January 7, 2014

Children's book addresses parental illness

PLATTSBURGH — Having witnessed his father’s battle with disease, Frank Nardelli II knows the tribulations that children face when their parent is not well.

The children’s author, educator and father of two also knows a little something about communicating with youths.

So it’s no wonder the GIST Cancer Awareness Foundation turned to Nardelli, a Plattsburgh native now residing in Michigan, for help with its efforts to reach children living with a sick parent.

The result, “Stand Tall,” is Nardelli’s third book and aims to support kids growing up with a mother or father who is ill.


In writing it, the author drew from the difficult emotions he experienced while watching what his father, Frank Nardelli of Plattsburgh, went through before dying of cancer seven years ago.

He also used what he knew about his 9- and 6-year-old daughters’ perceptions of the world to help him understand how a child might feel in a similar situation.

“I kind of felt that there was a gamut of emotions that kids could experience,” Nardelli said.

“Stand Tall” attempts to address all of those emotions, he continued, in an effort to let young readers know they are not alone with their feelings.

“I wanted to show kids who were angry and kids who were sad, and I wanted to show kids who were just confused,” Nardelli said.


For example, one anonymous character in the book is upset with his or her mother for getting sick and not being able to cook and help with homework.

“Sometimes I get really mad because I want macaroni and cheese for dinner, but she doesn’t feel good, so we have to make sandwiches again,” the character says.

“Stand Tall” is intended to validate the emotions that young readers may be feeling, Nardelli noted, but also to remind them they are loved and can draw on the support of their families.

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