Pups Work Their Healing Magic

Rating: 5 out of 5.

With books like these, I think the Mayo Clinic Press is revolutionizing the child healthcare industry. Providing such awesome resources for parents, doctors, and other caregivers to share with kids is a game-changer!

About the Books

Helping Paws Academy Series

The Helping Paws Academy series of books follows the adventures and day-to-day jobs of therapy dogs, while introducing medical topics to children. Therapy dogs are specially trained to help kids through medical experiences—from lifting spirits, motivating movement, modelling the power of play, and more. Nonfiction back matter provides more information about medical topics introduced in the books, from acute to chronic issues, while also providing more information about therapy dog programs and the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center.

Cricket Gives Comfort: Exploring Epilepsy

This inviting chapter book series explores health topics through the friendly lens of therapy dogs. Follow an adorable therapy dog helping a child through a diagnosis of epilepsy with strong messages of empathy, kindness, and courage.

Dash and the Cancer Center: Learning About Leukemia

This inviting chapter book series explores health topics through the friendly lens of therapy dogs. Follow an adorable therapy dog helping a child through a cancer diagnosis with strong messages of empathy, kindness, and courage.

Lumos Helps with Healing: Battling Broken Bones

This inviting chapter book series explores health topics through the friendly lens of therapy dogs. Follow an adorable therapy dog helping a child who broke her arm with strong messages of empathy, kindness, and courage.

My Thoughts

These books are absolutely adorable! And they are an amazing resource for parents, doctors, teachers, and more! It really feels like children who have any of these conditions should absolutely get a copy of these books to help them out. I really hope parents or friends find them when they’re needed. I wouldn’t even think to look for something like this before I met these books, and I’m glad that I’m now aware of the various books we could access to it is exciting. I also think this is a new thing that Mayo Clinic Press is doing, as I’ve had access to a few of their different kid-focused health books, and it’s inspiring.

As a parent, having a great resource to help explain things to my child is fantastic. My stepsister actually died from cancer a while ago. My daughter hadn’t met her much, but she did know she had cancer. She is aware of cancer because of some science videos on YouTube Kids. She wants to be a doctor, so we really encourage the science. Anyway, she wasn’t ready for the book yet – she’s 5.5 years old, but it’s still a great resource.

I hope no one we know has epilepsy, but if we do, we’ll have the resources to understand and hopefully not be too scared if we’re ever around someone having a seizure. I actually learned a lot from the book about epilepsy, and the books are cute and informative enough for adults. Obviously, if you’re a parent or adult with any of these conditions, you’ll want to do more extensive research and talk to doctors, but these books are great for a start.

These books are also fantastic at digesting the information into understandable bits for kids and presenting it in a way that kids will love. Having the dogs be the narrators, makes their service as therapy dogs expand out from the page and to the children reading the books. Cute pups telling them about potentially scary diseases and situations helps ease the anxiety around the subjects.

As a parent, and someone who has had to spend more time in hospitals than I’d like between taking care of my own parents and my own health issues, these books were very comforting. It made me wish our adult hospital had some therapy dogs! I absolutely loved these books, from the awesome story and informational content to the gorgeous illustrations. Of course, my 5-year-old did wonder why the pictures were all blue. So I had to explain that to her.

I will be reviewing the other three books in this series on Sept. 6, during Helping Paws Week 2. I’m already excited about those because one of them covers my own condition – diabetes. And I look forward to sharing that with my daughter one day so she can better understand.

I will absolutely keep an eye out for more books by this author, in this series, and by the Mayo Clinic Press. It is amazing what they’re doing with these health books for kids. For example, earlier this year I reviewed this book which helps kids better understand depression, which is something they could face themselves or with someone they love. I’m so grateful to Love Books Tours, Mayo Clinic Press, and of course, the author and illustrator, for including me on this tour.

Who’s It For?

The publisher says the book is for ages 8-12 years old. That seems about right. This is a chapter book, but not a long, complex one. All of the medical conditions and procedures are described in easy-to-understand language, and the story should be engaging for these age ranges. My 5 year old was intrigued by the books but lost interest after a couple of chapters of the cancer one. She is an advanced reader for her age, but the topic was still a little concerning for her.

Content Warning: These books explore medical topics, so there is a great deal of content that might be disturbing to both children or adults. It is presented in a kid-friendly way, but adults should still practice caution based on their own knowledge and experiences with their own children. Topics include such potential triggering content as childhood cancer, broken bones, epilepsy, and various medical procedures such as X-Rays, MRIs, blood draws, physical exams, surgery, stitches, and possibly more. Much of the books also take place in a children’s hospital setting.

About the Publisher

Mayo Clinic Press Kids creates empowering health and wellness content in partnership with pediatric experts. Proceeds from the sale of every book go to benefit important medical research and education at Mayo Clinic.

About the Author

Pat McCaw, M.D., is a family practice physician passionate about using books to help children with emotional and health issues. She teaches classes on how to use picture books in the classroom and writes online educational lessons on science and physiology.

Beth Hughes is an illustrator and concept artist. She loves telling stories and using art to get those stories out. Her work credits include children’s books, mural designs, concept art, and character design work for animation.

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