Why, Charlie Brown, Why? A Story About What Happens When a Friend is Very Ill is the heartwarming story of a young girl diagnosed with leukemia who attended school with the Peanuts Gang. The book was first published in 1990, some weeks before the animated special titled Why, Charlie Brown, Why? was aired.
Sparky had received a letter from a nurse named Sylvia Cook, who worked at Stanford Children’s Hospital, asking him if he could produce a short animated film addressing the topic of cancer in young patients.
At first, Sparky didn’t think he could do justice to this story because he didn’t have a personal connection, but Sylvia, as well as Helen Caruthers, a nurse from Oakland, continued to provide him with information about what happens in the lives of young children with cancer. After thinking about it for a long time, Sparky came up with a story that he felt proud of.
Sparky’s ability to conceive of a story plot in this case goes back to what Sparky called his “repertory company.” He said that within his cast of characters there was always someone who could play any role he wrote.
Linus, with his natural compassion and his willingness to stand up for his principles, became the perfect character to carry the plot forward. And, of course, Snoopy as the World Famous Surgeon plays an important role.
It pleases me that our Spanish agent sought out this book to translate and publish. The following letter from an oncology doctor in Madrid is heartwarming and affirms that Sparky’s work continues to resonate with readers. Putting the book in the hands of teachers is more than Sparky could have hoped for.
I’m writing to you to thank you for this wonderfully edited and written book. I was brought up with Charlie Brown, this character decorates the walls of the Pediatric Oncology Unit that I manage and he’s always been part of my personal and professional life.
I have many “Charlie Browns” in my life, some of them are still by my side and some others have left already. Snoopy always makes me smile, with his meaningful silent smile.
It´s remarkable, it’s been a long time until I have found a book that reflects my thoughts regarding how my patients are treated in the world they live in, with their laughs, their sorrows, their jealousy and love… In fact, as real as life itself and as real as the life of a child.
I love Snoopy walking up the stairs dressed as a surgeon.
Thank you very much from the heart. I will give your book to all the school teachers of our patients.
Dra. Blanca López-Ibor
Jefe de la Unidad de Hematologia-Oncologia Pediatrica
Hospital Universitario Madrid Monteprincipe