Skip to main content

Simple Talk

  • When a family is touched by illness, everyone feels its effects in their own way. This program is dedicated to meeting the needs of parents diagnosed with cancer, who have children under age 18.

    Based on the book Simple Talk for Tough Times this program can guide adults in the conversations they have with the children in their lives about a cancer diagnosis and help them cope with the ongoing changes cancer often brings.

    Simple Talk offers:

    • in-person sessions with you and your family members
    • resources including books, journals, and other written material, that you will be able to take home and use
    • referrals to community programs and other online resources
    • Angel Backpacks—provided by the Angel Foundation and filled with activities and items for each individual child
    • special events

    Simple Talk for Tough Times

    Simple Talk for Tough Times can help you talk with the children in your life about a cancer diagnosis and help them cope with the enormous changes cancer often brings.

    Table of contents and free downloads

    The cover of Simple Talk for Tough Times: Talking with Children about Cancer shows an elephant walking with a mouse who is holding a large yellow flower.

    Download the complete book - all 99 pages.

    Introduction: How to use this book

    In addition to general advice and suggestions, Simple Talk for Tough Times explores each phase of childhood development. Each section offers age-appropriate ideas for what to say, what to do and what to observe when talking with children about cancer.

  • expand to learn moreChapter 1: Breaking the news

    expand to learn moreChapter 2: Facing uncertainties

    expand to learn moreChapter 3: Special circumstances

    expand to learn moreChapter 4: Ideas and resources

  • Award-winning author

    Marcia Carlson, the author of of Simple Talk for Tough Times: Talking with Children about Cancer, smiles as she accepts an award.

    For years, Marcia Carlson, a now retired social worker previously with the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute® at Unity and Mercy Hospital, had trouble finding resources to help parents with cancer talk to their children about it. That is why she wrote Simple Talk for Tough Times.

    In 2011, the Minnesota Hospital Association recognized Carlson's efforts by naming her Caregiver of the Year