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Hannah's Gift: Lessons from a Life Fully Lived

4.35  ·  Rating Details  ·  927 Ratings  ·  140 Reviews
Every once in a while a book comes along that can change your life–a book so special, it is destined not just to be read but to be cherished, to be passed from one reader to another as a precious gift. Filled with wisdom and grace, tears and laughter, Hannah’s Gift is one such book. Within these pages Maria Housden shares the transformative lessons in living she received f ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Bantam (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,738)
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Eva Leger
Feb 17, 2009 Eva Leger rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: parents who have lost a child, strong memoir readers
Recommended to Eva by: found it on bookmooch
I have never in my life cried while reading a book. I've gotten choked up and maybe even shed a tear, but never, never have I actually had tears streaming down my face.
If I had one tenth of the strength Maria Housden had I'd be above average in the strength department. How Mrs. Housden manages to go on after losing Hannah and then to help others is beyond me. I honestly don't think I could do it. I'd lay down and die.
On page 3 I started crying. I was on and off crying until about three quarter
Apr 21, 2011 Robyn rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put it down and it was a very easy read. It was well written. I really recommend it. It's a non-fiction story of a 3 year old girl who has cancer. The book is truly moving. As I turned every page I began to feel like I was there with Hannah and her mother going through every moment with them. This book made me laugh and as well, it made me cry. And I am not talking about normal crying. I'm talking about full-on-sobbing. Hannah's Gift had me hooked from the very beginning and t is trul ...more
Mar 25, 2008 Chloe rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible story about the powerful impact of the life of a child, and the pure strength of a mother and family to take the most difficult of situations and learn how to be better people as a result of it. This book was a true, honest account of a mother's struggle through her daughter's battle with cancer and it was laced with humor, honesty and unconditional love. It was a true privilege to take a walk in the author's shoes, and it is written in such a brilliant way that you feel li ...more
Tracy Marais
My Mom's got stage 4 cancer and I'm struggling with what this means for me. This book has given me comfort.

My gratitude:
Thank you Steve Hall. Thank you for lending me this book. I needed these lessons.

These are the things I learnt from the story of Hannah's Gift...

1) Truth - tell it and live it:

What I need most isn't someone to make me feel better; I need people who are willing to stand with me in the face of the raw truth.

Sometimes I open my mouth and let the question fall out of my heart.

[☆] мєℓαиιє [★]
Wie ihr ja in meinem Nachschub - Beitrag sehen konnte, war dieses Buch bei meiner letzten Rebuy - Bestellung dabei. Nachdem ich heute morgen Berlin Requiem, zu welchem in den nächsten Tagen noch eine Rezension erfolgen wird, erfolgreich beendet habe, habe ich das schöne Wetter um die Mittagszeit genutzt und dieses Buch gleich noch hinterher geschoben.
Maria Housden erzählt in ihrem Buch die Geschichte ihrer kleinen Tochter Hannah, welche mit 3 Jahren unheilbar an Krebs erkrankt.
Ihren Leidenweg, i
Aug 19, 2013 Gabriela rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing book. And it seems that this book was exactly what I needed to read at the very moment I read it. There were passages that I highlighted, those messages are important for me to revisit. There were parts that I read where I felt like I could clearly picture Hannah in her red shoes. A beautifully moving life story, one that can draw out raw emotions, tap into the basic fears most, if not all, parents share. Thank you for sharing Hannah's Gift with all of us.
Nicole Wallace
Apr 18, 2015 Nicole Wallace rated it really liked it
I saw this author on Oprah and decided I needed to read this book. It's very touching. I cried more than once. Beautifully told story of what this family went through.
Sommer Beland
Jun 22, 2016 Sommer Beland rated it it was amazing
This book is a very easy read, well written, non-fiction piece and is absolutely heartbreaking. I was required to read this book for a class about Child Life in a hospital setting. I recommend you read this book in the comfort of your home because you will probably cry.

