Going into Hospital

Even adults worry about going into hospital so it’s not surprising that a hospital admission can be a frightening experience for children. It may be their first time away from home and there are sure to be strange sights and sounds as well as possibly painful treatment. However children’s wards are warm, friendly places which do their best to make young patients feel at ease so visiting the ward in advance can help dispel many fears. Books can help too as they provide an opportunity to talk about what is going to happen. Some children’s units even produce their own booklets.

Can you make me better?
(Tulip Books)
It’s good to see a book that deals with heart surgery rather than having your tonsils out. It follows Rosie and her teddy through the whole process – initial visit to the doctor, packing, the operation and recovery – and mentions difficult things like blood tests, injections and bedpans. It also makes it clear that it’s alright to cry – Alfie does that several times and misses home, even though her mum is with here.  Friendly and fun, this is a good book for a child about to go into hospital. Alfie’s age looks about 6 but the book is suitable for children who are younger or older.
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Jim’s Lion
by Russell Hoban and Ian Andrews
When Jim needs an operation to save his life, he is frightened he might never wake up from the anaesthetic. But Bami, an African nurse, helps him find his seeker – a lion that will go with him into his dreams to make sure he comes back. Armed with his special don’t-run stone and belief in his seeker, he goes bravely into surgery and the story then cuts to Christmas to show the operation was a success. A gentle, thoughtful book which deals sensitively with a difficult subject without lapsing into sentimentality. Both my son and I wish we’d had this book when he needed major surgery. Hopefully it will find a place in many children’s wards who might like to keep a box of don’t-run stones handy.
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I don’t want to go to hospital by Tony Ross
(Andersen Press)
In this story,  the little princess from I don’t want my potty has something up her nose. She doesn’t want to go to hospital but, when she finally does, she enjoys herself so much that she wants to go back. An enjoyably story which gives children a chance to say they are frightened
too. There is no detail of what happens while she is in hospital but the one picture of her there shows it as friendly place and has plenty of non-medical detail to talk about. All royalties go to help the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital
Ages 2-6
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Topsy and Tim go to Hospital by Jean and Gareth Adamson
This straightforward story  is a good introduction to hospital for both a prospective young patient and his brothers and sisters. Tim is admitted because he has bumped his head but the pictures include a child with an  IV drip and another with her leg in traction which widens the usefulness of the book. The two children’s reactions are realistic with Topsy feeling left out and Tim looking suitably apprehensive in places,  but the overall impression is one of hospital being a friendly place where parents are around, staff smile and children play together.
Ages 3-7
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