Interview With An Author
What happens when a family member has kidney failure? How do you answer a child’s questions around a parent’s lack of energy or changes in their behaviour? How do you explain a kidney transplant to a youngster?
Anita and Simon Howell have written a children’s book about renal failure that is targeted to younger children. Their backgrounds are medical and they intent is to prepare their own children about what their father experiences. You can buy a copy at Amazon:
And, you can read these questions to get a sense of how effective the book might be in your family.
1). What is the name of the book you have written and what ages do you recommend read it?
Our book is H is for Haemodialysis and we think it’s aimed at 3-10 yr olds but we have heard that it has been bought for a 20mth old daughter of a Dialysis patient.
the book would work if it is a Grandparent, friend, sibling etc on Dialysis. The only thing that I would add is that if it has been bought for a younger child, then it might be helpful for the adult reading the book to the child to say “That’s like Grandma…” etc so that the child can see how it relates to their own situation. I know that it has been bought for 3 and 5 yr old sisters who have a Grandad who does Haemodialysis. In fact their Aunt shared a photo on our Facebook page of her Dad reading the book to his older Granddaughter ️
2). What made you write the book?
We have written this to help other children like our two who have a family member who has Renal Failure. Our daughter is 9 and our Son is 4. When our daughter was two we first started to look for books which would help her understand the changes that would be happening in our lives but there weren’t any available.
Earlier this year we looked again as Simon needs to back to Haemodialysis and we think a book would help our Son especially, although we have been honest with our children in an age appropriate way and used our own medical knowledge to explain things to them.
This article also explains why we wrote our book
3). What have you learned from writing the book?
Due to positive response we have had both from families who have bought the book and from Renal Staff who we have spoken to about the book, one of the things that we have learnt from writing the book is that books like this are wanted and needed.
4). What was the hardest part of writing the book?
To be honest, writing the books has been very easy as we have been thinking about them for so many years that the words are just pouring out. Making sure that the Professionals / Carers editions of each book has the right notes in the back to enable the books to be also used as a resource is an interesting challenge but one we feel is important.
5). What are your current projects?
Our current projects are P is for Peritoneal Dialysis and K is for Kidney Transplant, we are hoping that both books will be available by Christmas 2016.
6). Who is your favourite author and what do you most enjoy about them?
One of my favourite authors is JD ROBB, I enjoy the characters relationships which have developed over the series and how strong those relationships are. I also enjoy knowing that the crime will be solved and the criminal will be put away at the end of each book.
I asked this because the subject seemed heavy and I wanted to remember Anita and Simon are people as well.
If you are looking for a guide to help you explain the terminology around kidney problems, then consider this resource. The books are fiction but they would be located in the Situations or First Experiences section of a library or Book Shop. As you can see, it is already supported by staff and patients, could it help your children, too?