Book aims to demystify cancer for children

  • Naama Zweig with her granddaughters
    Naama Zweig with her granddaughters

Roche helps produce a book that aims to demystify cancer for children and help them cope.

Naama Zweig is a grandmother. She has three granddaughters and lives in Israel. But she was not content with fading away into retirement. Instead she decided to write a picture book featuring her grandchildren and herself, to explain to children how cancer as an illness impacts an individual (in this case she herself) and how one can be more understanding of their condition even at a very young and impressionable age.

The book, written in Hebrew, was released in June this year and is called Uga Vemitpachat or A Cake and a Head-kerchief. “Naama is 63 years old and was the chairperson of the Israeli Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Addiction. A social worker all her life, she had seen from experience that hiding and ignoring illnesses did not help families cope, including children who could not understand too much anyway,” Amira Lidar, Public Affairs Leader, Roche Israel, tells

After her retirement, Naama approached the hospital where she had been treated for her stomach cancer and asked for help in producing the book. The spokesperson of the hospital called Amira and asked her if Roche could provide assistance. “We cooperated with her and the Israeli Cancer Association (ICA) to help produce this very useful and visually impactful book,” says Amira.

Explain to the kids

The book which is 40 pages long with several photographs of the author and three of her five grandchildren shows them going through different activities during the day, including baking a cake. Naama explains to her granddaughters what kind of illness she had and why she needed surgery in her stomach even as they go through fun activities together.

Explains Amira: “The goal of the book is to show in a sensitive way how the disease has affected the grandmother, and also explain to the kids the different side-effects that she had from the treatment. We all hope that they will be able to cope better by understanding these details. The grandchildren Michali, Shishi and Noga are three, five and a half and six and half years old, and they otherwise would not have been able to understand what was going on with their grandmother.”

Naama is happy with the end result. “Since the book came out, I keep receiving touching responses from people with cancer, especially grandmothers. They are full of gratitude and share with me the different ways in which they used the book. I feel I have done a meaningful thing,” she says.

The book is not available commercially but is being distributed for free by the Israeli Cancer Association at its events. Copies can be ordered on the ICA website: www.cancer.org.il.

Tags: Sustainability, Awareness, Patients