What Makes Them Amazing

Written by Janine De Tillio Cammarata, author and president of Nick's Fight to be Healed Foundation.

Follows nine young adults whose cancer journeys have led to deep changes in perspective, stronger faith, lessons in giving back, as well as lessons in letting go. No matter what the outcome of their journeys, these stories are about hope, determination and love, which will inspire others to never give up when facing life’s adversities. These are the stories of our communities, our families, and our young adults’ lives and legacies.

Audience: (All ages)
ISBN: 978-0-9776912-2-7
$20.00 Donation to Nick's Fight to be Healed Foundation

Winner in the ‘Young Adult: Non-fiction’ category of the International Book Awards

Proceeds are donated to Nick's Fight to be Healed Foundation which directly benefit The Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Albany Medical Center.

Book can be purchased at:

What's being said...

"I just wanted to let you know how much we are enjoying your What Makes Them Amazing. Completely sincere, beautifully written and you really capture the essence of these heroes and their families. Kudos to you for creating such a beautiful homage to the kids and letting their stories be heard."

Nancy Donnelly
Lyrics from the Heart

Excerpt from What Makes Them Amazing Foreword by Dr. Joanne Porter

What Makes Them Amazing is a stunning account about real people who have had to face their fears concerning their own cancer diagnosis, the intensive treatments, and the possibility of losing everything. This collections sets itself apart from other sympathetic cancer books by telling the personal stories of several teen and young adult patients who lived through their cancer diagnosis, realized their own mortality, and coped with their newly defined life while on chemotherapy. This book inspires hope for those of us struggling with adversity and perhaps similar medical problems. Janine Cammarata has captured the pulse of life in these individuals. Her interviews reflect the very thing that helps them survive in the jungle of cancer: HOPE.

What's Being Said?

  • "The Puzzle Quests: Shimmer's Eggs is amazing. Haven't been able to put it down. What a wonderful magical adventure!!"


  • "Your book is excellent – a picture of Celtic landscape and adventure remained in my mind long after I completed the novel - I am looking forward to your sequel!"


  • Adult Writing Workshop Reviews

    "Through this class I was finally able to complete something that I am confident about."

    "It bumped my thinking from left-brain to right-brain--a whole new mind!"


  • The Puzzle Quests: Shimmer's Eggs
    by Janine De Tillio Cammarata
    Highland Mountain Publishing

    "'What is the quest?' Luke asked, not getting pulled into the excitement of an adventure, even if that was what he had just been hoping for."

    Luke is an active 11-year-old who loves to swim—until one day he is sidelined with an illness that has him bedridden in the hospital. His family, including his brother, Peter, would do anything for Luke to get better. One day, upon waking in the hospital, Luke finds a puzzle next to his bed. Thinking it is a gift from a family member, he and Peter put the puzzle together. But this is no ordinary puzzle. Placing the final puzzle piece brings the puzzle to life and transports Luke and Peter into a medieval world of dragons and knights. A princess named Meriwether needs their help and in exchange will grant them each a wish. Longing for his brother to get better, Peter agrees, and Luke is excited about an adventure away from his hospital room.

    The brothers take a journey to a faraway magical land where they must help Meriwether’s dragon, Shimmer, find all her stolen eggs. But that will prove to be more challenging than either brother thought. Each adventure leads them closer to their goal, and they even bring along their best friends, Mark and Rose. But will they find all the eggs in time? Will they get their wish? Will Luke get better and be able to leave the hospital?

    Cammarata has a vision for medieval worlds and dragons and delightfully portrays that world for young readers. This book is perfectly matched to the minds of 8-12-year-olds and will captivate both boys and girls alike. There are adventures, dragons, knights, kings, and princesses, all twisted together in a beautifully told story of hope and determination. It is a tale of adventure and love.

    RECOMMENDED by the US Review


    "Cammarata's action packed storytelling never lets up. The urgency of the pacing draws the reader into Maecha's world quickly, but it is the fierceness of her loyalty and love that defines the narrative. Well-developed details ground the magical elements and make a world where people time travel in their dreams and are friends with gods believable. Jumping from the ancient past to modern day is at first jarring, but as the characters' lives weave together, their complicated relationships deepen the meaning of the story and give it a powerful sense of destiny fulfilled. "

    The US Review of Books

  • Adult Writing Workshop Reviews

    "Through this class I was finally able to complete something that I am confident about."

    "It bumped my thinking from left-brain to right-brain--a whole new mind!"


  • Adult Journaling Workshop Reviews

    "Being able to take time to journal and focus on myself has been an incredible experience."

     The Writer's Journal School Program

    “Janine Cammarata, a natural teacher of her craft, is able to ignite a spark even in your most reluctant writer!” 

    --Marcy Philo, 4th grade teacher, Karigon Elementary School, Clifton Park, NY



    "Thank you so much for visiting! My kids truly enjoyed your lesson. I've never had so much fun or participation during an author visit. We were all excited to continue working on our pieces!"

    --Shannon Race, 4th grade teacher, Karigon Elementary School, Clifton Park, NY

  • "I SO enjoyed your work, I didn’t want to put it down, and then didn’t want it to end. I am very excited for the next book in the series, to continue my adventure with the sisters."


  • "I bought The Warrior Within at a fundraiser although it was not the type of book I usually purchase. I have been missing out..! I was immediately hooked and disappointed that it took so long for Eyes of the Goddess to be published. Please know that I purchased Eyes of the Goddess through Amazon and appreciate how quickly it was delivered. I am amazed a the skill of the author in being able to transition from the present to the past without losing the reader in the process. I love the Celtic aspect and the storyline continues to keep me addicted to this trilogy. I am eagerly waiting for the next (and unfortunately the last) book to be published. A whole new world of books has been opened to me though my initial purchase of The Warrior Within"

    Ann Frantti

  • Adult Writing Workshop Reviews

    "Through this class I was finally able to complete something that I am confident about."

