Kernow Young Carers

Bringing Hope, Giving Happiness, Creating Memories



We now have a library of resources available to borrow to support young carers, their families, and professionals who support young carers.


A Daughter Like Me

Jacqueline Roy

Bessie, the middle daughter, is always the one who gets in trouble with their father when he moves the family to London after their mother’s death, but she and her sisters must figure out how to survive on their own when he walks out of the house and never comes back.

A Begonia for Miss Applebaum

Paul Zindel

Henry and Zelda are stunned to discover that their favourite teacher, Miss Applebaum, won’t be back at school teaching science. In fact, Miss Applebaum hasn’t very long to live. When Henry and Zelda become the Saturday companions of their, beloved teacher, her exuberance for learning, having fun, and helping the homeless is contagious.

Their visits to Central Park, museums, and other places around New York City open an exciting new world to Zelda and Henry. But Miss Applebaum can’t escape the inevitable. Will Henry and Zelda be able to carry out her last wish?

A Dragon in Your Heart

Sophie Leblanc

How do you explain to a five year old that her mother has cancer? This text grew out of the experiences of Sophie Le Blanc who, at the age of 28 had a successful career in Children’s TV Programming and, as the mother of a 5 year old daughter, felt that life was smiling on her. For a year she had been feeling a lump in her left breast. To the doctor she consulted, it was only a harmless lump. It continued to grow, however and gradually changed. An exploratory operation confirmed that she had advanced breast cancer. The news came suddenly and threw her life into disarray. Thunderstruck, this active, energetic woman quickly realised that her little daughter was just as distressed as she was. Sophie was at a loss for words, the right words. Her first reaction was to find them outside herself, for example in a book that would help guide her. But none of the books she looked at were meant for children. So, during her long hospital stay, Sophie indertook to write for her daughter a short, explanatory book. A few sentences, a few drawings simply put together to explain the situation to her as clearly as possible. The little book became “A Dragon in Your Heart”

A White Horse with Wings

Anthea Davies

A retelling of five tales includes: “A White Horse with Wings”, “Alcestis”, “Aucassin and Nicolette” and “The Horn of Healing”.

All Kinds of Bodies

Emma Brownjohn

Third in the bestselling ALL KINDS OF….series. Do you like the way you look? Would you rather look like someone else? Maybe you are large and your best friend is thin. Maybe you have a round face and short neck and another friend has a square face and long neck. Maybe you use a wheelchair or a stick to get around. Or wear glasses or a hearing aid. This delightful lift-the-flap book says that no matter how we look on the outside, under the skin we are all the same – special. At the end is a happy lift-the-flap skeleton to hang on the wall.

Becca’s Race

Bette Paul

When Becca was diagnosed as having leukemia her father, an emotional, musical Welshman, behaved as if life was over. Her mother, made of sterner stuff, struggled to add regular hospital visits to an already busy life. The family, Digby and Sam, coped remarkably well.

Bring in the Spring

Hannah Cole

For her community project Bel goes to help at Willowbank School where children have learning difficulties. There she finds Sarah, a girl who can’t talk. But Bel suspects that Sarah has an observant mind and her interest in her brings about dramatic results in Sarah’s life.

Broken Soup

Jenny Valentine

When the good-looking boy with the American accent presses the dropped negative into Rowan’s hand, she’s sure it’s all a big mistake. But the next moment, he’s gone, lost in the crowd of bustling shoppers. And she can’t afford to lose her place in the checkout queue – after all, if she doesn’t take the groceries home, nobody else will.

Rowan has more responsibilities than most girls her age. These days, she pretty much looks after her little sister single-handedly – which doesn’t leave much time for friends or fun. So when she finds out that Bee from school saw the whole thing, it piques her curiosity. Who was the boy? Why was he so insistent that the negative belonged to Rowan?

