The Dumb Ugly Cancer Bug in Pillow Form–For KIDS

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Here is how to make an easy Dumb Ugly Cancer Bug for you or your children.

The Dumb Ugly Bug is the name of one of my cancer picture books (not yet published) about going through chemo therapy.

Materials:  1 Pillow Case, Waterproof marker (Sharpee), 1 pillow, 1 rubber band, tons of aggression to take out on the “Cancer Bug.”


1. Place a pillow case on a hard surface to make it easier to color on. 

2. If you are worried your marker may bleed through place a newspaper inside the pillow case as you draw your face for your cancer bug. 

3. Allow your child to express how they think cancer looks to them on the pillow case. (Or make one for yourself.)

4. Place a pillow inside the pillow case and close the end with a rubber band.

5.  When you or your child feels angry about cancer allow them to take it out on the dumb ugly cancer bug.   (Punch it.  It feels good!)

Interesting perspective about my children’s story on The Dumb Ugly Bug:

I felt sick to my stomach as I sat around a table at an SCBWI Conference in NYC as a group of people, plus an editor critiqued our children’s book manuscripts. It is called an INTENSIVE and yes it was. I wore a hat over a nearly bald head of hair.  I decided to hold my head high, and go for it, even though I knew that presenting a cancer children’s book at the conference would be different than the happy bunnies or birdies read from the rest of the table. I was frightened when my turn came.  I was not full strength yet, but wanted so much for the story to be read with emotion and rhythm. When I got to the climax and the cancer bug was gone no one spoke.   The editor paused for what seemed too long, and then said her publishing house would not have any interest in this type of book.  That was all she said and opened it up for critiques from the others sitting around the table. 

One gentleman commented that I shouldn’t end the story so happily when, “You know, it might not end that way.” 

I asked the gentlemen if he felt HOPE was important to healing. 

He said, “Not false hope.” 

So, I said, “How should I write the ending to this story?” 

And he said, “Children should not have to read about such terrible things.” 

Yep, he was right about that!  But unfortunately mine did.  And I am going to bless them and every other person who has to deal with “such things” with HOPE.

So take your aggression out on that pillow and know that your mom, dad or you will be better VERY soon!

Just keep fighting and have HOPE!


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