On the first page of the book you know what is going to happen to Hannah. This book is written by Hannah's mother and is the story of Hannah's life and death while she has cancer. As the events of the book are real, I don't have m
Feb 03, 2014 Jenny rated it really liked it
Though very emotion-evoking and even acutely painful to read at times, I found the lessons worth the tears. Little Hannah's message is so important to those of us who live with tragedy. She squeezed joy out of nearly every day of her life even after her inoperable cancer diagnosis. She lived. Her mother somehow survived it, and shared her journey (that even included growth!). I want to remember Hannah's strength when I'm at my lowest. I want to remember the signs Hannah sent to her family. I wan ...more
Dec 30, 2009 Lisa rated it liked it
I loved parts of this book, which is a true story about how the author lost her daughter at a young age to a serious illness. I like how the author brings you into her world, helping you understand how hard it was to help her daughter (and her son) get through her daughter's illness, what other people said and did in reaction, etc. I also like her positive celebration of her daughter's life.

However, I didn't rate this book higher than 3 stars because I didn't like the format of the book - little
Feb 24, 2015 Emy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-story, 2013, memoir
Hannah's Gift is the story of the last year in the life of Hannah Martell, a 3-year-old girl diagnosed with an aggressive, rare cancer, as told by her mother, Maria.

This is actually the second time I've read this book. I read it a long time ago in my pre-Goodreads era and, for some reason, I've been thinking about it a lot recently due to events in my personal life. I finally gave in and began to read it again.

With this kind of book, you know the end going in. You know that Hannah is going to di
May 31, 2012 Emily rated it it was amazing
Oh my gosh!! This was a brilliant book. It is a true story and it is SO sad. It is about a three-year-old girl called Hannah, who is diagnosed with cancer. She has these red shoes and she refuses to take them off. When she has surgery, she is told she has to take them off, but she stubbornly says no. The surgeons take her shoes off after she has the anasthetic, and they put them back on before she wakes up. The surgery is successful, and all is well for a while. But then the cancer returns. She ...more
Feb 04, 2009 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's nothing more I can say about this other than it's devestating and heartbreaking. Imagine having to watch your three year old daughter slowly fading away, and knowing you can do nothing to save her, and that's what this book is about. It's not a fluid story, but rather, snatches of moments and memories that particularly stand out in Maria Housden's mind, from the day she found out Hannah had leukemia, through Hannah's last year of life, and out the other side of her death, and how the fam ...more
Jan 15, 2010 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
This is a great read that will make you laugh and cry at the same time. The thought-provoking words that 3 yr. olds come up with are hilarious. Hannah knows that she is dying but that doesn't stop her from living life to the fullest. She knows what she wants and nothing is gonna stop her from getting it. We see that when she is determined to wear her red patent-leather shoes into surgery. Her brother,Will who is 5, is amazing also. They get along so well & have deep conversations about her i ...more
Zawani Syafiqah
Jun 19, 2016 Zawani Syafiqah rated it really liked it
Kompilasi memori seorang ibu tentang anaknya yang menghidap kanser daripada hari pertama kelahirannya, sehingga detik-detik terakhir hembusan nafas. Hannah adalah anak dan anugerah yang tidak ternilai; jujur, ceria, tabah menghadapi hidupnya dan menerima kenyataan dengan hati yang terbuka bahawa dia tidak dapat hidup lama di dunia ini. Buku ini membawa perspektif berbeza tentang memori silam; apakah perlu dipadamkan ingatan tentang memori pahit atau punya sudut pandang yang lain, mengingati seti ...more
Sep 02, 2015 Diane rated it it was ok
Call me heartless but this non-fiction account of the death of a lovely little 3 year old girl didn't tug at my heartstrings. A mother shares her story of her child's illness and death but it was awkwardly written and way too religious for me. It's a quick read but feels like snippets from a story rather than a story with much continuity. It was probably cathartic for the mother and maybe for parents in similar situations.
Aug 20, 2008 Audrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a true account told by the mother of a little girl who suddenly develops a rare cancer and has a year to live. The diagnosis comes about a month before her 3rd birthday and she passes away 2 weeks before her 4th. Contrary to what it may sound like, this book, though at times heartwrenching, is truly a tale of hope, love, and life. Despite her mother being fairly honest with her in response to her questions, Hannah lives happily, fully, and without fear of her imminent death. The parents ...more
Mar 27, 2016 Gisele rated it really liked it
This is the oh so touching true story of 3 year old Hannah and her battle with cancer. Being a child, she didn't know that cancer meant she wasn't supposed to have fun, to have hope...and so she did! She had an indomitable spirit...wearing her red patent Mary Janes into surgery! So many life lessons here...speaks to the healing powers of love and faith. Although sad, a really touching read.
Jun 25, 2015 Ull rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Traurig, sehr traurig sogar. Aber ich musste trotzdem immer an Prenzlberg-Muttis denken. Können Kinder in dem Alter schon so reflektiert sein? Oder ist das die Mutter, die es in ihre Kinder hinein interpretiert, weil sie sie liebt? Obwohl das Thema so traurig und die Erfahrung, die diese Frau gemacht hat, wirklich schlimm sind, fand ich die Familie nicht besonders sympathisch.
Una storia triste e commovente, soprattutto per il fatto che viene proposta come una "storia vera". Io ci credo che, purtroppo, sia un fatto realmente accaduto, ma allo stesso tempo penso che ci siano elementi troppo sovrannaturali per essere veri. Ma forse chi è profondamente credente avrà meno difficoltà a capire questo libro.
Michelle Baldwin
Jul 11, 2014 Michelle Baldwin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true
this was truly a gift... I got this book many years ago as a gift as I was going into hospital... the person the bought it didn't know I'd never read a book before..... This book did change my life.I've read over 300 books and ill never ever forget this mum's bravery to open her heart and share her precious daughters life xxxx
Natasha Mairs
Feb 25, 2014 Natasha Mairs rated it really liked it
This is such a sad book but at the same time makes you feel so thankful. Was crying at nearly every page. I first read this book a few years ago and tried to re-read it last year, but just couldn't as my daughter is the same age as the little girl Hannah, and I just couldn't bear reading it
Jun 13, 2014 Rachel rated it it was amazing
I cried, and loved it!
I dare not imagine how hard it is to watch one's child die, so KUDOS! to Maria Housden, and all the other mothers (parents) who have gone through such pain, but still find the courage to move on, and even share such moving stories with the world,... thank you!
Vanessa Thompson
Mar 09, 2014 Vanessa Thompson rated it it was amazing
Hannah's Gift was a gift to the public!