Caitlin’s Wish

Victoria Taylor

Life is good for Caitlin, until her father becomes disabled. Everything changes in Caitlin’s life and she struggles to accept what has happened to her family. She can’t let go of the life she knew before. It seems so unfair! “Why me?” she cries, “Why MY Dad?” She feels so sad and alone. She doesn’t want to upset her family by telling them how she feels. Instead she tells all her troubles to the little robin who sits on her windowsill. Rufus the robin has a plan though! He arranges a magical trip to Fairyland that will change her life forever.

This is the story of how Caitlin comes to terms with her Dad’s disability and learns to be happy again. “Caitlin’s Wish” was written by Victoria Taylor for her daughter Adele-Caitlin. She was only 2 yrs old when her Dad was diagnosed with a rare brain condition called IH. Initially Adele -Caitlin coped well because she knew no different. However when she started school, she realized that her life was different. She became a very sad little girl. She was too young to access the support networks for young carers, so Victoria wrote this book to help Adele-Caitlin see life from a different perspective. After reading the book she learned to look for the things that her Dad could do, rather than dwell on what he couldn’t do anymore. By focusing on the positive elements in her life, it made it easier to cope with the negative. “Caitlin’s Wish” has been published in the hope that it might help others.

Catherine’s Story

Genevieve Moore, Karin Littlewood

What makes Catherine so special? She can’t talk, and she can’t walk like her cousin Frances can. But Catherine listens very closely, she walks in her special shoes, and her claps are so quiet that hardly anyone can hear them. These are some of the things that make Catherine special and, because her family knows how special she is, this makes them feel special, too…so Catherine’s dad tells her as he puts her to bed. Just before he turns off the light, he sees Catherine smiling and clapping her hands.

This beautifully illustrated and simply told story is about a girl with an unspecified disability who relies on others to help her do many ordinary things, but who offers them much love and happiness in return.


Elizabeth Buchan

It is a truth universally acknowledged that all mothers want to see their daughters happily settled. But for Lara, mother to Maudie and stepmother to Jasmine and Eve, realizing this ambition has not been easy. With an ex-husband embarking on a new marriage, and the surprising and late blooming developments in her own love life to contend with, Lara has enough to worry about, especially with Eve’s upcoming wedding. And when she begins to fear that Eve is marrying a man who will only make her unhappy, and Maudie reveals something that shocks the entire family, Lara faces the ultimate dilemma. Does she step in and risk the wrath of her daughters? Or does she stand by and watch them both make what she fears will be the biggest mistakes of their lives?

I am Special

Peter Vermeulen

I am Special is a workbook developed by Peter Vermeulen and already used extensively with young people with autism spectrum disorder. The workbook is designed for a child to work through with an adult – parent, teacher or other professional. Unlike other books, its content and layout are devised especially for children who read, think and process information differently.

I am Special is divided into two parts. The first is a theoretical introduction that explains how to inform children that they have autism or Asperger Syndrome and how to use the worksheets with groups or individuals. The second part consists of a series of worksheets which the child works through with an adult to create a unique and personal book about him or herself. It includes a series of exercises that present autism positively. They strike a balance between general facts, information about autism and personal information, covering the strengths an autistic person may have as well as the difficulties they may face.

I am Special can be used with young people over the age of ten years. Not only is it an excellent source of information for the autistic child; it can be the first step in a process of counselling or psychotherapy or the springboard for a discussion group on autism.

I Want to be an Angel

Jamila Gavin

A collection of stories set in a multi-racial community, the book features four children, each with a dream.

“This book is about Effie who more than anything wants to be an angel in the school play. Her best friend gets give the part instead of her because she gets in to trouble at school because of her younger brother. The story is also about how Effie tries to look after her whole family because her mother is disabled. The story is very heartwarming and touching. It was so good I had to keep reading it until I had finished it. The story was sad and happy. I would recommend it to other people because the story was very clear and I enjoyed it very much.”

