BTH Authors and Illustrators


Gabriella means "God is my strength." Always unafraid, Gabriella Torres was so brave and daring in all she ever did. She was tiny in stature but her presence stood tall. "Baby G." as she was known to her friends and family, was a born leader and always acted "like a boss." This little bossy pants was known for her strength and her beautiful smile which could light up a room. Gabriella was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, in March, 2015. DIPG is an aggressive and inoperable brain tumor which primarily affects children between the ages of 5 and 10. Unlike any other pediatric cancers, there has been little progress in improving treatment and cures for DIPG.


Emma Marques was "Emma the Brave." Emma was diagnosed with DIPG, an aggressive and inoperable brain tumor, and she was notorious with her doctors for being a “Warrior Princess” during her extensive treatment regimen. Emma went through radiation treatments, sometimes close to two hours long, without needing any anesthesia. Emma truly was as brave as brave can be, and she wanted to tell her story and be an inspiration to children who are facing similar situations.


Madelyn Ebetino Shumaker

February 17, 2007 - December 10, 2015

Maddie attended Brownell-Talbot School in Omaha, Nebraska from preschool through the third grade. Maddie was energetic, funny, curious and smart. All who met her, loved her, and were loved in return. Maddie liked horseback riding, summer camp, rock climbing and downhill skiing. She loved painting, music, crafts and table games. Over Maddie's short life, she was on the Brownell-Talbot Lower School swim team, played soccer, basketball and tennis, and loved attending high school athletic events. She also enjoyed participating in gymnastics, dance and piano. She truly loved all animals and wanted to be an animal care specialist at a zoo. Maddie traveled extensively including Iceland, Ireland and throughout the U.S. Maddie had the warmest heart and a deep soul. Her compassion grew as she got to know many children also battling cancer. Despite her young age, she understood the concept of heaven and was prepared for it. Her greatest loves, after her family, were her friends at Brownell-Talbot, pandas, her cat, Titan and her fish, Rosie. Maddie will remain an inspiration to all who have been touched by her.


Kanen was 5 years old when he bravely began his battle with Ewings Sarcoma. He loved his family, the beach, baseball, and the Philadelphia Eagles. Kanen’s fight against pediatric cancer will be remembered for not only how he stood up to a formidable enemy, but also how he was able to spread unconditional love to his family, friends, and community. His family will continue to help those families being devastated by cancer and fund new research to aid in the eradication of this deadly disease.


At 9 years old, Grace was diagnosed with Germinoma, a germ-cell brain tumor. It took several weeks of tests, scans, and appointments with surgeons and specialists before the diagnosis and plan for treatment were set. Through all of it, Grace never forgot to smile and lighten the mood for the other patients she met along the way. In May of 2018, Grace traded her softball glove and gymnastics leotard for chemotherapy and proton radiation. Throughout the rest of the year, Grace stayed positive and strong, making the rounds in the hospital, cheering up other patients and always having a smile for the many caring medical professionals who treated her. Grace will tell you that maybe it wasn't the most fun thing to do, but the people she's met and the friends she's made she wouldn't trade for anything. ​ As the true warrior she is, Grace has channeled her energy into helping several charities with fundraising, awareness campaigns and visits to the Valerie Fund and Rutgers Cancer Institute where she was treated. Even though at only 10 years old Grace has spent more time in hospitals than many people will spend in our lifetime, she always remembers to find her smile when she goes there, and all the people who have met her there would tell you she always brightens their day. ​ While Grace will spend the rest of her life being monitored for recurrence of Cancer, she currently shows no evidence of disease, and is enjoying getting back to her sports and thinking of new ways to help other kids like her who are facing their own cancer journey.


Emersyn Shragie is a 5 year old girl from Montreal, Canada. She lives with her parents, sister Averie, brother Austin and dog Patches. Emmy enjoys swimming, singing, dancing and most importantly being silly. Emmy loves playdates with friends, spending time with her grandparents and playing with her cousins. She is a true warrior when it comes to Systemic Idiopathic Juvenile Arthritis. She doesn’t let the illness define her nor stop her from loving and enjoying life. Emmy loves learning new things and loves watching medical shows to see how she is similar to other children and what she can do to help them. When she grows up she wants to be a nurse for kids who are like her.


