Jon’s Tricky Journey by P. McCarthy
McCarthy, Patricia. Jon’s Tricky Journey. Illustrated by Hwai Lim. Inhabit Media, 2017.
Jon is a young boy living in Nunavut, who experiences his first trip south when he has to be hospitalized for cancer treatment. This story describes Jon’s impressions of a large urban hospital, his cancer treatment experience, and how he copes with separation from home and family. Questions for the young reader, posed throughout the story, encourage conversation and engagement with the story.
The text, author’s notes, and resource section are bilingual, written in Inuktitut and English. Hwei Lim’s detailed illustrations of the hospital environment and images of Northern life complement the descriptions of Jon’s cancer care journey and aspects of life in the North that he brings with him.
The book includes tools and information to help family caregivers navigate cancer care processes. Resources include a list of treatment facilities and community resources, an introduction to patient navigation and cancer care team members, and questions to ask the oncology team. There is also a glossary, although it does not always define English-language terms in plain and clear language (e.g., the term lump defined as “an abnormal mass”), which may limit this section’s usefulness. Resources for health professionals include a copy of the Northern Pain Scale, a reference list for Inuit-specific cultural awareness, and cancer information.
Author Patricia McCarthy notes that Jon’s Tricky Journey was written to meet the need for pediatric cancer care information relevant to Inuit children and their families. Prepared with input from Inuit organizations and reviewers, and geared toward children with cancer, their families, and health care professionals working in pediatric cancer care, this book would be a welcome addition to a hospital library or a patient and family resource centre.
Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Maria Tan
Maria is a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta and a former editorial team member of the Deakin Review. She is the co-author, with Sandy Campbell, of the Children’s Health Fiction Checklist, described in the October 2014 Special Issue of the Deakin Review (Vol. 4, No. 2) https://ejournals.library.ualberta.ca/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/23321.
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