional artist, cancer survivor, and retired clinical child psychologist enriches the story and the art.
When a child has a critical illness, parents must cope with the diagnosis, the treatment course, and their own emotional responses, but as importantly, each child's understanding, reactions, and adjustment. Young siblings may feel abandoned amid intense parental attention to a sick brother or sister. They may envy the special treatment a sibling receives, even stays on a pediatric ward. They may believe that they caused the illness because they were mean to a sibling. They may be scared they too will become ill or even die. Emotions often vacillate quickly, from sadness to anger, envy to worry. In the face of such a crisis, emotional development may even be temporarily derailed.
"Daniel and His Starry Night Blanket" can help children feel more comfortable speaking about their feelings, enable family discussion about difficult health matters, model strategies for parents, and increase siblings' understanding of one another.