Nathan is a brave 9 year old who was diagnosed with kidney cancer when he was just 4 years old. Throughout chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation he managed to smile, amuse his medical staff with math and periodic table songs, and sing his favorite hymns. Now in remission, he loves math, sports, and spending time with family, friends, and his dog, Rosie.


Charlie is a seven year old girl from Montreal, Canada. She lives with her 2 sisters, 2 dogs and her parents. She enjoys dancing and singing. Charlie loves her grandparents, cousins, aunt, uncles and friends. She is a warrior when it comes to dealing with epilepsy. She empowers herself in not letting her medical condition overrule her joie de vivre. Charlie loves her sisters, Casey (4) and Cameron (1). She is about to start grade two. When Charlie grows up she wants to be a make up artist. Proceeds from book sales of Just For You will be donated to the Neurology Department at the Montreal Children's Hospital.


In a field of roses comes but one magnificent wildflower. With beautiful long blonde hair and sparkling colour changing eyes lays a courageous warrior princess by the name of Summer-Rayne. Now this sweet little girl isn't alone with her battle. By her side are her Mommy and Daddy. Also by her side is her big brother, Dason. Together they will persevere like no other. Together they stand proud of every journey, obstacle and mountain they have climbed for they did it together as a team and a complete puzzle from start to finish.


On May 9, 2018, at the age of 8 years, Jasmine was diagnosed at the Montreal Children’s Hospital (Canada) with chronic ITP (Immune Thrombocytopenia Purpura), a blood disorder that results in excessive bruising and bleeding due to a low platelet count. This bleeding disorder destroys the platelets that are needed for blood clotting.Although this blood disorder has placed limitations on Jasmine’s quality of life, she continues to take part of activities with caution and a smile on her face! Jasmine loves to sing, draw, dance, and to make others laugh with her silly impressions and expressions. Jasmine has a passion for travel and experiencing different parts of the world, especially Disney in hopes to one day see herself as the famous “Princess Jasmine.”


In August 2013, after complaining for months of having back pain, Logan was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, a very aggressive tumor that is typically found in adults. Tumors were found in Logan’s brain and spine. Despite the diagnosis, and undoubtable pain that he suffered, Logan remained positive, smiling and giving a trademark thumb-up throughout months of surgeries, chemo and radiation. Logan was beyond Logan Strong, and those who fought with him were always strengthened by the bravery and fight that Logan showed. Logan was much more than your average teenager; Logan was a hero.


Everly is 2 years old. She's sweet and feisty all at the same time. She loves to do just about anything her big brother, Jack, is doing. She thinks she's 7, too! She loves playing with her dogs, Maddie and Grace, and snuggling our foster puppies. She loves to be outside. She especially loves to swing on her swing set and play in her sand table. She loves to read books and dance!


Isaiah, 5 years old, will be attending kindergarten this fall. He is a very energetic, sensitive, loving, timid, stubborn, brave and strong little boy. He loves the outdoors and enjoys going for long rides on his Kawasaki power wheels everyday no matter what.He enjoys playing with his dinosaurs and cars indoors, and when he plays with his friends, he is chasing the bad guys with a Nerf gun. After all his fun, you can catch him eating macaroni and cheese with chicken! Isaiah's favorite color is blue, and his favorite cartoons are Paw Patrol and SpongeBob SquarePants.


Enzo is a 2-year-old little boy who is 1 of 4 boys in our family. He loves to play, laugh, dance, and has an obsession with ducks! He is brave and smiles through the toughest of times. He is such an amazing little boy and we are honored to be his parents. He loves his brothers, his dog, Daniel Tiger, Peppa Pig, and enjoys watching Blippi on YouTube. He also loves cars and trucks and will someday own his own big truck just like his daddy!


Kirby was born November 13, 2008 in Bridgton, Maine. He currently lives in Harrison, Maine with his mom and sister and two mini dachshunds, Qubert and Pikachu. Kirby is a natural athlete and plays football, basketball, and baseball for the local rec program. He is also the best big brother ever.


