Big Boss Brain is a book for kids of parents or a loved one with brain injury. It is narrated by Cassidy, whose father sustained a traumatic brain injury in Iraq in 2004. She also sustained a TBI when she was 2. In the book, she guides readers on a journey of discovery to learn and answer questions about the changes in a loved one following a TBI.
Big Boss Brain was written by Shannon Maxwell, Cassidy's mother.
The illustrator, Liza Biggers, lost her brother, Ethan, at age 22. In 2006, he was shot by a sniper in Baghdad and succumbed to his wounds 11 months later after a long battle.
Letter to the adults
Big Boss Brain was created and written to help children better understand what may be happening to a loved one after brain injury and find hope in the possibilites of a changed but love-filled life together.
We hope this book will foster rich, positive conversations with children and each other. Take comfort in knowing you are not alone, and believe in the possibilities!
The story begins
Cassidy's story starts with her own brain injury ...
Cassidy explains the "invisible injury"
Hi! My name is Cassidy, and I have a traumatic brain injury — TBI for short. You wouldn't know it by looking at or talking to me. This injury is often called an "invisible injury." You can't always see it. It's deep inside my head. You can't see your stomach ache, and neither can others, but it's there.
The "C" on Cassidy's head
When I was two, my mom and I were in a terrible car crash. I was rushed to the hospital. Nurses and doctors helped me to get better. I'm almost ten now. Like other children my age, I read and run and play with friends. But I still have a reminder of my TBI.
Cassidy's special scar
On the right side of my head, hidden by my hair, I have a scar shaped like a "C." This is where the doctor operated.
Since my name starts with a "C," I think this is pretty special. It makes me a unique, one-of-a-kind, special kid. It is also something I have in common with my daddy.
Cassidy and her father's scars
You see, Daddy has a scar on his head, too. His scar is shaped like a big question mark. Daddy has a "penetrating TBI." One day, a mortar (a kind of bomb) broke through the left side of his hard, boney skull and got into his soft brain.
An inspired partnership
Shannon Maxwell: This book is dedicated to my children, Alexis, Eric, and Cassidy, and all those children with a family member recovering from a traumatic brain injury. Thank you for the joy and energy you bring to the household and for your unconditional love throughout the healing process.
Liza Biggers: This book is dedicated to my wonderful husband, Charlie, who is always willing to model for reference and is constantly my support through late nights illustrating.