Resources About Cancer

Resources About Cancer

Some useful resources to help with a child's re-entry into the classroom after cancer treatment. 


What storybooks are available to help explain cancer?

The books below are available for you to download for free.

Storybooks to read with children 

The following books are written especially for parents and carers to read with children so they can understand cancer and its treatment.

Joe has leukaemia

Cover of Joe has Leukaemia

Joe has leukaemia is about a boy who becomes unwell during his first year at school and is diagnosed with leukaemia.

The book explains Joe's tests, treatment and experience of hospital life in simple language. The storybook also includes a useful glossary of words to do with cancer and treatment.

Tom has lymphoma

Cover of Tom has lymphoba

Tom has lymphoma is about a boy who is diagnosed with lymphoma when he is 10 years old. 

Tom's scans, treatment, and side effects, such as hair loss, are explained in simple language. The storybook also includes a useful glossary of words to do with cancer and treatment.

Lucy has a tumour

Cover of Lucy has a tumour

Lucy has a tumour is about a 5-year-old girl, who is diagnosed with a tumour in her tummy. 

The storybook explains Lucy's tests, treatment and side effects in simple language. It includes a useful glossary of words to do with hospital life and cancer.

Mary has a brain tumour

Cover of Mary has a tumour

Mary has a brain tumour is about a girl who is diagnosed with a brain tumour when she is 5.

Mary has an operation, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and loses her hair because of treatment. 

The book explains cancer, its treatment and side effects in simple language. It has a useful glossary of words to do with hospital life, brain tumours and cancer treatment.

Jess' stem cell donation

Cover of Jess' stem cell donation

Jess' stem cell donation is about a girl who donates stem cells.

This book covers every step of the donation journey from preparing for hospital to the operation and what happens afterwards.

Books for children to read themselves, or have read to them 

Ben's stem cell transplant

Cover of Ben's stem cell transplant

Ben's stem cell transplant is a colourfully illustrated storybook for young children preparing for a stem cell transplant.

It follows the story of Ben, from his initial visit to the stem cell transplant unit through treatment, managing side effects, exploring emotions and what happens after discharge from hospital.

Chemotherapy, cakes and cancer  

Cover of chemotherapy and cakes

Chemotherapy, cakes and cancer is a friendly guide to hospital life and includes Megan's best tips for coping with long hospital stays.

It also covers a range of medical terms and side effects. This A-Z guide to living with childhood cancer was written by Megan Blunt who was 14 years old when she was diagnosed with bone cancer.

What lesson plans and other resources are available to help teach about cancer?

Teenage Cancer Trust (UK) lesson plans

Teenage Cancer Trust

The Teenage Cancer Trust have a series of free resources lessons plans and videos to help educate young people about cancer.

They also have a free handy resource for young people called 'Honest Answers, Sound Advice: A Young Person's Guide to Cancer'.

Livestrong cancer resources 

A young girl resting her head in her hand

The Livestrong cancer resources are a series of award-winning lessons, worksheets, and more to generate classroom discussions about cancer, cancer treatment, and how to support those living with cancer.

Use these materials to help your students cope with and learn about cancer, as well as get involved in the fight against cancer in your community.

Decoding cancer lesson plans

2 women looking at a classroom model

The Decoding cancer lesson plans are classroom-ready interactive high school lessons. They are designed to help students develop problem-solving and decision-making skills with real-life applications.

They will apply their knowledge of biology, expand their understanding of genetics, explore relationships between science and technology and learn about health-related careers. 

Monkey in My Chair

Monkey in my chair resource

Monkey in My Chair is a complete programme to help you and your classroom keep connected to your sick student.

This programme is sponsored by Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand and is available for children with leukaemia or other blood cancers.

When your student is away from school, a bigger monkey sits in their chair, while a smaller monkey keeps your child/student with cancer company while they are away from school.

The kits include:

  • the monkey with a backpack
  • a book to help you explain your student's situation to their classmates
  • a teacher companion guide with resources
  • other items for your student and their classmates

See more information for educators

See more information for whānau


The pages in the childhood cancer and education section of this website have been developed in collaboration with the National Child Cancer Network (NZ), and the Ministry of Education. Content has been approved by the National Child Cancer Network (NZ).

This page last reviewed 21 April 2022.

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night for free health advice when you need it