2021 #BookAwards

Sammy: Hero at Age Five was selected in the 2021 IAN Book of the Year Award – Finalist – “True Story/Drama.”

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“Kids can get hungry sometimes while on chemo,” says five-year-old Sammy, having a good day despite the malignant tumor invading his brain. Based on true events from the 1980s, Sammy’s story is imagined by his mother and brother as if the young boy might tell it himself. The result is gripping. Told in two parts, Sammy’s account first invites us into the everyday middle-American lives of a mom and her two boys. Sammy is a sweet, good-hearted kid, even as he faces the most difficult challenges in Part 2: “Cancer Arrived.” Here Sammy talks us through hospital trips and procedures, the hardest parts as well as moments of simple joy. It is not always possible to survive such a grim diagnosis, so Sammy and his family must embrace the smaller victories from one day to the next. Finally, our young hero is given one last opportunity to find his own unique path toward triumph. Listen closely as Sammy tells us all what matters most.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this true-life story is that it is told from Sammy’s point of view. While written in the language of a five-year-old boy, the messages within his words are truly profound. The thoughts fit a little boy’s world – excitement in eating a Popsicle; hoping his mother will marry again, and he will have a new father; a wish to go to Disney World. The writing is clear and concise, and the photographs add to the realistic nature of the story. M. Schmidt and G. D. Donley shared their story to help other children and families facing these kinds of diagnoses in this memoir. This is a touching and unforgettable book!

“Written from the point of view of a five year old little boy… both funny and sad are moments that all children fighting cancer, their siblings, and their parents should read. The antics of Sam and his big brother, Gene, are funny and scary at times, but they are real—real-life events and situations. A must read!”

“All children who suffer from cancer and their families could benefit from, and relate to, this short story. Highly recommended and five stars all the way.”

“His love-able personality shines through on every page and he has left a legacy of a life well lived that is an example to us all.” 

“…a story of Sam’s incredible bravery and faith in the face of a devastating situation.”

“..point of view of a five-year-old boy …main focus …is to relay the love he has for his family and how grateful he was to spend every minute he could with them.”

“…I couldn’t stop reading.”

“This story was written in such a way that it really feels like there is a five-year-old boy telling it to you, which makes it all the more heartbreaking.”

“…will keep you captivated right along with Sammy as he unfolds his story about a 
horrific battle with cancer.”

“Sammy was a feisty little thing with a huge heart and desire to achieve his goals, and his relationship with Jesus was incredible for someone so little.”

“I highly recommend this book to families facing such trials. I know they would gather courage and inspiration along with an appreciation of life on earth and what awaits them in heaven with Jesus by reading Sammy’s story.”

“Sammy: Hero at Age Five is definitely an emotional roller coaster!”

“The photographs included throughout complete this five star read.”

“He was a hero since his conception.”

“Sammy: Hero at Age Five had me hooked from page one, and I found myself trying to put my own person into the shoes of a five year old boy who became a hero.”


2019 Readers Favorite Five Star Book Award

2019 Readers Favorite Honorable Mention – Non-Fiction in Drama

2019 New Apple Awards Official Selection – Religion/Spirituality

2020 Reader’s Favorite Honorable Mention – Drama

2021 IAN Book of the Year Award – Finalist – “True Story/Drama.”

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