Hannah's Big HeartMy name is Larry Spain, and my eight year old daughter (Hannah) was diagnosed with Arterial Septal Defect (a hole in her heart) in November 2016 and she had open heart surgery in December 2016. Now she and I are co-writing a children’s book about Hannah’s open heart surgery experience. The book is titled “Hannah’s Big Heart” for two reasons; first because Hannah is a very loving and selfless person, and secondly because Hannah’s heart is enlarged due ASD.
Why Write The Book?
The idea to write the book came about when Hannah was first diagnosed. I searched for a children’s book to help me explain the surgery to her, but there are not any children’s books on the market that covers open heart surgery. So I went ahead and I research Atrial Septal Defects and open heart surgery, hospital stays, etc. and then I broke it down into easy to understand terms, and began explaining to Hannah what I thought her surgery would be like. However the information that I found was more like misinformation and it was difficult for me to help Hannah prepare for her open heart surgery. During that period of time I had other parents reach out to me seeking advice on how to best prep their children for heart surgery. So after Hannah’s surgery was completed she and I began writing “Hannah’s Big Heart” to help other children who are facing heart surgery. “Hannah’s Big Heart” will offer a very (age appropriate) descriptive account of what a child (and their parents) can expect, and is written to help reduce the anxiety and stress that a surgical procedure can cause.
The reason why I feel that Hannah and I are qualified to write this book is because we lived it and experienced it first hand, and because we are very passionate about sharing Hannah’s story and the importance of early CHD detection. “Hannah’s Big Heart” is written by Hannah herself, as her father and the book’s co-writer I am simply putting her words on paper. I have conducted several series of interview sessions asking Hannah about her open heart surgery experience. These questions included; questions about the doctor’s visits, the tests leading up to her surgery, the surgery itself, and her recovery phase. Hannah answered those questions in great detail and I wrote her words down on paper. Hannah is working with a wonderful local art teacher Nancy Maxwell who is helping Hannah illustrate Hannah’s Big Heart. Hannah has established the cover, the back of the book, as well as multiple images for several of the pages. Even though the story is by Hannah, I feel qualified to put the words on paper for her. I have studied creative writing in the past and have successfully completed both screenplays and short stories.
The Book Details:
Hannah’s Big Heart will most likely be self-published. The book will be 30 pages long, it will have between 1,500 and 2,000 words, and it will be written for children from ages 5 to 9 years old. The book will measure 8.5” (vertical) by 8.5” (horizontal). To date we have the book about half way completed and we hope to have it self-published by the end of February.