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As seen in the Herald Sun, Women's Agenda, Examiner, Press and Journal and Evening Express.

A book to help children know what to expect when a parent has cancer.

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A children's book about cancer

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This book is a must for diagnosed parents, and those supporting families through a cancer diagnosis, including teachers, doctors, oncologists and their nursing teams.


The text and illustrations were kindly reviewed by Cancer Council Victoria and the author’s oncologist to ensure the book provides advice recommended by the experts on talking to kids about cancer. It was also tested with cancer patient, survivors, nurses and teachers. 

Mum's Purple Scarf is a picture book to help children know what to expect when a parent has cancer. Cancer means lots of changes for the whole family and the book covers chemotherapy, hair loss, fatigue, extra chore and hospital visits.

How do you tell your kids you have cancer? How do you prepare them for what's about to unfold when you're not even sure yourself?


While the medical impacts of a cancer diagnosis are difficult for children to understand, it is important that kids are given enough information to understand what to expect - at their level.

From lasagne to hair loss, extra play dates and how talking can help, Mum's Purple Scarf provides this through a beautifully illustrated literal (neuro inclusive) children's book.  It was written specifically to help parents explain the practical changes in a child's life when a parent is diagnosed with cancer.

The Book
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$1 from every book sold will be
donated to Cancer Council Victoria.


About the author


Jane Gillard is a writer, editor and former journalist who was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2018.  The news was devastating and she struggled to work out how to break the news to her children, who were then aged 10 and 7.

There was plenty of material to support parents but Jane could not find a book which explained to a child the impact a parent’s cancer diagnosis would have on their everyday life. 

She wrote Mum’s Purple Scarf to help other parents explain the cancer journey to their children.  It can be read with children from 4 to 11 years of age. It mixes information and humour in a literal way.

Read more about Jane and her cancer journey

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The Illustrator

Janet Croll is a designer and illustrator who lives in the hills outside Melbourne. 

She was born in Wales and studied in Aberdeen before emigrating with her husband to Australia.  She is the Creative Director of Two Red Dogs Design.

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"I read it to Maxi over the weekend. It was beautifully written and illustrated. I felt I could identify with the journey in the book.  Maxi was engaged and interested. It sparked a good conversation and questions he had. 
It had the right balance of information, everyday life and humour (Maxi loved the hair sandwich).  I also liked the references as to who they can talk to as well."



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