Aaron Dorisca was born on October 28, 2007. He is 12 years old and is the oldest of two siblings. He is a courageous warrior who has been battling Anaplastic Astrocytoma which is a rare and very aggressive brain tumor since the tender age of 6 years old. His spirit is infectious, and he is unforgettable! He is loving and full of life. On his leisure days, he loves playing fortnight and hanging out with his brothers, Julian and Carter, and his best friends, Keziah and Isabella. He has a big imagination and saw a wonderful opportunity that came about after seeing his scar from his second brain tumor removal. Instead of being sad, he decided to turn his scar into a comic story with the help of Books That Heal organization. Aaron can’t wait to take you on amazing journey as he fights the Tumorator in the hopes that in real life he will slay cancer to its defeat!


Trent is an 8 year old boy who was born with Cystic Fibrosis, or CF. His favorite things to do are playing football and building things out of legos. Growing up with CF means going in and out of the hospital a lot. It’s not always fun because he has to take a lot of different medicine. Sometimes he feels sad because he doesn't feel normal. But Jesus builds him up to make him strong. That’s why he and his family started a CF Foundation called TJAE CF Foundation. TJAE CF Foundation stands for The Journey of Acceptance and Endurance. Trent wants to be able to raise enough money for kids like him to help them do things and to talk to them if they feel sad.


Kelsey lives in sunny California with her family and her dog, Rose. She enjoys art, photography and dance. She hopes her book will be helpful to kids like her that live with kidney disease.


Charlie Nash is now an almost 11-year-old boy who is thriving and doing very well. Although he cannot play sports, his favorite hobby is watching and telling the college and pro players what they should be doing through the screen! He loves to act in school theatre and will be starring in the upcoming "The Aristocrats."

He loves school and is loved by his peers and teachers for being such a kind and helpful student. He recently had his yearly cardiac checkup and his heart function looks fantastic. Sometime this year, he will be undergoing a pacemaker replacement. We anticipate no problems and look forward to what is ahead! Charlie Nash is one of the most loving individuals I have ever met. Not just because he is my son. He was never really mine to begin with. He is God's child. I have just been blessed to walk this walk with him. We are so very thankful.

Sincerely, his mom


Maya is a smart, caring, and loving ten-and-a-half-year-old girl who enjoys writing, dancing, reading, and learning. Shining Star is the second book Maya has published. She is also the writer and illustrator of Operation Eye, which shares her story of perseverance and strength during and after going through eye surgeries. This medically complex warrior has numerous diagnoses, one of which is Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome. Among its many impacts on her health and development, it caused her to develop glaucoma at a very young age. Maya has already undergone two semi-successful surgeries to manage it with several more slated in the coming months. Aside from being an author, she aspires to be an anesthesiologist so that she can play an active role in helping children through their surgeries.


Jenysis Istrella Casillas loves animals, and is very smart. She is very giving, thoughtful, sassy, and very strong. Jenysis is the heart and soul of our family.


Ryan Bradley Carson was born via c-section on March 28th at 2:21am weighting 7lbs 13oz and 21in long. He was perfect. Unfortunately, just 12 days later, on April 9, Ryan's parents received the most terrifying news they could possibly imagine.Baby Ryan was diagnosed with a brain tumor located in the middle of his brain. The tumor grew at a rapid speed. If Ryan were an older child (or adult), the size tumor he had would have caused him to be in a coma and/or have severe brain damage. Because he was an infant, his skull had not yet fused and had allowed his brain to expand without being compromised by the tumor. Ryan fought the brain tumor for 30 days before he gained his wings on May 9, at only 42 days old. Ryan’s legacy carries on today through his family’s work to help families with children who are fighting cancer.


Karly Jean Rathbun, age 11, is from Pekin, Illinois. Karly loves drawing, music, dancing and helping others. She finds a deep passion on educating others on childhood cancer. Karly was diagnosed with high risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia on September 18, 2017. From that day on she made a promise to herself to make sure other kids that are going through this too never feel alone. She is a fighter, a warrior and so very brave.



