Author, Susanne Gervay admits that writing her latest book, Always Jack has been a hard ride.
When I first was diagnosed with breast cancer and my kids were 6 and 9 years old, I was overwhelmed by the thought of leaving my children. They were part of the journey , but it was hard to deal with their needs, when I faced tough surgery and post operative complications.
Then when I got it again when my kids were in their teens, it was even harder. They were in that middle of search for identity and I had to survive.
I got beast cancer again recently. It was time to write Always Jack for kids and parents and also to invite the school and community into the journey. Story journey is such a powerful way to engage young people and empower them to make positive choices.
I led the Relay for Life with my family at Centennial Parklands Sydney this year celebrating and commemorating those touched by cancer.
ABOUT ALWAYS JACK
It’s about a great kid Jack who was nspired by my great son, Jack-Jamie. He’s like all kids – tells jokes, laughs, plays sport – surfs, does his special things – inventing. He has a great younger sister – inspired by my daughter. There’s his step-Dad is around and a Nanna who’s aging and is loving and deaf and there for them. There’s Mum (me) and then there’s the crisis, breast cancer.
Always Jack is about giving kids’ feelings validation, working out it out, as a family and community.
WHY KIDS WILL LIKE ALWAYS JACK
Because they are Jack or his sister or their friend. Kids know Jack. It’s a story they can jump into and feel and laugh with Jack’s jokes or be amazed at his inventions or help their grandparent. It’s their story and it’ll give their emotions an outlet and make life OK.
I LOVE Jack. He’s the everyman of kids –he’s funny, annoying, helpful, unhelpful, emotionally there for his family and friends – he’s a great kid.
TEACHERS NOTES AND CANCER HELPLINE
Teachers notes are available incorporating school curricula, activities and information from the Cancer Council. Importantly there’s the Cancer HELPLINE contact details:- phone 13 11 20
According to Susanne, there’s a missing link in communicating with kids when their parent is touched by cancer.
Always Jack opens its arms to young people and parents making it OK to talk.
The Cancer Council and National Breast & Ovarian Cancer Centre endorsements are very special.
The Cancer Council has such a strong ethos to reach young people with care and hope– Always Jack is now part of that ethos.
Having written Always Jack from her own experiences, Susanne says that it was a difficult but emotionally beautiful ride.
I laughed with the kids about how ‘dumb’ the Mum was at times; and cried with the kids and the Mum too.
Always Jack was written for 9-12 years but adults can read the other story within the text.
Tomorrow at Kids’ Book Capers, I’ll be reviewing Always Jack.