In a Little While

Charlotte Hudson, Mary McQuillan

Wobbily Fang’s mummy doesn’t look like Mummy any more. She looks small and lost and alone in her strange room in the hospital. When are you coming home? asks Wobbily Fang. In a little while!Mummy reassures him. But just how long is ‘a little while’ and how can Wobbily Fang make Mummy’s eyes sparkle like they used to? Wobbily Fang brings Mummy all the home comforts in hospital until she is all better and smiling again, ready to wear her moonfeather coat home.

It Isn’t Easy

Margaret Connolly, Rosita Manahan

It’s never easy when someone dies. This is the story of a child, after his brother is killed in an accident. It follows him and his parents through their reactions, their feelings of sadness and anger and pain, and shows how they begin to come to terms with what has happened. Intended for children aged 4 and over, and written by an experienced counsellor in this area, this is an honest and brave look at coping with the hardest thing of all – the death of a child.

Jade’s Story

Helena Pielichaty

Jade should be happy. She has just won the Year 6 Outstanding Pupil of the Year award from school but when she returns home with her friends everything is ruined by her father’s odd and embarrassing behaviour. Things go from bad to worse and when her father has a nervous breakdown, in public, Jade refuses to return to school.

Jenny Angel

Margaret Wild, Anne Spudvilas

How do you talk about death with children? Margaret Wild tells the story of Jenny, who’s brother Davy is dying. Jenny thinks that if she just does everything right, if everything is just ‘so’, then Davy will be OK.
This moving book is great to share with young and old, boys and girls, teachers and students. Wild’s thoughtful text pairs magnificently with Spudvilas’ wonderfull illustrations to create a satisfying and complete whole.

Just Because

Rebecca Elliott

My big sister Clemmie is my best friend. She can’t walk, talk, move around much, cook macaroni, pilot a plane, juggle or do algebra. I don’t know why she doesn’t do these things. Just because.

A younger brother describes all the fun he has with the big sister he loves so much—just because, in this heartwarming picture book about being perfectly loved, no matter what. He is enthusiastic about just how loving and special she is, and delights in telling us about all the fun things they do together. Only as his tale unfolds does the reader begin to realize that his sister has special needs—and by then the reader just accepts, as he does, all the wonderful things about her. Teachers and librarians will appreciate this book for its sincere and convincing treatment of children with special needs, while parents will use this book to encourage sibling friendship and to read with children who are beginning to ask why a particular child they know is “different.”

A Little Dorrit

Mary Sebag-Montefiore, Barry Ablett

The classic story by Charles Dickens retold for children ready to tackle longer and more complex stories.

Amy Dorrit grows up in Marshalsea Prison, where her father is imprisoned for debt. But in this classic tale of poverty and wealth, sacrifice and greed, fortunes can change in a moment – even Little Dorrit’s.

Part of the Usborne Reading Programme developed with reading experts at the University of Roehampton.

Make A New Friend

Jean and Gareth Adamson

Topsy and Tim are delighted to learn that their disabled friend Jenny is going to join their class. Lots of the children have never seen anyone a wheel chair before but Miss Terry explains all about it and the class soon discover that Jenny really is no different to them!

Mama Zooms

Jane Cowen-Fletcher

This little boy has a most remarkable mama. She zooms . . . and she takes him with her. As they travel in her zooming machine, she can be all sorts of things, but most of all she’s his wonderful mama. Zoom along with this joyous pair, and share the vitality and warmth of a very special relationship between a little boy and his mother, who happens to have a zooming machine–a wheelchair.

Mile High Apple Pie

Laura Langston, Lindsey Gardiner

“My Grandma’s not the wrinkled kind; she’s the special kind instead. She wears trainers with yellow laces and she laughs very loud. She remembers lots of things like milk carts and special songs. But some days, her remembering is not so good…”

A wonderfully moving account of the special relationship between a little girl and her grandmother who has Alzheimer’s.

