Monthly Book Club: When Molly Was In The Hospital

Hi everyone! Welcome to a new segment I hope to do once a month focusing on books! As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been trying to post a new therapuetic activity once a week. Not only that, but I don’t just post art activities, but music, dance, and theater activities as well. I wanted to add to this list because I think that books should not be left out of the mix. Reading can be a very therapeutic thing to do with your time, especially when you choose books that you can apply to and process things concerning your own life.  In addition, it expands language and social development. My goal is to review a book that can be used therapuetically once a month to help expand your toolbox of therapeutic activities. So without further ado, here’s the first book I’ve chosen to talk about.

Since this is a blog dedicated to child life, I felt it was only fair that the first book was about hospitalization. Today’s book title is “When Molly Was In The Hospital” and it was written by Debbie Duncan and illustrated by Nina Ollikainen, MD. “When Molly Was In The Hospital” is a story about Anna’s experiences while her little sister became sick and needed to have an operation. This book shows the progression of effects hospitalization has on healthy siblings, highlighting feelings that siblings might feel such as anger at the child who is sick and getting lots of attention or guilt because the healthy sibling is worried that he or she made the patient sick. The book provides a wonderful discussion starter for parents to start talking with the healthy siblings about what is happening and finding out what feelings the siblings are experiencing, as well as changing misconceptions and reminding the siblings that they are a part of the family and very important too.

I also want to say a word about the artwork. I really like how the book is illustrated. It has a bit of an old-school feel because it’s drawn in a black/gray scheme, but the pictures look very lifelike. I also really liked the medical pieces that made it into the pictures. The IV looks realistic as well as the NG tube (the tube going into Molly’s nose). Some people might feel this is an extreme picture, but the reality is in the hospital there are often many strange tubes attached to different body parts. Showing the pictures help to normalize the experience of the siblings reading the book.

The book is writen in paragraph form, so it’s not as appropriate for a young sibling who has a limited attention span. It also talks about many different feelings that Anna is going through, including her experience of getting a cold while Molly is in the hospital so if you do decide to read this book to a young child, you can always break it up into short bursts. I would recommend this book for school-age children (6-12 years). You can read about the book from author’s website here: When Molly Was In The Hospital 

Book Snapshot

Title: When Molly Was In The Hospital

Author: Debbie Duncan

Subjects: Hospitalization, Siblings of Patients, Feelings

Ages: 6-12

Therapeutic Value:
Language Development
Emotional Development

Questions to ask while reading:
How did you feel when your brother or sister was in the hospital (Or how do you feel about your brother or sister being in the hospital)?
Why is your brother or sister in the hospital?
What your favorite things to do with your brother or sister?
What are things you can do to help your brother, sister, mom or dad?
What do you like/not like about the hospital?

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