How a Playful Lion Helps Kids Understand Multiple Myeloma

Understanding and coping with a multiple myeloma diagnosis is challenging enough for anyone. That goes double for a small child. Stories can often help all of us, big and small, to understand difficult subjects. There are now two illustrated children’s books available that explain the condition to young people in a way that they’re able to understand.

Alex and the Bravest Dad in the World and Alex and the Bravest Grandpa in the World tell a similar tale. In both versions, Alex is a young lion who enjoys playful adventures with his father/grandfather — bike rides, runs in the park, building with blocks, and more. He becomes puzzled and upset when his father/grandfather is forced to slow down due to a relapse of multiple myeloma.

Multiple myeloma is a disease characterized by periods of relapse and remission, and the books take a look at how that cycle could be experienced through the eyes of children.

The book explains that having the disease means Alex’s father/grandfather will experience periods of relatively high and low energy; these are explained in a straightforward and non- frightening way — as are concepts such as plasma cells and cancer itself. (There’s even a glossary toward the end of the book, for little readers who are especially keen.)

The Multiple Myeloma Storybooks are available to download for free here:

  3. Palumbo, A., & Cavallo, F. (2012). Have drug combinations supplanted stem cell transplantation in myeloma? American Society of Hematology Education Program, 2012, 335–341.