"A Checklist for Dad" is a children's book written by cancer researcher Tricia Larose.

When research includes writing children’s books

Tricia Larose is a cancer researcher who did her PhD and a postdoc at NTNU. But her research interests went beyond studying cancer — to writing about the disease for children.

When Tricia Larose was awarded postdoctoral funding from the Research Council of Norway to work at the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) from 2017-2019, she was really there to work on the largest lung cancer study in the world.  The data in the study came from 20 international cohorts, including NTNU’s own HUNT Study.

But at the same time, she was also inspired to write a book for kids.

“I wanted to make an impact and this book project was very much in line with IARC/WHO’s mission: Cancer research for cancer prevention,” she said.

Thus was born “A Checklist for Dad.” The book is the the only children’s book about cancer ever published by the IARC/WHO.

Watch a video about the book:

“The book was originally titled ‘Cancer is not contagious’ and was much more focused on anxiety and other feelings a child may experience when a close family member is diagnosed with cancer,” Larose said. But then she realized that maybe telling a story to help explain complicated topics related to cancer might be a better approach.

“It’s important that children have stories of their own to help explain complex topics that can be difficult to discuss without prompting. When a family is struggling with a cancer diagnosis, it can be difficult for adults to explain the disease to children,”  she said. “This is why the story includes a Q&A section at that back that explains tumours, treatment, and side-effects for different types of cancer.”

Larose also asked the IARC, which published the book, to donate all proceeds of the book sales to the IARC’s education and training group efforts.

“I discussed her proposal with then-IARC Director Christopher Wild, who personally reviewed the draft manuscript. Based on his comments, Dr Larose accepted that the book would highlight prevention (i.e. promote preventative behaviours that children can adopt for a healthy and happy lifestyle), in line with IARC’s overall mission,” said Anouk Berger, head of the IARC’s Education and Training group. “With the outstanding support of our communications colleagues, ‘A Checklist for Dad’ adventure at IARC started.”

Read the press release from the IARC about the book, which contains a link to purchase it.