    "It bumped my thinking from left-brain to right-brain--a whole new mind!"


  • "I just wanted to let you know that I loved your book. I have been an avid reader of fantasy based novels or most of my life and I found this one refreshing and highly engaging. I truly hope there will be a few more books in this cycle. Thanks!"


  • "I usually read mysteries or non fiction. Every once in a while I like to try something different. If you like J.R.R. Tolkien or the Chronicles of Narnia this is a good fit. I enjoyed the story line and the character development. I wonder if and when book 2 will be available?"


  • "The girls' best treat yesterday (Halloween) was picking up their personalized copy of Shimmer's Eggs from our favorite author! The girls were beta readers a couple of years ago before it went to press!

    Time travel, enduring friendships, and persevering during hard times...this book is best for midde elementary aged readers...but I loved it too! Heart-warming, an adventure-filled story about childhood bonds that wishstand place and time!"


  • Adult Writing Workshop Review

    "This well-thought-out course covered the essentials of creative writing in a logical progression. Class discussion and activities as well as assignments were thought-provoking and stimulating."


  • "I really enjoyed this book. I love Celtic stories. I really enjoyed the dreaming aspect to the book as well. How in our dreams we can go anywhere . The characters in this book , knew that and took advantage of it.

    I had read "Warriors Within", which was her first book. I looked forward to reading this sequel (Eyes of the Goddess) and was not disappointed. I look forward to her next book!!"

    V. McCarney

  • "Eyes of the Goddess, Book Two of the Fianna Cycle, takes up where Warriors Within left off. Present-day New York City is entwined with 3rd century Ireland by their respective inhabitants, Michaela Sommers and Maecha Ruadh Mac Art, heiress to the throne of Tara. Michaela is involved in a search for the drug lord who killed her father, Police Narcotics Officer Jack Sommers, while Maecha is about to embark on a voyage to Alba (ancient Scotland) to free her father, King Cormac, who had been kidnapped by the Picts. The two worlds are connected by the dream travel of Michaela, the chief druid Finnius Amergin, and Natalie, a child who exists in NYC but is destined to save ancient Ireland from ruin. Cammarata's keen knowledge of Celtic lore and skill in martial arts combine to create an exciting story of ancient battles, gods and magic, honor, loyalty and love. Young adults who love a good adventure story will certainly love this one. While Eyes of the Goddess can be read as a stand-alone, readers will want to start with Warriors Within to experience the full epic tale."

    Joan Weiskotten

    Young Adult Librarian
    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library

Events & Workshops


    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library 

    TUESDAY, July 30

    WEDNESDAY, August 14

    from 6:00-8:00 PM


    College essays are often the first impression you make for admissions and scholarships. It can be difficult and stressful. This workshop will focus on developing ideas, use of clear and persuasive language, first draft, and editing. Bring essay questions, current drafts, along with a notebook. Come for the entire time or drop-in. Local author Janine De Tillio Cammarata has years of experience writing college essays.




    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library 

    WEDNESDAYS, July 31 & August 7

    MONDAYS, August 12 & August 19

     from 4:00-6:00 PM

    For anyone entering grades 6 to 12 or home school equivalent.

    Bring a current story or start a new one in this weekly workshop that will teach the basics of writing a story from beginning, middle, to end. Techniques will be shared, following by exercises, and plenty of time to write. Registration for all four sessions is highly encouraged as each one will build on the previous. No experience necessary. Bring a notebook.





    July 29-August 1 from 2:30-4:00pm

    Entering 4-5th grade

    Join author Janine De Tillio Cammarata for an active workshop exploring different approaches to journaling. Supplies for decorating and personalizing journals will be provided. Whether it's journaling to create a character or story, help solve a problem, record summer activities or more, journaling is for everyone. No experience needed. Bring your own notebook or journal. Snacks will be provided. *FAA 
Other: *Food Allergy Alert! This program involves food. Please contact Youth Services if you have questions. Limited to 12 participants.




    Rose and her growing band of knights get the chance to save Atlantis during their next puzzle quest. When Rose attempts to save this world on her own, her team is thrown into danger and the safety of Atlantis and her friendships are compromised. Will Rose see the value of working as a team before she is trapped in Dragonia forever?

    Saving Atlantis is the second book in The Puzzle Quests’ series of adventures that span across time and generations. No matter where you are, there is hope.


    Ages 8-12



    Book Events:

    Sketchy Dinosaurs, the next book in The Puzzle Quests series will be published later in 2019!
    If you would like me to come to your school or bookstore for a writing workshop or book signing, please contact me!
    Join my mailing list to keep updated on book release events!




    Please register for each workshop separately. It helps the library with set up:

    WEDNESDAY, September 4 - Piracci Board Room

    WEDNESDAY, October 9 - Piracci Board Room

    WEDNESDAY, November 6 - Piracci Board Room

    WEDNESDAY, December 4 - Piracci Board Room

    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library from 6:30-8:30pm

    Adults 18+

    Whether it's in a notebook, blog, or sketchpad journaling can help you lead a whole and fulfilling life. It's a way to keep track of goals, life activities, dreams, and is very fun! Learn the many ways to express yourself! Each workshop will be different techniques and themes so come to them all!

    Bring your own journal! We have the rest!




    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library--program room D

    Adults All genres

    August 15 from 6:30-8:30pm

    Join local, award-winning author, Janine De Tillio Cammarata as she covers the various avenues to publish your full-length book, whether fiction or non-fiction. Workshop will include genres, publishing goals, timeline for submissions, and services available to make your work the best it can be before publication. Includes journal prompts. Bring a notebook.