Author and illustrator at book signing event.Bob and I began Smile Books Project to help children with life-threatening illnesses tell their stories. However, we find ourselves compelled to help tell the stories of organizations doing great work. Camp Kesem is without a doubt an organization with a story worth sharing. I had heard this name, Camp Kesem, being discussed and wanted to know more about it. After researching, I contacted Bob and we wanted to write a book about what they do. Kesem’s mission is one that every community should know about and use as a resource. They explain:

“Kesem is a nationwide community, driven by passionate college student leaders, that supports children through and beyond their parent’s cancer. By offering innovative, fun-filled programs that foster a lasting community, we aim to ensure that every child impacted by a parent’scancer is never alone.”

I reached out to the University of Cincinnati’s chapter and, just a few months later, Bob and I found ourselves in the middle of a day at camp! There were kids of all ages playing, laughing, bonding with their counselors and living in the moment. It was an amazing site to see. We had the chance to ask every age group questions about camp. That’s when we saw the real “magic” of Kesem. As each child talked about their experience, their eyes were big and so were their smiles. The impact this organization has on children who have a parent with cancer is incredibly moving.

Thank you to the University of Cincinnati chapter and to the campers who shared their thoughts and stories with us. We hope this book inspires others to get involved with Camp Kesem and helps share their mission.


Sarah Curry Rathel

The Magic of Camp Kesem