They don't just pick up a pencil and write in Mrs. Starnes' second grade class at Bennett Elementary School in Manassas. They speak from the heart.
"When I first found out you had cancer, I felt worried that you were going to die," wrote one child.
Last June, 7-year-old Michael Murdock found out he had a brain tumor. This fall, school counselor Whitney Hecker suggested they write a book.
The children drew pictures of the port used to give Michael his chemotherapy. They wrote questions and Michael answered them.
Here's one exchange: "I want to know if the port in your chest hurts."
"Dear Dylan. The port does not hurt."
Mrs. Starnes' kids are taking the book outside the classroom. They are hoping to get it published. They have entered it in a national contest.
Jennifer and Chip Murdock are Michael's parents. The book seems to have helped his classmates.
"I think it's helped Michael a lot too," says Jennifer. "Just to be able to tell his friends how he's feeling, and say listen, I'm the same kid."
They acknowledge - it is a tough read. Even the name of the book, "Our Cancer Boy," is a little hard to take until you hear that a student selected it and Michael approved.
"It's cancer boy and I am a cancer boy," says Michael.
Dalen Card is the student who came up with the title.
"I just thought he's a cancer boy, and he's ours, and we love him," says Dalen.
A surgeon removed Michael's tumor. The chemotherapy continues and so does the compassion he's receiving from his friends.