This is a list of some of the resources available for parents with secondary breast cancer, to help them talk with their children about their illness and future. 

1. Books for parents or carers
2. Books for children
3. Useful organisations and websites
4. Special days and treats
5. Making a memory box
6. Other organisations’ lists of resources

1. Books for parents or carers

Most of the books are available through bookshops and online.

It's also worth speaking to your local librarian or visiting your local cancer information centre, as many will stock and loan a variety of similar books.

  • Talking to Children and Teenagers When an Adult Has Cancer (Macmillan Cancer Support, 2016)
  • How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazilsh (Piccadilly Press, 2012)
  • As Big as it Gets: Supporting a Child When a Parent is Seriously Ill (Winston’s Wish, 2007)
  • What Happens When Someone Dies? Jennie Armstrong (available from See Saw, 2014)
  • Preparing Your Children for Goodbye, Lori Hedderman (Growth House, 2011)

2. Books for children

  • The Secret C: Straight Talking About Cancer, Julie Stokes (Winston’s Wish/Macmillan Cancer Support, 2009)
  • When Your Mum or Dad Has Cancer, Ann Couldrick (Sobell Publications, 1991)
  • A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness (Walker Books, 2015)
  • The Rainbow Feelings of Cancer: A Book for Children Who Have a Loved One with Cancer, Carrie Martin and Chia Martin (Hohm Press, 2015)
  • A Dragon in Your Heart, Sophie Le Blanc (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 1999)
  • Water Bugs and Dragonflies: Explaining Death to Children, Doris Stickney (Continuum, 2009)
  • The Sad Book, Michael Rosen and Quentin Blake (Walker Books, 2011)
  • The Huge Bag of Worries, Virginia Ironside (Hodder Wayland, 2011)    
  • No Matter What, Debi Gliori (Bloomsbury, 2014)      
  • Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You, Nancy Tillman (Feiwel and Friends, 2013)     
  • The Invisible String, Patrice Karst (Little, Brown and Company, 2018)
  • The Cancer That Wouldn’t Go Away, Hadassa Field (, 2013) 
  • Badger’s Parting Gifts, Susan Varley (Andersen Press, 1987)
  • Mum’s Jumper, Jayde Parkin (Book Island, 2019)

3. Useful organisations and websites

Fruit Fly Collective

Fruit Fly Collective produces Cancer Clouds Kits for children or young people whose parent has been diagnosed with cancer.

Each kit contains an age-appropriate set of tools to explain what cancer is, the treatments given and the side effects they may cause.

There are also tools to improve communication within the family, manage changes in the family’s routine, and explore the emotional impact a cancer diagnosis brings.

They also have an animation called Telling your children you have cancer.

Telling Kids about Cancer

Telling Kids about Cancer is a support tool for parents.

Kids Connected

This US organisation provides friendship, understanding, education and support for children and teens who have a parent with cancer or have lost a parent with cancer. 

Their Bereavement toolkit and Coping toolkit can help families communicate, break feelings of isolation and help children be heard.

Winston’s Wish

Winston’s Wish is a charity that supports children when a parent has died. They give advice and support through their helpline and residential weekends.

Child Bereavement UK

Child Bereavement UK wants all families to have support to rebuild their lives when a child grieves or when a child dies.

Their mission is to ensure high-quality child bereavement support and information is accessible to all families.

Hope Support

Hope Support offers support to anybody aged 11–25 when a close family member is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, such as cancer.

Marie Curie

Marie Curie offers care and support through terminal illness, and has information on its website about talking to children about your illness.

Cruse Bereavement Support

Cruse Bereavement Support offers support, advice and information to children, young people and adults when someone dies. 

The Osborne Trust

The Osborne Trust offers emotional and practical support for children of a parent with a cancer diagnosis and undergoing cancer treatment. 


riprap is a website where children can talk with others whose parent has been affected by cancer.

Maggie’s Kids’ and Teen Days

Children and young people whose parents have cancer can take part in Kids’ Days (for ages 7–13) and Teen Days (14–18), which run quarterly.


The RecordMeNow app lets you make a lasting video legacy for yourself, your family and loved ones. The app provides question prompts around topics like your home and childhood, heroes and hobbies. You can then record the answers on video. It’s private and completely free. It has been produced so everyone can leave messages and a supportive legacy for their loved ones and in particular young children.

4. Special Days and Treats

Willow Foundation

Willow Foundation provides special days for seriously ill young adults (16–40). Its website includes information on eligibility criteria and how to apply. 

Honey Rose Foundation

Honey Rose Foundation provides special days for people aged over 40 facing cancer or other life-threatening illnesses. 

Ellie’s Friends

Ellie’s Friends provide ‘freebies’ from businesses and individuals, from days out with friends or family to special packages delivered in the post.

Something to Look Forward To

Something to Look Forward To is a website where people with cancer and their families can access a variety of free ‘gifts’ donated by companies and individuals.

5. Making a memory box

6. Other organisations’ lists of resources

Last reviewed: April 2019
Next planned review begins 2021

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