Now That I’m Here, children’s book on illness and loss
This loving, uplifting story offers families and educators an entry point to helping children understand illness. All profits go to CHEO.
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Praise for Now That I’m Here
“Now That I’m Here is a touching, helpful book for all of us who deal with illness growing up. A lovely, sad, good and loving tribute that gives hope and strength where it’s needed most.” —Chris Hadfield, astronaut & The New York Times bestselling author (An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, You Are Here, The Darkest Dark)
“This heartfelt storybook reads as a gentle tribute to resilience, imagination and an inspiring little girl. Kate’s letter to us is tender and stirring, accompanied by dazzling and colourful illustrations.” —Sean Michaels, Giller Prize-winning author (Us Conductors)
“Now That I’m Here is a strikingly beautiful and moving eulogy for the death of a child. The story masterfully captures the voice of a young girl, and its heartfelt optimism in the face of the darkest circumstances is profoundly emotional.” —Hannah Moscovitch, award-winning playwright (East of Berlin, The Russian Play, This Is War)
- Daytime Ottawa / Rogers TV – September 16, 2016 interview
- Ottawa Citizen / Bruce Deachman – September 6, 2016 article
- Service Dog Tales / Rebecca Lee – A+ review
About this book
Now That I’m Here was written as a tribute to a very special little girl, Kate Drury, who passed away on November 30, 2015 at age eight. She died of a very rare form of mitochondrial disease called sideroblastic anemia, immune deficiency, fever and developmental delay (SIFD).
SIFD was first diagnosed in November 2011, when doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and Boston Children’s Hospital confirmed that Kate, who was only four years old, suffered from this rare form of the disease. Since then, several other cases have been diagnosed worldwide, all in young children.
Now That I’m Here was released in September 2016 during Global Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week. The book is available for print-on-demand orders, in English and French (as Toujours ici). It’s a very personal story about young Kate; it also touches on universal themes, offering a way for families to teach their children about death, illness and disability through a sensitive and uplifting book.
My hope is that Now That I’m Here can help continue Kate’s legacy, spread awareness into mitochondrial disease and lead to better treatment—profits will go to the CHEO Research Institute toward research into SIFD.
To learn more about Kate’s story, please read the Kickass Canadians article on her mother, Julie Drury, and visit Julie’s blog, Searching for Solid Footing.
For more information on mitochondrial disease, visit mitocanada.org. For the latest on the book, please ‘Like’ its Facebook page.
The creative team
- Amanda Sage, writing/publishing (Wonderpress)
- Karem Laguna, illustration
- Shawn Phillips & Shift180, design
- Simon Osborne, editing
- François-Michel Pellequer, translation
Thank you to the very generous donors who helped make this book possible.
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Much love to Julie, Brian, Jack and the rest of Kate’s family.
With Now That I’m Here, Amanda Sage has achieved the incredibly difficult task of introducing the idea of loss of life through crafted language and storytelling that young minds can digest, with a book that you’ll want to read to your kids. This beautiful story captures light in the darkness, creatively exploring the realities of childhood illness and death through the outlook of a young child whose innocence and imagination can take you anywhere. It is a rainbow after a storm, bridging the here and hereafter for hearts and minds young and old alike.
Now That I’m Here offers a gentle opening for parents to engage their children in discussions about illness, and more broadly about families and relationships. Beautifully written and illustrated, the story, told in Kate’s voice, provides a hopeful, healing message for families grieving the loss of a child or other loved one. I look forward to reading this with my boys, and will definitely recommend it to others.
As a former emergency room nurse at CHEO, I have seen families fall apart after a devastating diagnosis. Children are often the ones comforting their parents, showing their immense courage and grace. A beautifully written book such as Amanda Sage’s Now That I’m Here is not only a true story of love and strength, it’s also a wonderful tool to help families and their friends tackle a difficult conversation. The French translation is equally beautiful and tender, staying very true to the original—something I really appreciate, as a francophone raising a bilingual daughter. Thank you for this book.
Thank you all. I hope this book will reach, and help, many families and their youngsters.
This beautifully illustrated, poignant tale of loss and its aftermath is a must-stock for any school library.
Now That I’m Here is a wonderful story to help children understand that with the sadness of death, there is also a calming and hopeful feeling that if someone dies, they have moved on to another place where they can be strong and healthy. It’s a great tool for parents/teachers to use as a conversation starter for children who need to mourn and talk about the loss of someone close.
Now That I’m Here is a powerful story. It transcends the often-troublesome conversation of life and death that parents may have with their children. In Kate’s journey, we find comfort. It leaves us with hope. There’s solace in knowing that someday we, too, will all be “there.”
Now That I’m Here is a profound, beautifully written story of a girl who is moving on from our world into one where she has no limits. The extremely difficult subject matter is presented through thoughtful text and illustrations that are excellent in helping to guide a dialogue for children and adults on the subject of illness, death and loss. This touching story of love, loss and moving forward—both “here” and “there”—is a must-read for children and adults alike.
Now That I’m Here is a compassionate, beautifully illustrated tribute to a young girl who obviously inspired a great deal of love in others, and an admirable effort to educate people about the disease that cut her life far too short.
