"Benjy And the Monster with the Thousand Billion Heads"
A Story Your Way!
Benjy has cancer.
But what is cancer anyway? And what impact does it have on his life, his family and friends?
Choose your version:
Benjy’s story is available in three main versions: told by himself, told by his sister Lea or told by his school friends Charlotte and Paul. You can also choose between different types of cancer and two illustration styles. All versions have been translated into several languages. Get your version on this plateforme.
The author would like to extend special thanks to Dr M. Diezi of the University Hospital of the Canton of Vaud, the Cancer League of the Canton of Vaud and therapist A.K. of the University Hospital of Bern, as well as all the parents, children and loved ones who contributed information, advice and feedback.
A Project of the Association Novacarta
BenjyStories is a project of the non-profit organization NovaCarta
NovaCarta was created on 28 May 2013, by Monica Axelrad, Dejan Dinčić and Urs Richle, in the Pâquis area in Geneva, in Monica’s kitchen.
The non-profit organization was the result of a long chain of events and discussions between the three of us about books and projects.
Monica and Urs had already worked together for several years at the University of Geneva on “Digital Interactive Storytelling”. Dejan brought his e-learning skills to the team.
Monica had two children, a two-year-old son and a daughter of a few months old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. At the hospital, she was given a children’s book that explained cancer. Her son loved to listen to the story, which reflected several aspects of his new reality – with one important exception: This book showed a nuclear family (mother, father, daughter) whereas Monica lived alone with her two children. Monica’s friend, Veronica Tighe (who later joined our project) said to her one day: “You know, I skipped that chapter in the book where the dad goes to the zoo with his daughter, because I don’t know how to explain it to your son because of his own father’s absence.”
This is how the idea of a customizable book was born:
What if we created a book that could be adapted to different family settings so as to explain what cancer is? And what if you could pick: … who is sick? … The different types of treatments? … The graphic design of the book? … The language?
After a period of fund-raising, at the beginning of 2014, NovaCarta was able to launch the project « Lia and the peas or what is cancer? » The title of our first customizable book that explains cancer to children. This book can be ordered on www.liastories.ch
Unfortunately, Monica died of cancer in 2016.
In 2017 we launched the second book-project about children's cancer: BenjyStories. The book "Benjy And the Monster with the Thousand Billion Heads" was finished in June 2019 - available on this plateforme.