Seven year old Sarajane ‘SJ’ Wilcox walks into a door she didn’t see, and a tumor is discovered pressing on her optic nerve. Because of the location of the tumor, the surgeon wants to shrink the tumor as much as possible before operating. Dr. Hamilton is the pediatric oncologist called in. He applies aggressive treatments, but they are slow to achieve results. Genevieve, SJ’s mother tells her daughter tales of a bear who must undergo a series of ordeals in order to become worthy of a little girl or boy. A Bearmas celebration is held when the bear completes its ordeals and arrives to live with the little boy or girl. Dr. Hamilton overhears Genevieve telling SJ about the bear and offers to tell SJ the first ordeal. They trade off telling the tales. Granma even tells one with help from SJ and Genevieve. As the treatments continue SJ, Genevieve, Granma and Dr. Hamilton all endure their own ordeals as each prepares for SJ’s surgery and pending momentous decisions.
"This is a truly unique book beyond comparisons. Written with children who are battling life-threatening conditions (and their parents) in mind, it recounts the hardships and trials a seven-year-old girl must go through after she is diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. Five stars to The First Bearmas. It elevates the art of allegorical writing to new heights as it brings hope and fresh insights into how to handle adversity. Look also for the beautifully illustrated companion book, The Illustrated Bearmas Reader, where Ralph really comes to life on carefully crafted, full-color panels. " - Publishers Daily Reviews