Hanna Markham has used writing about cats as an escape from her fears and anxiety during her many different attempts of destroying the beast within: a type of cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma, a very rare and known as an orphan cancer. Hanna and her mother, Melissa, have travelled around the country looking for the cure. When Hanna was younger, she believed that she was a cat and would tell stories of her life in the cat pack prior to coming to her family. This book is a collection of some of Hanna’s short stories. 


Jeanna Montgomery loved My Little Pony, to write stories, to watch movies, to write to her pals. She fought cancer to the bitter end. She was so proud to fulfill her dreams of becoming a published author. Fly high, “baby girl.”


Armani Romeo is 5 years old, and he has been through so much in his short 5 years. He has survived a premature birth, sepsis, pneumonia, two open heart surgeries, urinary repair, an abscess in his throat…the list goes on.

Looking at him you wouldn’t know the battles he has fought, but underneath his shirt are the battle wounds that show what fight he has put up to be here. Although he has gone through so much, he still is the happiest little boy.


Amanda Monteiro authors and illustrates this beautiful book remembering and honoring the legacy of her daughter, Edie, who was diagnosed with acute megakaryoblastic leukemia (AML-M7) at just 14 months old, and lost her battle approximately six months later. "The Little Girl Who Lit Up the World" is Amanda's story of her very brave little girl who saw so much and impacted so many during her time with us.


Zahara, a bright and energetic rising 6th grader who loves singing, dancing and anything about science was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia (Sickle Cell SS) at birth. When she grows up she wants to be a doctor. While she is still deciding on the type of doctor she will be she has narrowed it down to some form of pediatric specialty such as hematology/oncology or gastroenterology. Zahara’s magnetic personality leaves an impression on everyone she meets. This enthusiasm for life andamazing sense of confidence has led to many awesome opportunities. As a committed advocate to spreading awareness, Zahara has been featured in public service announcements with Georgia May Jagger and James Pickens, Jr. aimed at encouraging individuals to join the bone marrow donor registry and has partnered with Jordin Sparks as well as theNational Heart, Lung and Blood Institutes Cure Sickle Cell Initiative. In August of 2019, she was a panelist at the NHLBI Sickle Cell Research Meeting where she spoke with scientists, researchers and pharmaceutical corporates in effort to expand clinical trial opportunities for individuals with sickle cell. Along with her parents she has organized several toy and pajama drives for children with various chronic diseases and disorders which they call “Marley’s Mission to Give.” In spite of the many ups and downs that life with sickle cell brings, Zahara is determined to “live her best life” and believes that with her faith in God along with the support of her family and medical team there is nothing that she can’t accomplish.


Leah is now 1 year old. She is a very smart, strong, brave, happy and courageous little girl. She enjoys watching Dora the Explorer and Baby Signing Time. At 14 months of age, Leah signs over 10 words (some in complete sentences), has a pretty thorough vocabulary in both English & Spanish, neurologist states her cognitive system is overdeveloped. Leah has managed to always have a beautiful smile on her sweet face. She knows her battles are also her family’s battles and that we will be here for her. Leah has a long way ahead of her, but in Jesus’ name, she will achieve VICTORY.


Payton Baumgardner is a five-year-old wild child. She is kindhearted, imaginative, and free willed. She lives in Harrison, Maine with her brother, Kirby (another Books That Heal Author), and her mom, Alexa. Her passions are playing with her friends, taking care of animals, and making everyone around her smile. Payton wrote this book to share her experience about the loss of her father in hopes she can help other kiddos that may have gone through the same situation.


Zoefia (Zoe) Alexandria was 2 years old when she was diagnosed with Pineoblastoma, a rare and aggressive type of cancer which starts in the cells of the brain’s Pineal gland. The initial doctors did emergency life-saving surgery, and Zoe came out smiling and charged up. She endured major brain surgery and more than likely was in pain, but she never showed it. This was a disease that offered merely months of life after diagnosis and a small percentage could possibly see a few years. Zoefia was in that small percentile bracket, but she was a fighter and clearly determined to beat the odds. Zoefia would endure numerous surgeries, different levels of chemotherapy, radiation treatment, clinical trials among other medications to combat and counter side effects. Zoe just kept smiling and was always loving. She brought joy and laughter to all who spent time with her, and she was never tired to show love and affection. It was something infectious, almost magical you could say, she simply left an indelible impression and memory upon your heart and soul. Zoefia Alexandria was always so bright, selfless and so loving. Her story doesn’t end here, she will always be in our hearts and her memory will forever live on.


