Tales of a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.
DareBone’s Big Break
Gleeson Rebello, M.D. and Jamie Harisiades
Illustrated by Randy Jennings
ISBN: 978-0-9889381-4-4 (hardcover)
Pp 38. June 2013. $14.95 (pb) and $4.80 (Kindle)
My ten-year-old let out a whoop of delight when he first saw this book. It’s large, it’s courful and it’s attractive. It is the kind of book that even draws an adult to go through, and before you realise it, you’ve learnt something new.
Its co-author Dr Gleeson Rebello is a pediatric orthopedic surgeon born and brought up in Goa. Currently he is a consultant in the department of orthopedic surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, and on the faculty in Harvard Medical School.
In one website, the book describes itself as “a tale of tauma, treatment, and recovery in rhyme”. It deals with a story from everyday life: a child gets injured on the playground, and ends up in the emergency room. The authors say their attempt is to “educate without intimidating” and “entertain without underestimating”. So this book packs in poetry, humour and, we’re told, medical accuracy.
We meet DareBone, the young boy who suffers his first major injury — a broken elbow — together with his “wise-cracking sidekick”, the dog Wag-A-Bone. Given the authors’ medical backgrounds, DareBone not surprisingly meets a number of “medical heroes”, including the orthopedic surgeon, “as he journeys through surgery and recovery”. This is packaged as “an informative story about a common childhood injury”.
“The book was written with the aim of raising the bar in terms of explaining the nuts and bolts of everyday medical practice to a smarter generation of children without underestimating their ability to pick up complex concepts. A secondary aim of the book is to make medicine and biology ‘cool’,” says Rebello.
He sees the book as “very technical from an orthopedic standpoint but at the same time funny and easy to comprehend.” It is aimed at children of 4-10 years, as well as their parents and healthcare professionals and educationists who deal with children of that age.
“The response to the book has been very encouraging both from healthcare and non-healthcare related professionals. It took two years to write it once I thought of the idea and teamed up with Jamie, my co-author. (There also was) interacting with a lot of frightened children with broken bones in the emergency room and my clinic, who were mostly afraid because of lack of knowledge of what was to follow,” says Rebello.
This is planned to be the first of several books from Gleeson Rebello, MD and Jamie Harisiades “that will combine entertaining rhyme and accurate medical information aimed at educating readers and parents on common childhood conditions like allergy, autism, asthma, and obesity.” Gleeson said he is working on a similar book on childhood obesity and also creating an app out of DareBones Big Break.
Though originally published in the US, the book is now available as an ebook on Kindle through Amazon in India (amazon.in
) for $4.99. Dr Rebello said Jamie and he are already working on their “next effort”.
Rebello incidentally did his MBBS in Goa Medical College, followed by an orthopedic residency. Then he worked at the Christian Medical College, Vellore,, and Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, before he joined Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston as a research fellow and finally was offered a staff position in 2008. Dr Gleeson’s parents are the late Dr Francis M. Rebello, who founded Rebello Hospital in Margao and is known for his initiatives in Konkani publishing (Novem Goem, etc), and Dr Sicletica.
Not surprisingly perhaps, Gleeson himself says he caught the writing bug “right from schooldays”. Says he: “Every doctor has thousands of stories inside him. The story of his professional life is but a collection of stories of his patients’ lives.”