Review of ‘Gracie and Josh’

Home » Review of ‘Gracie and Josh’

Written by Susanne Gervay and illustrated by Serena Geddes

Publisher: Ford Street Publishing

Age Range: Early Childhood – Middle Primary

Themes:  siblings, family, illness, childhood, hospitals, cancer, resiliance


Click on cover image or title links to purchase.

Sometimes I finish reading a children’s book and I just hope, hope, hope that it finds its way into the right little hands and the right family. Every child wants to see their life reflected in a book, to know they are not alone, and to know that someone feels and thinks as they do. Young children do not always have the words to express their deepest feelings, but sometimes an author finds the words for them.

‘Gracie and Josh’ is a book that I really do hope finds its way into the many homes where families are battling childhood illness, that it may offer some comfort, reassurance and a few smiles in a tough time.

Though the illness is never named, ‘Gracie and Josh’ is a story of the effects of childhood cancer on the whole family. It is endorsed by VarietyVariety-the Children’s Charity is a national not-for-profit organisation committed to empowering Australian children who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs.

Gervay and Geddes have tackled a tough subject with lightness and with laughter. Gracie loves dressing up and pretending to be a squiggly black spider. Her brother Josh is making a movie about Gracie Spider. On his good weeks Josh delights in playing with Gracie and the close bond between the siblings radiates from both words and illustrations. On his bad weeks Gracie sits by his bed and reminds him that incy wincy spider just kept on trying, getting up time after time.

The story is set at home, and then largely in a children’s ward in a hospital. When the doctors get Josh to take his beanie off, Gracie gets upset and mum gets upset at Gracie. Some of the tough struggles that are faced are depicted, but Garvay at all times focusses on the sometimes small glimmers of hope, fun and laughter.

Ford Street Publishing are producing some great books, and this is one of them.

Teachers notes by the author are here.

To add this book to your home or school library click here.

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 The title and cover picture of this book takes you to the Australian based online bookstore Booktopia. If you live in the US or would prefer to use Amazon click here. If you live in the UK or would prefer to use Book Depository click here.

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  1. Sharon Rundle on Mar 5, 2013 at 7:15 am

    A sensitive and delightful story book. Susanne’s skill and light hand in writing about serious illness combined with Serena’s endearing illustrations result in a witty, funny story that shows how children can use their imaginations and love in the most difficult circumstances.

  2. Susanne Gervay on Mar 12, 2013 at 6:01 am

    The gift of working with VARIETY the children’s charity to celebrate kids and families through the story of Gracie and Josh is a privilege.

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