Violet was born with 3 rare one-in-a-million genetic disorders: Alternating Hemplegia of Childhood (AHC), Hemiplegic Migraine Type 2 (HM), and Congenital Muscular Dystrophy caused by Collagen 6 deficiency (UCMD). AHC is a movement disorder that is described as having every single neurological symptom that exists. Imagine having Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s, MS, Autism, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, etc all rolled into one disorder. It causes episodes of paralysis, dystonia (painful stiffening of limbs and body), involuntary eye-movements, seizures and more. Often, paralysis episodes cause loss of function or cognitive ability. This can be temporary or result in permanent decline. Violet has had a steep decline in recent years and is no longer walking, standing, or able to speak words she once knew. For more information on AHC, check out or watch the documentary on AHC at Hemiplegic Migraine causes stroke-like migraines that cause facial drooping, paralysis, vision changes, nausea, and vomiting. These migraines can cause oral dysfunction, making it hard to eat. UCMD causes progressive muscle weakness, muscle wasting, respiratory issues, and joint contractures. This means Violet can fatigue quickly, have a hard time lifting objects, and her joints can get permanently stiff and less mobile. Living with any one of these conditions can be difficult, but Violet lives everyday with all three. Despite this, she is a happy girl filled with joy and love. Violet loves animals, high-fives, listening to music, dancing, and playing with spoons.


Fozzy is a brave four-year-old boy from South Carolina. He was born with a tethered spinal cord, which means he cannot use his legs. Fozzy has had surgery and intensive therapies up to five times a week to help get him closer to walking.
Fozzy is very determined and fights every day to walk! Despite all he has been through, he is the happiest little boy! He is also very excited that he will soon have a service dog to help him along his journey!


Lowin (Low) is a feisty, hilarious, beautifully wild 4 year old who loves to sing, twirl and laugh. She was diagnosed with a thalamic pilocytic astrocytoma on February 14, 2020. She has defied the odds and often proves the doctors wrong with her strong will and determination. She has a love and understanding of Jesus that is beyond her years. She loves camping and riding her scooter. She enjoys playing with her brothers, cousins, and friends. She adores her puppy Penny. She is looking forward to kindergarten next year! She wants to be a doctor to help people feel better when she grows up. She almost always wears a smile on her face and her joy and laughter are infectious and inspiring.


Valeree Deschamps is a 10-year-old girl from Baltimore Maryland and her story is based on a true story.

Valeree had a little brother named Javier. He is now an angel but before, yes, he was going to a hospital. All the things that she has written in the book are her feelings and experiences during the years she was by Javier’s side in his battle.

Her little brother did get all the attention, he did get more toys, and yes it was very hard times for her family. But just know that if you have a little brother or sister that is going through hard times, just know that you should spend as much time with them as possible. Like Valeree's mom says, “you never know what will happen the next day”.

That is why she encourage you to spend so much time with your siblings and to always be by their side when they are going through hard times, like she did.


Written by a mother to celebrate the strength of her baby daughter, Celeste, who at 4 months old was diagnosed with langerhans-cell histiocytosis (a rare cancer).

Curious Celeste Discovers the Seasons offers fun and playful rhymes to introduce children to the four seasons. The bok embraces the changes that come with the passage of time, and celebrates time itself as the healer of all wounds. Its cheerful message about life is for children and adults alike:

"Whatever your sorrows, your fears or lesions, they too shall pass with the seasons."


Pinchas Dov Shulman was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He is now 12 years old. He lives with his family in Northwest Baltimore, and enjoys playing Magic the Gathering with his family, recording in his recording studio, and reading. When he grows up, he wants to be an oncologist and a musician on the weekend.


About AJ: AJ is 4 years old, who is very shy and mischievous but sweet as can be. He can spend all day playing with his construction cars, airplanes, trains, firetrucks, ambulances and police vehicles. You’ll most likely find him with a lemonade in one hand and a donut, french fries or fettuccine Alfredo in the other as it’s his absolutely favorite things to eat.