This is a story on how a three year old girl handled her fate in dying. The emotional rollercoaster that one gets when a family member or themselves are going thru the death process. I enjoyed the book, it prepared me for my sister's death.
Mar 05, 2014 Madi rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who like sad books, or who like to laugh.
I loved it! If I could do more than 5 stars i definitely would! It took me less than 24 hours to read. This is definitely my new favorite book. I cried and had to close the book a couple of times to regather my emotions. I was laughing and crying at the same time. I loved it!
Jul 16, 2016 Donatella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Indecisa se mettere 3 o 4 stelle. La storia è intensa ma c'è qualcosa che me la rende lontana e non saprei definire cosa. Non è tanto per lo stile asciutto, che invece apprezzo. Forse non riesco a entrare in sintonia col modo di esprimere questo dolore.
Mar 13, 2015 Cnelsonquilt rated it really liked it
This book made me think about Millie. The author only had her daughter for a little over a year before she died. She told the story beautifully and how Hannah and her insights, love and understanding of life changed and influenced her.
Vanessa Largie
Sep 30, 2014 Vanessa Largie rated it it was amazing
My mother bought me this book, when she was dying of brain cancer. Mum has now gone and this beautiful, heartfelt book is still in my belongings. I often read it again. Maria Housden writes beautifully.
Jan 14, 2009 Stacy rated it it was amazing
Once I started reading this book I didn't want to put it down. It's a very easy to read book.

I have never cried reading a book before, but this one made me bawl my eyes out, and I’m not kidding! It was so heart wrenching to read about the pain, and suffering someone so young had to go through, and how the family had done so much to make sure their dying little girl was comfortable.

Hannah was a brave little girl, and although her life was cut so short she touched a lot of peoples lives.

This book
Mar 30, 2008 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
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“Death is a butterfly in it's cocoon waiting to fly . . . ” 29 likes
“The truest measure of life is not in its length but the fullness in which it is lived.” 7 likes
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