My Chair

Louise John, Andy Elkerton

I can play tag in my chair, I can dance in my chair, I can play with my friends in my chair!

Oranges in No Man’s Land

Elizabeth Laird

Since her father left Lebanon to find work and her mother tragically died in a shell attack, ten-year-old Ayesha has been living in the bomb-ravaged city of Beirut with her granny and her two younger brothers. The city has been torn in half by civil war and a desolate, dangerous no man’s land divides the two sides. Only militiamen and tanks dare enter this deadly zone, but when Granny falls desperately ill Ayesha sets off on a terrifying journey to reach a doctor living in enemy territory.

Red Sky in the Morning

Elizabeth Laird

Twelve-year-old Anna is looking forward to the birth of her baby brother. Ben arrives, but is disabled and will never be like other children. Anna loves him with her whole heart but she finds herself unable to admit the truth of Ben’s condition to her school friends. Eventually the truth gets out and leads not to the ridicule Anna expected, but sympathy and understanding.

Rolling Along with Goldilocks & the Three Bears

Cindy Meyers, Carol Morgan

“Once upon a time, there were three bears: a great big papa bear, a middle-sized mama bear, and a baby bear who used a wheelchair to get around. They lived in the forest in a house that had ramps instead of steps for baby bear…”. So begins this perennial favourite children’s story with a ‘special-needs’ twist.

This story unfolds with many of the familiar scenes of the classic tale, and ends on a hopeful note. Here, Baby Bear uses a wheelchair, goes to physical therapy, and ultimately makes friends with Goldilocks. Lively, full-colour illustrations help to tell this heartwarming story. Young readers with a physical disability will be delighted to discover that Baby Bear is like them, and will want to share the book with classmates and friends. Physical therapists and teachers will also find Rolling Along with Goldilocks and the Three Bears a useful and empathetic story to read to children and recommend to families.


David Almond

When a move to a new house coincides with his baby sister’s illness, Michael’s world seems suddenly lonely and uncertain.Then, one Sunday afternoon, he stumbles into the old, ramshackle garage of his new home, and finds something magical. A strange creature – part owl, part angel, a being who needs Michael’s help if he is to survive. With his new friend Mina, Michael nourishes Skellig back to health, while his baby sister languishes in the hospital.But Skellig is far more than he at first appears, and as he helps Michael breathe life into his tiny sister, Michael’s world changes forever…


Jacqueline Wilson

Amy, Bella, Chloe, Daisy and Emily are friends at school and have their own Alphabet Club (just look at their initials!). Daisy is the newest member and is desperate to fit in, even though Chloe is very unfriendly to her at times.

When the girls begin planning sleepover parties for their birthdays, Daisy is dreading her own – she doesn’t know what her friends will make of her rather special older sister…

Special Brothers and Sisters

Annette Hames, Monica McCaffrey

Special Brothers and Sisters is a collection of real-life accounts from the brothers and sisters of children with special needs, disability or serious illness, ranging in age from 3 to 18 years.

They explain, in their own words, what it’s like to live with their siblings.There is a lot of advice available for parents of a child with a disability or illness, but very little about the important issue of educating their siblings about how they feel, and why they may behave differently from other children.

These stories – from 40 different families – come with related tips to help siblings deal with some of the things that happen in their family lives. The book also provides a helpful glossary to explain, in child-friendly language, the disabilities and medical conditions mentioned, including:* ADHD* autism* cerebral palsy* cystic fibrosis* Down syndromeSpecial Brothers and Sisters is an engaging and educational collection that will enable young people and adults to share in the extraordinary experience of being a sibling of a child with special needs, a disability or serious illness.

Special Stories for Disability Awareness

Mal Leicester

This work presents stories that both educate and entertain. We learn from them and the learning is fun. They also stimulate our imagination and creativity.

In this collection of short stories, the heroes and heroines are disabled children who defy the stereotypes associated with being disabled: being pitiable, a victim, freakish or a burden.

