I assigned my honors freshmen a nonfiction book of their choice, and as I’m walking around the room looking at their selections, one student showed me his book cover with a photo of a little’s girl’s face, and I say “hey, she’s in my fourth hour class.” Turns out, his book, Time Out, was written by their family friend, David Kelly, about his daughter’s journey through childhood cancer. And now that little girl, Hannah Kelly, is a junior in high school–healthy, strong, a good student, and a singer. When I asked Hannah about the book, she graciously gave me a copy. I promptly read it in a night.
Originally written as a series of blog posts as Hannah was launched on the roller coaster of a cancer diagnosis, her father, a man of great faith, eventually put these thoughts together into this book, chronicling their time—186 days to be exact—beginning in the spring of 2007 until Hanna permanently returned from Mayo Clinic. Though she had had some sort of mass in her right arm starting around the age of two, it remained a benign tumor growing with her for a number of years. But when she was ten, it changed—and tested malignant. Thus began their journey like all cancer journeys: the need for information even though you don’t yet know what questions to ask. Much too soon, you’re in surgery, and then you’re wading through the oncology world of chemo and radiation. What struck me throughout the book was Hannah’s calm demeanor and positive attitude. At age ten, she had enough faith and strength to keep herself going and to comfort her parents at the same time. I kept thinking about how grateful I was that I was the one who went through cancer treatment, not one of my kids. It must be so much more difficult as a parent than as a patient. A very inspiring story. (nonfiction)