I received a request through Joyce Brubacher concerning books that may help MSUD families cope with MSUD issues. The request was made by Lori Smith Thornton, Aunt of Kayleigh Hahn. I called Magination Press so I could review any books I felt would help our situations. Two books sounded helpful.

What about Me? When Brothers and Sisters Get Sick
by Allan Peterkin, M.D.
In this book you are introduced to a family with a daughter and a younger son. It is written from the sister's perspective. It tells how the sister really likes having a little brother. But when her brother does something to upset her, she wishes she never had a little brother. Unfortunately her brother becomes tired and cranky, and has to go to the hospital. The story does end happily with the parents talking with the doctor and the sister. And the brother does get better.

I found this book to be very helpful with my four-year-old daughter who sometimes feels very left out when Zachary (our son with MSUD) gets sick. We had read this book once while Zachary was in therapy. A few days after reading this book, Zachary became ill and our four-year-old referred back to the book in explaining why Mommy and Daddy had to take Zachary to the hospital, and she had to stay at Grandma's house. So for us, this book was helpful in starting conversations with her.

Little Tree: A Story for Children with Serious Medical Problems
by Joyce C. Mills, Ph.D.
In this book you are introduced to a happy tree, Little Tree and a squirrel, Amanda. During a storm, Little Tree's branches are hurt and Amanda calls upon the Tree Wizards of the forest to help. Unfortunately, they can't fix Little Tree's branches. They have to remove them in order to save her life. With Amanda's help, Little Tree learns to accept her new, changed self and to find other strengths inside herself. The story also introduces the practice of the "Magic Happy Breath." This is where Little Tree had to take a deep slow breath and imagine the beautiful sky swirling through its whole trunk and branches. I think this practice would be helpful to relax your children when they get upset over medical procedures.

If you are interested in either of these books or want a list of all the books available from Magination Press, you can visit their Web site:, or call 800-374-2721 or write to Magination Press, American Psychological Association, P.O. Box 92984, Washington, DC 20090-2984.


The MSUD Family Support Group is currently funding several research projects and we are proactively looking for researchers interested in developing new treatments or finding a cure for MSUD. Significant funding is necessary if we are to accomplish this goal.
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