“Special Stories on Disability Awareness” provides stories that fire the imagination and promote disability awareness and discussion among children aged 4-11 about universal issues such as fear, loss, feeling ‘different’, bullying, exclusion, joy, success, friendship and emotional growth.

The stories provide a safe environment for young children to discuss painful emotions as well as a tool for teachers, parents and professionals to understand the experiences of disabled children.

Each chapter features an engaging story, linked discussion and learning materials as well as suggestions for activities and photocopiable handouts.

All those who work in early education or support young children will find this an invaluable resource.

Tears after Dark

Sally Ann Whiteside

This title, based on a true story, is an account of a young boy, growing up in a family torn apart by alcohol and drugs.

Review: “This book is a real eye opener. During the 1960s, Terry and his brother lurch from one episode to another, growing up in a miserable cold home where their dad often lies comatose on the sofa while mum is drunk and vicious. From suicide attempts to violent fights, here it all is in black and white, vividly brought to life. Whether they are living in the Gorbals in Glasgow or rural Surrey, it makes no difference to what these boys endure. But even though the subject matter is sad (and it does make you cry) there are lots of funny things too and that’s what we liked about the book. Also the ending is quite up beat – you feel there is still hope for kids who have suffered. It was absolutely impossible to put down.”

Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Thomas Hardy

The chance discovery by a young peasant woman that she is a descendant of the noble family of d’Urbervilles is to change the course of her life. Tess Durbeyfield leaves home on the first of her fateful journeys, and meets the ruthless Alec d’Urberville. Thomas Hardy’s impassioned story tells of hope and disappointment, rejection and enduring love.

The Amber Spyglass

Philip Pullman

In the astonishing finale to the His Dark Materials trilogy, Lyra and Will are in unspeakable danger. With help from Iorek Byrnison the armored bear and two tiny Gallivespian spies, they must journey to a dank and gray-lit world where no living soul has ever gone. All the while, Dr. Mary Malone builds a magnificent Amber Spyglass. An assassin hunts her down, and Lord Asriel, with a troop of shining angels, fights his mighty rebellion, in a battle of strange allies-and shocking sacrifice. As war rages and Dust drains from the sky, the fate of the living-and the dead-finally comes to depend on two children and the simple truth of one simple story.

The Charlies Barber Treatment

Carole Lloyd

How do you cope with the death of someone you love? Some people break down; others, like 15-year-old Simon Walters, clam up. Friends, family, neighbours – all are given the same cold shoulder. Somehow though a stranger, Charlie Barber, won’t be shaken off.

Review: “When your young you are made to think that boys shouldn’t cry, if they do they are girly and not big and tough, often boys who were upset would be picked on for this reason. Obviously this is totally wrong. This book shows this it is alright to cry, and that often you need to cry and let your feelings out instead of letting them build up inside you. The story is about a boy who looses his mother and has difficulty expressing his sadness”.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time

Mark Haddon

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, fifteen-year-old Christopher is autistic and everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favorite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is deeply funny, poignant, and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.

The Day my Parents Ran Away

Josephine Feeney

Sarah’s father has a nervous breakdown and leaves home abruptly. When her mother follows him, Sara finds herself left to look after two younger sisters. Sarah is struggling to keep things normal and to keep other bossy adults from finding out the truth.

The Gift Boat

Peter Dickinson

This book is set in Scotland, in a village called Stonehaven. Gavin is a ten year old boy who lives with his mum, grandmother and grandfather. His father works away at sea and his mother and grandmother work full time. Gavin is looked after by his granddad and the two get along really well. Granddad makes model ships as a hobby and is making one for Gavin for his birthday. Gavin decides to call his ship Selkie after the story that his Granddad told him about seals that turn into people when on land.

