Books about family illness

Charlie Changes into a Chicken

Books can help if you and your family are going through tough times. It is comforting to know that you're not the only one.

This is a selection of stories where a member of the protagonist's family is ill. It includes mental illness, as well as physical.

  • The Perfect Shelter

    Author: Clare Helen Welsh

    Interest level: 4-8

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  • The Perfect Shelter

    Author: Clare Helen Welsh

    Interest level: 4-8

    Reading age:

    It’s the perfect day to build a shelter, the perfect day for a family expedition, the perfect day to play in a den. However, joy t…

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  • Sometimes

    Author: Rebecca Elliott

    Interest level: 4+

    Reading age: 6+

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  • Sometimes

    Author: Rebecca Elliott

    Interest level: 4+

    Reading age: 6+

    When Toby’s sister Clemmie is unwell, she has to go and stay in hospital...

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  • Pretend Cows

    Author: Nicola Davies Illustrator: Cathy Fisher

    Interest level: 6-11

    Reading age: 7+

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  • Pretend Cows

    Author: Nicola Davies Illustrator: Cathy Fisher

    Interest level: 6-11

    Reading age: 7+

    When Maxy's beloved herd of cows has to be killed for suspected disease, Maxy refuses to believe they're gone, choosing instead to…

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  • Pirates of Darksea

    Author: Catherine Doyle

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Pirates of Darksea

    Author: Catherine Doyle

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

    When Max answers the call to join Captain O’Malley’s pirate ship instead of his brother, who’s ill, it’s the start of a rip-roarin…

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  • House of Robots

    Author: James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

    Interest level: 7-10

    Reading age: 7+

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  • House of Robots

    Author: James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

    Interest level: 7-10

    Reading age: 7+

    Patterson and Grabenstein create a funny, easily read novel, liberally aided by Juliana Neufeld’s illustrations, but beneath…

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  • The Rollercoaster Boy

    Author: Lisa Thompson Illustrator: Gemma Correll

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 8+

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  • The Rollercoaster Boy

    Author: Lisa Thompson Illustrator: Gemma Correll

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 8+

    Todd's life is like a rollercoaster ride, with endless twists and turns, exacerbated by the unpredictable behaviour of his mentall…

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  • Operation Nativity

    Author: Jenny Pearson Illustrator: Katie Kear

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Operation Nativity

    Author: Jenny Pearson Illustrator: Katie Kear

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

    When the Archangel Gabriel inadvertently blasts several members of the nativity into a present-day Hampshire village, siblings Osc…

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  • The Final Year

    Author: Matt Goodfellow Illustrator: Joe Todd-Stanton

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

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  • The Final Year

    Author: Matt Goodfellow Illustrator: Joe Todd-Stanton

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

    When he falls out with his best friend and then his little brother is rushed into hospital, Nate’s world is turned upside-down. Th…

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  • Skellig

    Author: David Almond

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 11+

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  • Skellig

    Author: David Almond

    Interest level: 10+

    Reading age: 11+

    Exploring a ramshackle garage with his new-found friend Mina, Michael discovers a strange, magical creature who needs his help.&nb…

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  • Who Let the Gods Out?

    Author: Maz Evans

    Interest level: 9-13

    Reading age: 10+

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  • Who Let the Gods Out?

    Author: Maz Evans

    Interest level: 9-13

    Reading age: 10+

    A quirky fantasy adventure in which a human boy and a Greek goddess accidentally release an immortal supervillain who is determine…

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  • Miraculous Miranda

    Author: Siobhan Parkinson

    Interest level: 9-12

    Reading age: 9-12

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  • Miraculous Miranda

    Author: Siobhan Parkinson

    Interest level: 9-12

    Reading age: 9-12

    When her sister has to stay in hospital, Miranda escapes into her own fantasy land: Magnanimous. Can Miranda write a miracle for h…

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  • A Pocketful of Stars

    Author: Aisha Bushby

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 8+

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  • A Pocketful of Stars

    Author: Aisha Bushby

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 8+

    Safiya must uncover the truth of her mother’s history to help her survive the present. A beautifully written and page-turning…

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  • Ella on the Outside

    Author: Cath Howe

    Interest level: 8-11

    Reading age: 8+

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  • Ella on the Outside

    Author: Cath Howe

    Interest level: 8-11

    Reading age: 8+

    Ella's going through a lot of changes - a new home, a new school, and a big family secret to keep under wraps. But how f…

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  • Stonebird

    Author: Mike Revell

    Interest level: 11-13

    Reading age: 9

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  • Stonebird

    Author: Mike Revell

    Interest level: 11-13

    Reading age: 9

    An accessible and engaging story about the sadness and joy of family life and the power of memory, magic and storytelling.

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  • In Darkling Wood

    Author: Emma Carroll

    Interest level: 11-15

    Reading age: 10+

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  • In Darkling Wood

    Author: Emma Carroll

    Interest level: 11-15

    Reading age: 10+

    An unusual and engaging dual-narrative tale about love, loss, faith and complex family relationships.

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  • Dandelion Clocks

    Author: Rebecca Westcott

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Dandelion Clocks

    Author: Rebecca Westcott

    Interest level: 9+

    Reading age: 9+

    Powerful, memorable and accessible, the book also boasts a very positive depiction of a character with Asperger's Syndrome.

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  • Ghosts

    Author: Raina Telgemeier

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 8+

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  • Ghosts

    Author: Raina Telgemeier

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 8+

    Cat is moving with her family to a new town in Northern California where the colder, wetter climate will be better for her sister …

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  • Boom Boom

    Author: Jude Idada

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 9-10

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  • Boom Boom

    Author: Jude Idada

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 9-10

    A heartwarming, heartbreaking story about one Nigerian family whose life is blighted by sickle-cell anaemia and a remarkable talki…

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  • A Beautiful Lie

    Author: Irfan Master

    Interest level: 11-13

    Reading age: 11+

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  • A Beautiful Lie

    Author: Irfan Master

    Interest level: 11-13

    Reading age: 11+

    Set in India during the summer of 1947, A Beautiful Lie follows the tumultuous events of the Partition of India through the eyes o…

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