It's a talk no parent wants to have: how to tell your children about cancer.
One mother's battle against the disease inspired a children's book that helps kids understand the illness.
“I was thinking, is this a dream? I don't really understand,” said Emma Rodriguez, 9, who had the heart wrenching ordeal of watching her mother undergo breast cancer treatment.
Emma and her sister Cora are the inspiration behind the book ‘Hair to the Queen,’ a children's book about living with cancer.
Her mother Tamara Beliard-Rodriguez is the author and a cancer survivor. A former Montrealer, she stopped by the city on her recent book tour and now has the book available in both English and French.
“With children, how do you explain it? Some adults don't even understand what it is. With children, you have to find the right words,” said Tamara.
Only six and four years old at the time of her diagnosis, Tamara explained the illness as best she could to her girls.
“I actually had a lump and I had them touch the lump and said, ‘Mommy has a boo-boo,’” she explained.
Facing chemotherapy and hair loss, the book reflects the struggle she felt to tell her children such serious news.
“I'm the type that feels that children can understand if you just talk to them in a way that they can understand,” she said.
Cora, the youngest in the family, was only four when her mom was diagnosed
“She told me cancer was a sickness and you have to take medicine,” she said.
Tamara, now in remission, hopes her story will inspire others to confide in their kids, even at a young age.
“If they don't know what's going on, that's when they're scared,” she said.