Thanks so much for the heartfelt comments. Now That I’m Here appears to be atop the Blurb Books bestseller list! I’m thrilled that it’s beginning to reach people. Please keep spreading the word.
As a parent who has had to explain to my young children the unknowns that surround illness and death, this beautifully written book allows the sharing of this unknown to not be so scary to their young and fragile minds. As a francophone, I am pleased there is a translation that not only manages to translate the words from English to French, but also to preserve the story’s gentle touch with such a scary topic. Now That I’m Here’s images are bright and striking, and make it a great visual for young ones, especially when they are tucked away safe in their beds at night and left to their own wild imaginations. This book will help create love and dreams as opposed to fear and loneliness. A beautiful homage to the wonderful little girl who was Kate.
Now That I’m Here tells a heartbreaking story in a way that is both beautiful and accessible to all ages. Its true gift, however, is that it helps take away the fear any parent would have in tackling such an impossible subject with their kids.
This book is so lovely, so moving, thank you Amanda Sage for writing it. I work at a school and I’m always on the lookout for books on a variety of subjects to share with others. There is such a need for ways to introduce issues like homophobia, bullying, racism, death, etc., to children, and books are a good way to open doors and start conversations. This is not only an incredible book, but will also be a wonderful resource that will help many children, I’m sure.
With a gentle approach and colourful illustrations, Now That I’m Here tells the story of a wonderful life and acts as a beautiful tribute to the strength and resilience of the human spirit. I knew Kate from school and this book captures her so well. It was good for my heart to read it.
I’m so glad this book is speaking to you all. Sandi, it’s always special to hear from people who knew Kate. I hope that others at your school will also benefit from Now That I’m Here.
Now That I’m Here is a wonderful book that is so important to read to all our kids, and not just to show them about the world out there, but to show them the beauty in it right here.
Thank you, Jim. That means a lot!
I want to say thank you for what you have done. I am blessed to say that I was one of Kate Drury’s teachers and after reading her story, the memories of Kate so easily flowed back into my head. Her smile and laugh and positive attitude were some of the many things that made me love going into work. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much.
Josh, you’re very welcome. I’m so glad the book brings back happy memories for you.
The parenting task of explaining the death of a sibling to surviving young children can be daunting and terrifying. Many parents worry that they may be causing their surviving children more harm with their words than help. Now That I’m Here is an essential resource for parents, as it allows them, through the eyes of eight-year-old Kate, an opportunity to answer the question, ‘Where are they now?’ This book instills hope, happiness and comfort to not only siblings but parents alike, all while reassuring of the permanence that exists in the bonds between parent, family and child. I highly recommend this book to any parent struggling to find the way to best comfort living siblings, or to any professional providing support to bereaved families.
Thank you, Carol. Coming from a palliative care MSW, that’s high praise! I hope the book proves to be a valuable resource for families who need it.
I am a child clinical psychologist in Ottawa and a professor at the University of Ottawa. I just wanted to write to you to share my thoughts on this amazing book you have written.
Now That I’m Here has become a very useful tool for me in my work. It is beautifully written, sensitive, and with such a positive outlook that it really speaks to my young clients. I also really like that it is very inclusive and would speak to families of different faiths. I strongly recommend this book for any child faced with loss, especially that of a sibling. It is best read with a parent as it can lead to great discussions and parallels can be drawn to their own circumstances. Nothing can take away the pain of childhood illness or death, but books like these help make it a little bit easier.
Thank you for writing this much needed book. It will serve so many families well.
Caroline, thank you so much. I’m so happy the book is helping you, your clients and others.
Now That I’m Here is a very thoughtfully written book and helpful therapeutic tool to use with young children learning to make sense of losing a sick family member. It presents some very sad and complex topics in a simplified and uplifting manner. Although it is geared for children, it can also be helpful for family members of all ages in their grieving process.
The story presents children with a way of understanding death as entering a different, non-specified, place described very simply as “here.” The ambiguity allows counsellors to use the book respectfully with families of various beliefs. Children and their families can then further discuss the concept of “here” and what it means to them.
The book continues to differentiate between “here” and “there” – where the deceased person used to live with family members. This helps children understand the separation created by death. It is often hard for children to understand why their siblings could not join in various activities or why parents had to constantly focus on elements related to the illness. It can be very comforting to imagine these siblings to be “there”; in a place where they can enjoy all the things they were unable to do while they were living with the illness. The positive message can help foster a sense of hope for the grieving family.
In addition, the story introduces a very healthy way to remain connected to a loved one who has passed. The idea that their family member is with them in spirit, encouraging positive developmental endeavours, can help children move forward with life and continue to follow their passions without remaining caught in their sadness and grief. A highly recommended read!
Thank you so much, Margaret. It means a lot to know that the book is helping professionals in the field and the families they serve. I hope it continues to be a valuable tool for you and your colleagues.
As a therapist working with children experiencing grief, I have found Now That I’m Here a wonderful resource. I have read this beautiful book to children and it has opened up important conversations with them about life, death and their emotions. Thank you for creating such a touching tribute to a very special little girl and her family.
Joanne, I’m so glad the book has helped you and the children you work with. Thank you for sharing.