Elisha Cooper spends his morn­ings creating children’s books and his afternoons playing with his two daughters. But when he discovers a lump in five-year-old Zoë’s midsection as she sits on his lap at a Chicago Cubs game, everything changes. Surgery, sleepless nights, months of treatment, a drumbeat of worry. Even as the family moves to New York and Zoë starts kindergarten, they must navigate a new normal: school and soccer and hot chocolate at the local café, inter­rupted by anxious visits to the hospital. Elisha and his wife strive to help their daughters maintain a sense of stability and joy in their family life. And he tries to understand this new world—how it changes art and language and laughter—as he holds on to the protective love he feels for his child.

With the observant eye of an artist and a remarkable sense of humor, Elisha captures his family’s journey through a perilous time and, in the process, shows how we are all transformed by the fear and hope we feel for those we love.




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Praise for Falling

“Elisha Cooper’s Falling is a beautiful book that knows so much about love and uncertainty. This book left me deeply moved, full of admiration, and vibrating with gratitude for the ordinary moments of my own family’s life.”
— Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams

“As plainspoken as his beautiful picture books, Elisha Cooper’s Falling sketches out, in moving detail, a father’s ultimate ordeal. It’s also a wonderful and often comic account of raising kids in New York City.”
— Julia Glass, author of Three Junes

“A small, wry, trenchant book. While Cooper’s subject is ostensibly his young daughter’s illness and recovery, in these deft pages he takes on the large themes of risk, responsibility, and love with rage and tenderness.”
— Cynthia Zarin, author of An Enlarged Heart: A Personal History

“This is a book I will never forget. I recommend it to everyone.”
— Abigail Thomas, author of A Three Dog Life