Interview with Joan Brasher, co-author of The Donut That Roared

What is The Donut That Roared?

The Donut That Roared is a book that helps prepare children for getting an MRI. The main character is a boy named Jackson who has to get lots of MRIs. He uses his imagination to visualize the MRI machine as an obnoxious, noisy donut. He has lots of tips to share on how to make an MRI day less scary (even fun!)

What inspired you to create it?

My nephew Jackson was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor at age 10. One of the first things he had to do was get an MRI and he has had more than two dozen of them since then (and counting). Because of the noise and fear of the unknown, it was pretty traumatic for him and the whole family. But it got easier over the time. One day he came to me and said that at his latest MRI appointment, he saw a little boy going in as he was coming out, the boy looked terrified. He told me he wished he had a way to help him realize that he could get through it and it was going to be OK. That’s when we started talking about writing a children’s book together. He showed me his journals where he talked about this fear and concerns about MRI day and how he was coping with it. We came up with the idea that the book should have journaling pages as well as his tips for “surviving” an MRI and info for parents at the end.


If you could change one thing in pediatric healthcare, what would it be?

Child Life Specialists should get a lot more funding and support! And there should be many, many more books for them to share with children (and their families) to help them cope with the anxiety and fear that comes with having a sick child. I’m a mom too, and children’s books have always been a wonderful way for me to connect with my son on all sorts of topics. Books bring people together and encourage conversation. They also can provide hope. Our desire is that this book will be something positive for children, their parents (and siblings, who often feel lost in the process) to focus on. We hope they smile, and find comfort, while in the midst of fear and uncertainty.

Where can we purchase the books?

The very best place is at our website,! When you purchase the book there, the proceeds go to printing more books and supporting families with a sick child. I literally am fulfilling orders from my apartment in Nashville! We hope to get this book into the hands of all the wonderful child life specialists everywhere so they can share with families who are facing that big roaring donut!

Joan and Jackson

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Jackson?

I live in Nashville and he lives in Los Angeles. His mom is my identical twin sister and we have always been super close, despite the miles between us (1,971 as the crow flies). I’m a writer and communications professional, and have always loved to draw. So I came up with the story based on lots of conversations with Jackson. I hired an art student to help me turn my drawings into digital art, and a designer to do the production. We self published the book at our own cost as a labor of love. Jackson’s 15 now and just started high school. His tumor remains inoperable, but it doesn’t slow him down much. He just got back from his Make-A-Wish trip to New Zealand, where he took part in extreme sports! He also is a junior ambassador for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles as well as Make-A-Wish, so he’s getting used to giving presentations, being interviewed on live TV and even doing red carpet interviews!

Learn more about Joan and Jackson at You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

We are thrilled to offer a giveaway of this amazing resource. To enter, leave a comment below.