TK San Antonio in the News!

Kathleen Sutter, our Tracy’s Kids Art Therapist at Methodist Children’s  Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, some of the kids and staff were interviewd for the local news. Here’s the link to the story so we can all meet them and hear how much the folks in San Antonio appreciate the work of Tracy’s Kids.

The doctor with the glasses

On the middle right in this panel from our Carroll Square exhibit in 2012 you will see a portrait of me that was done by an older kid--note the glasses!

On the middle right in this panel from our Carroll Square exhibit in 2012 you will see a portrait of me that was done by an older kid–note the glasses!

A little guy (almost three) was preparing to come to clinic with his big brother, who is the patient. His mom told him they were going to the doctor. “The doctor with the glasses?,” he asked. “No,” said mom, “the doctor doesn’t have glasses.” As they arrived in the clinic he came straight to the art area and said, “This is the doctor with the glasses, she lets me paint!” And paint he did. . .

Champions Video!

One of our kids just sent me  the link to a wonderful music video that was made by Camp Simcha this summer. He’s one of a whole bunch of boys in the vidoe.  Check it out!

And while you’re at it, take another look at Tracy’s Kids Keep Your Head up!

Now you’re inspired for the rest of the day.

Tracy’s Kids and Junior Monet

The Tracy’s Kids gallery at the Junior Monet website is beginning to fill up with wonderful artwork from our kids. Here is the link to the gallery

and a couple of photos giving you an idea of the great products you can order–they make great gifts and they benefit Tracy’s Kids.

A selection of Tracy's Kids products on Junior Monet

A selection of Tracy’s Kids products on Junior Monet

Junior Monet has started a great new campaign called “Art for a Cure” and “Art for a Cause.” If you purchase items from these collections, Junior Monet will make an additional donation to Tracy’s Kids! Take a look, happy shopping, and keep checking back for more art from our kids!

Art for a Cause benefits Tracy's Kids

Art for a Cause benefits Tracy’s Kids

A great resource for moms of our littlest kids

The mom of one of our patients sent me this link. It’s about a great idea that a little cancer patient’s mom came up with–a little tube-top with a pocket to protect her daughter’s medication cathether tubes. Many of our kids have “tubeys” so they can get intravenous medication without a needle stick, but they have to be careful not to pull the tubes or get them dirty. We do a lot of play with the little ones, putting pretend “tubeys” in dolls or teddy bears and letting the kids practice administering “medication,” cleaning, and generally getting more comfortable with the tubes. You can read the article below from Seattle Children’s hospital about one solution to help our littlest kids cope with their “tubeys.”

I have also included a page depicting a medication catheter from our comic book for kids with cancer, “Kids vs. Cancer,” by Tracy Councill and Linda Kim and published in 2011 by Georgetown University Hospital’s Child Life Department with a grant from the Bear Necessities Foundation.

Tubey page from "Kids vs. Cancer" by Tracy Councill and Linda Kim

Tubey page from “Kids vs. Cancer” by Tracy Councill and Linda Kim

Drawing Food!

A lot of times when our kids have to wait to eat until after a medical procedure, they choose to do art about food. Sculpting pizzas, cakes, cupcakes, drawing hamburgers, fruit, or ice cream is very common at the art table. Many of the kids drawing all this food have gone without breakfast–and sometimes lunch too–waiting for a test or scan that involves sedation. I always thought it was curious that of all the things that seemed to help kids who couldn’t eat, drawing their favorite foods was a big one!


An article in the Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science may shed some light on this phenomenon. Researchers asked subjects to draw picture of  cupcakes, pizza, strawberries or green peppers. They found that drawing pizza elevated the subjects’ moods by 28%, cupcakes and strawberries by 27% and 22% respectively, green peppers only 1%. So maybe our kids knew intuitively that drawing food, even when they couldn’t have it, would make them feel better.

Here’s the citation and a link to the full article if you want to know more:

G. Privitera, B. Moshaty, F. Marzullo and M. Misenheimer, “Expressing Food through Art: Evidence for a Nutrient-Specific Effect on Mood,” Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, Vol. 3 No. 2, 2013, pp. 163-167. doi: 10.4236/jbbs.2013.32016.

Happy Independence Day!!

Independence is  a wonderful thing–whether celebrating America’s birthday or just the idea of acting independently, we can relate. Here is a re-post of some of the American Flag art pieces we have made this summer and the process of creating them. Nothing like giving a kid a syringe full of acrylic paint to let them know you trust them!

Lombardi FlagLWC FlagCCBD FlagIMG_3078Flag process 6Flag process 5Flag process 2American Flag

Art from Art Therapists

At the American Art Therapy Association Conference last week in Seattle, I bought $5 worth of raffle tickets to benefit  the Multicultural Committee’s Scholarship Fund. Much to my surprise, at the end of the closing reception they drew the tickets and called out my name! Here is a picture of the banner, hanging in the art area at the clinic at Lombardi.

American Art Therapy Association Multicultural Commitee Art Banner

American Art Therapy Association Multicultural Commitee Art Banner


Hooray for Scribbles!

Young children like to experiment with paint. To a three or four-year old, mixing colors is scientific enquiry. What happens when you mix blue and yellow?  red and yellow?  red and green? all the colors together?–when you’re little it’s a revelation. Many small children perform these experiments over and over, trying out combinations until the paper is covered in what looks like a blackish blob.

Art and Science Converge

Art and Science Converge

Sometimes adults wonder if there is something wrong when a little one’s paintings turn to black. They see them start with beautiful bright colors and then come up with black-ish soup. Does all that black suggests depression? sadness? a lack of imagination? In most cases it is just the opposite. Creative exploration without judgment is important to cognitive development. Pretty is not always the point. Kids need to try out every imaginable combination for themselves, over and over, to understand how what they do influences what shows up on the paper. So next time your little person asks to paint, say yes–and turn them loose!

Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation Family Retreat Day

This Sunday, June 23, the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation will hold its annual Family Retreat Day from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Glen Echo Park, Glen Echo, MD.

The day will feature speakers and discussion groups for parents and older patients, and art, games, face painting, nature activities, a puppet show and other activities for kids. Keynote Speaker Beth Wells, MD will discuss Late Effects Study Outcomes for brain tumor patients.

The Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation (CBTF) offers support, networking, and information to brain tumor patients and their families, and funds research, advocacy and education on childhood brain tumors. To find out more, visit their website: For more information about the retreat day or to RSVP, email