Six Months To Live by Lurlene McDaniel

Part One

  1. McDaniel, L. (1995). Six months to live. New York: Bantam Books.
  2. Genre: Teen Fiction Chapter book series

Grade Level: 7-9 grade

Part Two

From the moment I read the little summary on the back of the book I was already intrigued. When I was younger, I LOVED reading these types of books because as a person of that age, you try to imagine yourself dealing with the same issues (at least I do anyway). Within the first three chapters, I already found myself getting the goose bumps when she was describing how she felt receiving the news. I squirmed when she was describing how it felt to be injected (I hate shots) and just found myself not being able to put the book down. Just by trying to imagine what I would do if I were in Dawn’s shoes made me realize how blessed we have it to not be going through such a terrible disease like cancer. In the beginning of the book, Dr. Kneeland came in and talked to both girls about having a positive mindset and I couldn’t help but think about my mom right away. My mother always told me when I was sick to keep telling myself I wasn’t. She would always tell me, “Your mind is the biggest weapon you owe so if you start to think it, you start to believe it.” This exact motto is what the doctor was trying to do with the girls: have them think positive. Throughout the book there was that reoccurring theme of always living the moment regardless whether they had cancer or not and I loved it since that is what I live by: living life positively and in the moment.

Part Three

The plot of the story was told from the beginning, she is a normal 13-year-old girl who now has cancer and has to live through it and the changes that come with it. Although that was told straight off the bat, I think the plot was also in the middle when both her and her best friend are told they are not sick anymore but then they both receive the news that they are. This plays with the reader’s emotions (at least mine) because you go from happy because they are cancer free to sad because they are sick especially when Dawn receives the news that Sandy passed away. The setting mostly takes place in the hospital and a summer camp. The story is told in third person limited since you can only tell what Dawn feels at times. I think the reoccurring theme thorough out the book is to live the moment, which I love since I live by that everyday. Honestly, the book was so good; I would definitely read it with my students if I were to ever teach that grade level.

Part Four
Lesson Objective: Students will be able to compare and contrast the different characteristics of each character throughout the book.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why did Dawn’s friends treat her differently when they found out she had cancer?
  2. In the middle of the story, both Dawn and Sandy go to a summer camp. Have you ever been to one? If not, what camp would you want to go to? Share your experiences.
  3. Why do you think Sandy’s dad refused to let her get the bone marrow surgery?

Outside Sources:

1. ( This is the movie “My Sister’s Keeper,” with the permission of the families, I would play this movie in class and have them compare characters.

2. (This is the website to Relay for Life, I would want to get together a team to go on the walk to support the cause)

3. (Article on Leukemia so they can read more about the most common cancer amongst kids)

3 thoughts on “Six Months To Live by Lurlene McDaniel

  1. You’re book seems very interesting. I actually do the same. I picture my life as the main character and try to decide how I would react. Most of the time, I don’t because it scares me. Other than that, your book seems very interesting.


  2. Hey Kassy! Your book is also a very different type of read than mine. I already felt sadness reading your blog when you describe the two characters having cancer and Dawn receiving news that Sandy passed away. I wish I got to read your book because even though it seems emotional, it’s also empowering and motivating. I like how you described the theme as always living in the moment no matter if you are sick or not. That part reminded me of “The Fault in Our Stars,” where Hazel’s character refused to not climb the stairs and continued to live her life as if she wasn’t sick. I like your lesson activity of showing “My Sister’s Keeper,” the themes are very strong throughout these emotional cancer stories of young girls.


  3. This books sounds awesome from what you have written! I love the theme of living life positively. I also love that you would have the students read about cancer and show that movie! Awesome job!


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