We created the Bookshelf for a place to highlight CaringBridge website authors who have written books about their health journey. Some people publish a book to close a chapter, and others publish a book as a way to honor and grieve the loss of a loved one. If you are a CaringBridge website author or co-author who has written a book about your experience, and would like to have your book appear in this list, please send us an email at

Life With Grace

Life With Grace: A Reference Guide for Parents of Premature Babies

By Jennifer Schwertfeger

Grace Schwertfeger of Mankato, MN, arrived in the world in October 2004, much sooner than expected. Born at 24 weeks, Grace was a micro-preemie. She spent her first 9 months in the hospital, during which she endured seven life-saving surgeries, followed by 9 more months of in-home nursing care.

Today, Grace is a junior-high student, whose life is not defined by the developmental and cognitive delays associated with her premature birth. As her mom, Jennifer said, “Grace is a true miracle.”

Through “Life With Grace,” based on the experience of the Schwertfeger Family, and the prayers and support that came through Grace’s CaringBridge site, Jennifer wants families of preemies to know that they are not alone. She said, “I hope that everyone who reads our story will walk away knowing that we are in charge of how we handle all that we are given. Even when going through tough times.”

Buy Life with Grace on Amazon

The Bright Hour

By Nina Riggs

North Carolina wife and mother Nina Riggs’s memoir of her final years as she faced breast cancer at age 39, was published posthumously, in 2017. (Nina used CaringBridge in the early days after her diagnosis.)

As Nina’s husband, John Duberstein, shared her legacy through “The Bright Hour,” he and Lucy Kalanithi, widow of “When Breath Becomes Air” author and CaringBridge user Dr. Paul Kalanithi, forged a bond based on hope and healing that can happen even when health cannot be restored.

Both books focus on how the power of love can transcend even death.

Buy The Bright Hour on Amazon

If I Could Mend Your Heart

By Mary I. Farr

Retired hospital chaplain and minister Mary Farr’s book, “If I Could Mend Your Heart,” has a direct connection to the very start of CaringBridge.

When Mary was a chaplain at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, MN, back in June 1997, she provided emotional and support to JoAnn Hardegger and Darrin Swanson, a young couple from Wisconsin, as they awaited the birth of their baby.

Brighid was born at 24 weeks, on June 7, 1997. Her health was so fragile, she lived just 9 days. But CaringBridge, named after Brighid, is her legacy.

And this gentle, sweet, beautifully illustrated book honors the experience of  JoAnn and Darrin, and families everywhere who need healing after a health journey.

Buy If I Could Mend Your Heart on Amazon

Staying Resilient: When Life Throws You More Than a Curveball

By Lawrence R. Blundred

After Donna Blundred of Cincinnati, Ohio, received a diagnosis in 2012 of glioblastoma multiforme, the worst kind of brain cancer, her husband, Lawrence, wrote “Staying Resilient: When Life Throws You More Than a Curveball,” to encourage CaringBridge families, and others, to view a health journey as a catalyst for resiliency.

In the book, Larry invites patients, caregivers, family and friends who have “stepped into the batter’s box” of a health crisis to add God’s perspective into the mix and develop a plan for coping, and thriving, even when a positive health outcome is not guaranteed.

Buy Staying Resilient on Amazon

Chicken Soup for the Caregiver's Soul

By Various Authors

Ninety-six essays by family caregivers, several of whom have shared their stories on CaringBridge, describe the challenges, and gifts, that come from a job no one ever prepares for.

The dedication of the book says it all: “To caregivers, who, by their benevolent acts of kindness, single-handedly ease the suffering in the world.”

Buy Chicken Soup for the Caregiver’s Soul on Amazon

Bitter or Better

By Caryn Sullivan

Minnesota op-ed columnist Caryn Sullivan, who raised a son with autism, supported her daughter through a health crisis, survived breast cancer herself, and lost her husband, Ted, way too soon, believes that healing is a choice.

In “Bitter or Better,” Caryn reminds us that in the face of any challenge to the human spirit, healing is a choice. Even when the challenges seem insurmountable.

Caryn’s memoir includes entries from the CaringBridge site she kept for daughter, Julia, who had a bone marrow transplant as a fifth-grader, to treat a rare blood disorder called PNH. (Today, Julia’s health is stable and she is doing great!)

Buy Bitter or Better on Amazon