Friday, November 23, 2007

From Robert's Snow to John's Shelf

My friend and SCBWI New Mexico member Katie Beatty has a son. His name's John. Just before his 16th birthday John was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his leg. Katie writes about his journey on her web site. She says, "In the hospital, he asked me to read him Beowulf, during chemo. I wondered about his request until we were well into the story, and then realized why." The struggle against evil, the journey of a hero, the power of story sustained John through his ordeal. Today, John is a survivor of his battle with cancer, a young man getting on with the next steps of his life. Katie, in honor of her son's experience and in honor of all the children and teens fighting cancer in New Mexico, has now founded John's Shelf. The shelf is a cart, located in UNM Children's Hospital. Donations of new or very gently used books are sought for it. Those books are then given away to children undergoing treatment. New Mexico Kids ran an article on this project, and on one teacher's contribution to it.

If you live in New Mexico, if you read the Robert's Snow posts here and on other blogs, if you're planning to bid on a snowflake, if you just happened upon this post, consider donating a new children's or YA book to John's Shelf.


  1. I love the idea of a 16-year-old boy wanting to hear the story of Beowulf. Good for John, slaying Grendel and Grendel's mother too, and surviving. May he go on to kill even more monsters and live a long, rich life.

    I wish that I'd heard about this a little earlier: friends of ours just got rid of several boxes of children's books and I could have referred them to this charity instead.

  2. It's a continuous program, Mary, since they give the books away. So tell people you know because there's always a need for more books.

  3. Hi Uma,

    This is such a great idea. What a wonderful thing for those kids. I hope it flourishes.

    Great to see your blog.

  4. Uma, thank you for posting this information about John's Shelf and connecting it to Robert's Snow. Cancer is ugly but the people who fight it are beautiful!! The UNM kids are truly amazing and love choosing books. A three-yr-old recently diagnosed with cancer sat on her mother's lap, listening to the chosen picture book. I am grateful for the love shared.

  5. Hi Uma,

    I will certainly send a book to John's Shelf. Its a wonderful and worthwhile cause.
    Thanks for the information.