A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd.
A Monster Calls is a wonderful, dark and hopeful tale. Conor wakes up in the middle of the night anticipating the arrival of a monster. A monster that takes the shape of a yew tree. His only solace from the monster comes during the day, however, this is what he has to confront the fact that his mother is battling cancer and has become weaker and sicker due to the treatments that are supposed to help her. It has been going on for awhile and Conor seems to have called upon this monster to help him...and her.
A Monster Calls is beautifully illustrated by Jim Kay. His illustrations are dark and inky and convey the fear and pain that Conor is experiencing.
This is a very difficult book to read if you have ever experienced someone battling cancer. It really reminded me of my own experience when my dad was fighting stomach cancer. The anger, the fear, the loss, it is all here. However, it is a good way to help kids understand that it is ok to feel angry, to think those thoughts that they do not want to speak and to not feel guilty for wanting to let their loved one go. Honestly, I bawled after I finished this book, but I am glad, that there is a book like this out there that kids and adults can read to help them cope with the journey of losing a loved one who is fighting a disease.