One day, without warning, Granddad has a massive stroke and can’t move or speak. Gavin is sure that inside the helpless body his real granddad is trapped wanting to get out. Gavin goes to visit his granddad as often as he can to see if he can get through to him. With some magical help from the selkies, Gavin finally sees an improvement in his Granddad.

The group found the ending a bit too sudden and would have liked to know if Gavin’s Granddad did leave hospital or make a full recovery. They felt that Gavin making daily visits to a hospital, miles from home was somewhat far fetched. Their favourite characters were Gavin and his grandmother.

The Granny Project

Anne Fine

“What does he mean? What’s going on? Are you two thinking of putting Granny into a Home?”

“Thinking is finished,” Natasha told him. “It is decided.”

The four children, Ivan, Sophie, Tanya and Nicholas, can’t believe it. Their parents are planning to put their grandmother into a Home. She’s a bit of a dotty old lady – sometimes demanding, often annoying – but as much a part of their lives as their shambly house or the whirring of the washing machine.

So they decide to take action. They begin ‘The Granny Project’, with immediate and sensational results…

The Illustrated Mum

Jacqueline Wilson

Dolphin adores her mother: she’s got wonderful clothes, bright hair and vivid tattoos all over her body. She definitely lives a colourful life. Dolphin’s older sister, Star, also loves her but is beginning to wonder if staying with a mum whose temper can be as flashy as her body-art is the best thing for the girls…

The Village by the Sea

Anita Desai

Forgotten by the evolution of the centuries and indifferent to the advances of the twentieth century, Thul, a tiny fishing village not far from Bombay, continues to follow those rhythms of the seasons that have always been handed down. Hari and Lila were born and raised in the village, but now their family is falling into despair: the father to alcohol while the mother is seriously ill. As for money, that there is not even enough to meet the most basic needs between.

The Wind is Silver

Thurley Fowler

When tragedy strikes the Robinson family, it is Jennifer who must take charge and draw on all her reserves of strength in a year which will alter her and the family’s life forever. The author’s first children’s novel “Wait For Me” won Rigby’s 1980 Juvenile Book of the Year.

The Wise Mouse

Virginia Ironside, Nick Sharratt

Maria is a little girl who’s very worried about her mother: why does she behave so oddly at times? One night, very upset about it all, Maria feels a tap on her shoulder and wakes to find a mouse sitting on her duvet. It’s not just any old mouse, but a very wise one who can talk to Maria about all her worries…

This book by Virginia Ironside and illustrated by Nick Sharratt aims to help 5 to 11 year-olds understand what is happening to a family member who may be experiencing a mental illness.

Views From Our Shoes

Donald J. Meyer, Cary Pillo

Offers advice to siblings of developmentally disabled children, assuring them that they are not alone, and that other kids have had similar experiences.

Review: “This collection of entries written by siblings of children with disabilities gives students easily relatable stories, and a nice introduction to a variety of special needs that children are faced with. Stories range from feelings of love and acceptance, to frustration, and an unfair sense of responsibility for their sibling and their parents’ expectations.”

What’s Wrong with Timmy?

Maria Shriver

Maria Shriver offers a compassionate platform for discussion with this well-written story about disabilities. Influenced and inspired by her parent’s involvement with the Special Olympics, as well as her husband’s devotion to the cause, Shriver writes a tender tale about accepting others for who they are.

Kate is a young a curious girl, always inquiring about those things she does not understand. When she meets a boy in the park who looks and acts differently, she asks her mom, “What’s wrong with Timmy?” Her mom calmly and clearly tells her that people are different: “Timmy is a child with special needs, and he takes longer to learn than you.” But Kate’s mom emphasizes that the two kids have more in common that people might think. Kate and Timmy are formally introduced, and while Kate initially feels uncomfortable, she realizes that they can be friends. Including Timmy in a basketball game with some leery friends, Kate shows her true colors as a friend. She vows that if anybody asks, “What’s wrong with Timmy?” she’ll simply tell them, “Why, nothing…nothing at all!”


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