Sammy’s Broken Leg: A happy ending book for an unhappy child with a broken bone

Source Judith Wolf Mandell

When Judith Wolf Mandell’s granddaughter Davi was just two, she broke her upper leg (femur) and spent the next four weeks encased in a chest to ankle spica cast. Imagine what that must have been like for her — and also her family. Judith said it was extremely difficult watching as “pain, immobility, and disruption of her life turned our granddaughter into a sad, scrawny version of her robust self.”

Judith searched and searched for a children’s book that might help brighten up her granddaughter’s life. She couldn’t find a single one. So she did what any resourceful grandmother would do. She decided to write her own book. “I vowed to someday write a book to help other young children and their families cope with the physical and emotional upset of life interrupted by a cast – from a fracture or other cast-causing condition such as hip dysplasia,” she explained.

It helped that Judith was already a professional writer. She had been a television producer, journalist, mayoral press secretary, book reviewer, and publicist. I guess that and the fact that she’s a mother and a grandmother qualified her to take a stab at writing a children’s book. She admitted that she’d never written fiction or a children’s book before, but she was willing to give it a try!

Cover Sammy's Broken Leg
The result was the delightful book Sammy’s Broken Leg (Oh, No!) and the Amazing Cast That Fixed it. Like Davi, the main character (Sammy) broke her leg while she was out playing and ended up in a humongous cast. Step-by-step readers get to follow Sammy through getting the cast to having it removed to being able to run and play outside again.

Illustration for Sammy's Broken Leg

Source: Judith Wolf Mandell

The wonderful, colorful illustrations in the book are by Lise C. Brown. Like the one above, which shows some things that make Sammy happy — when “Gamma [Judith] and Grandpa came with yummy treats” and when “Mommy and Daddy took Sammy for adventures in a wagon.”

Davi holding Sammy's Broken Leg

Source: Judith Wolf Mandell

The day finally arrived when Sammy’s leg had healed, the cast came off, and she was back doing all the things that two-year-olds do. But what about Davi, the inspiration for Judith’s book? Well, Davi is now 11-years-old and one of her Gamma’s strongest supporters when it comes to marketing the book and letting kids know that there is life after a broken bone.

Check out the book’s website Sammy’s Broken Leg to see Davi read the book and also offer advice to kids. You’ll also find some useful information about broken bones in kids and, of course, you’ll be able to buy the book (which, by the way, won the Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval.)

Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. Now she writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.