Bald is Beautiful: A Letter for a Fabulous Girl

“An Inspiring Story for Us All”

Review by Joey Madia

Carola Schmidt, a pediatric oncology pharmacist and author of several children’s books, including others on cancer, brings hope and passion to all of her works. She has been on the front lines and has used both her expertise in the field (she also writes nonfiction for the scientific mega-publisher Springer) and her big heart to craft stories that inspire confidence and positive action.

Bald is Beautiful: A Letter for a Fabulous Girl reinforces the positive feedback and support that everyone needs—most especially youth battling cancer. Since the biblical story of Samson and Delilah, power and identity have been associated with hair. And, as we know from personal experience and film/TV, cancer treatment often leads to hair loss.

When the heroine of the story is faced with losing her hair, it is an opportunity, not to mourn loss, but to have a Hat and Scarf Shower to celebrate creativity and self-expression. Many of us have hat and scarf collections. They help to express our identity and can open wide the doors of possibility for the imagination. Continue reading

When a Brave Bear Fights Cancer

“Making it All Seem Better”

Review by Joey Madia

It is a joy when two authors you admire for their positive messaging and high level of craft join forces—especially for a cause as worthwhile as childhood cancer.

Carola Schmidt is a pediatric oncology pharmacist and author of several children’s books, two of which are about her Ukrainian grandmother and her experiences leaving Ukraine and coming to American to escape the atrocities being committed by the Russian army, and then returning to Ukraine decades later. She is also the author of Bald is Beautiful, which is a letter to a young person with cancer.

When a Brave Bear Fights Cancer is filled with photographs by Mark O’Dwyer, the author of the Mawson the Bear children’s series. Mawson—sort of a Winnie the Pooh, especially when considered through the lens of books like The Tao of Pooh—is a dreamer and seeker who is a big fan of naps and working with his equally inquisitive friends to explore just what it is that drives and fulfills us.

The cover advertises this beautiful collaboration as a “Get Well Soon Gift,” appropriate for those five years old to 100+. It truly is generation spanning and a perfect opportunity for all the members of one’s family—and friends—to sit together and learn about the cancer treatment journey. Written in simple, effective language, the book starts at initial diagnosis and goes through the various treatments one many encounter. The text and photographs work together to demystify complex ideas, soften the edge of what can be a scary idea through use of adorable bears, and to provide visuals of the doctor’s office and other venues. Continue reading