About Kaitlyn: Kaitlyn is 6 years old and loves to show off her dance moves whenever she hears a catchy song. She is an animal lover and enjoys taking walks while inspecting all the bugs that come out when it rains. Kaitlyn loves to dress up and has a wardrobe full of dresses and and endless collection of shoes to match. She is always watching out for her little brother AJ.


Ronnie Joy Hollander

A book about losing a sibling and SUDC (Sudden Unexplained Death in Children).

This book is in dedication of Ronnie Joy Hollander

Ronnie Joy Hollander was an exceptionally bright and beautiful little girl who died suddenly and without explanation on January 13, 2020 at 2 years and 3 months of age. Ronnie brought joy and laughter wherever she went. She was a silly little girl, full of energy, sweet life and personality. She loved to read, sing, dance, climb, swim and play pretend and she had an absolutely incredible bond with animals. She was then the baby of the family and loved no one more than her parents, Dahlia and Michael, and older brother and sister, Ari and Lielle. In June 2021, the Hollander family welcomed Levana, the baby sister Ronnie sure would loved to have met.

Ronnie’s untimely death falls under the category of Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC), a classification used when a child (aged 1-18)’s cause of death remains unknown even after a thorough investigation, including an autopsy.

This book was written specifically for the siblings of children who have died, irrespective of the cause, but with an extra focus on surviving siblings affected by an SUDC loss. Through this short story book and glimpse into our own family’s experience, the hope is that bereaved children can find comfort in feeling less alone in their grief experiences and find some useful strategies to cope with their loss while meaningfully remembering their loved one as they continue on in their journey of life after loss.

Camila Athill-Fonseca

Camila Athill-Fonseca is a fifth grader in Gates-Chili, NY. Her hobbies include dancing, swimming, baseball and crafts. She likes to cuddle and play with her sister, Lucia.

Camila was happy that she was able to include drawings of her friends, Delaney, Deklin and Micah in her book. They were helpful in making Camila feel better after Paola passed away.

She hopes this book will help other kids when someone they love is very sick or has died. She feels that if kids know they are not the only one going through this type of struggle, it will help them feel better.

Camila enjoyed writing this book and is planning on writing another book that talks about how it feels years after a traumatic experience.

Volunteers of St. Jude

Meet Jude! Jude is a Giving Giraffe who lives to give! Jude loves helping out those around him and making the world a better place!

This book was created by volunteers of St. Jude, and is dedicated to the patients and families of St. Jude and to ALSAC and the staff and St. Jude.

Royalties from this book are being donated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Brady Lucas

Brady Lucas is an author, philanthropist, and relationship-builder. Brady's inspiration to write Smiley's Smile came from his experience undergoing treatment for 2 childhood cancer diagnoses and finding power within education. Brady believes all children should have access to information that can empower them to understand and be involved regardless of their age within their healthcare journey. Brady has a Bachelor of Biobehavioral Health and Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in children's Literature from Penn State University. Brady currently resides in Gig Harbor, Washington with the love of his life, Julia. Brady lives a life for Jesus and by the mottoSmiles Make The World Go Round.

Braden Hutchinson

Braden is 6 years old. He was diagnosed with B-CellALL in 2019, at the young age of two. Braden has battled and beat cancer in his short time on this earth. He is a walking example of courage, bravery, and a heart of gold. With the heart of the warrior, he truly is, he continues to overcome the long-lasting effects of his treatment. This book was organized and scribed by Kimberly Leighton, MS, CCLS at Play Warriors, Inc. in Bridgton, Maine.

Troy Papich

Troy Papich loves everything basketball and the NBA. You can find him screaming and smiling his way down big hills of thrilling roller coasters, eating cheese pizza every Friday night, and always cuddling with his best friend, a yellow Dudley Labrador Retriever named Cami, who he loves more than all the chocolate in the world.

Troy wrote this book while fighting Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in a chemo chair and away from his dog. He lives in Pennsylvania with his Mom and Dad and believes all things are possible with hard work and a positive attitude.


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