Friday, September 28, 2007

I’m tickled pink to show off our Tickles Tabitha character and announce that we’re bringing Cancer Education to the classroom. Nutcracker Publishing is presenting CRACK OPEN A BOOK© the first cancer education program to be offered to elementary students.

We’re cracking open Tickles Tabitha’s Cancer-tankerous Mommy; trying on wigs, playing doctor, learning about good manners, and character traits such as kindness, and courage, while discussing the issues that affect children when a parent is diagnosed with cancer.

I know many of you will be surprised to read it’s the first time cancer education has been offered to elementary students, but Tickles Tabitha’s Cancer-tankerous Mommy has not always been welcomed amongst the mainstream, and certainly not in elementary school.

In 1994, when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. talking about cancer to my own children was considered a radical idea, and talking about it to an elementary classroom was un-imaginable.

Now, Tickles Tabitha is going to school and taking her book with her.

CRACK OPEN A BOOK and the Tickles Tabitha character will also be available to health care centers, cancer awareness organization, or anyone wishing to promote cancer awareness.

I know from personal experience that creating a dialogue to talk about cancer or any issue helps alleviate anxiety and contributes to emotional and physical good health and that's what CRACK OPEN A BOOK is designed to do.

When I published Tickles Tabitha's Cancer-tankerous Mommy in October 2001, I was advised, cancer was a niche topic, young women with children didn't usually get cancer, and no parent wanted to read their children a book like that. Despite that it caught the attention of the media immediately and went on to be recognized across the country as recommended reading for families coping with cancer.

While I received invitations to talk to students about reading, writing, or the publishing process, I was never asked to talk to students about cancer.

It's only within the last few years that public perception has shifted regarding some of the often whispered issues pertaining to cancer. Public figures like “Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts, White House press secretary, Tony Snow, and Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential contender John Edwards, have drawn attention to this change of attitude.

When I approached parents in my community this year and asked if their children could participate in my focus group, and told them the topic was cancer, they didn't blink.

After having walked a step ahead of the beat for more than a decade, I'm somewhat relieved to discover the mainstream appears willing to quit whispering, stop tiptoeing and start educating our children about issues surrounding cancer.