LiaStories is a project of the non-profit organization NovaCarta

NovaCarta was created on 28 May 2013, by Monica Axelrad, Dejan Dinčić and Urs Richle, in the Pâquis area in Geneva, in Monica’s kitchen.

The non-profit organization was the result of a long chain of events and discussions between the three of us about books and projects.

Monica and Urs had already worked together for several years at the University of Geneva on “Digital Interactive Storytelling”. Dejan brought his e-learning skills to the team.

Monica had two children, a two-year-old son and a daughter of a few months old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. At the hospital, she was given a children’s book that explained cancer. Her son loved to listen to the story, which reflected several aspects of his new reality – with one important exception: This book showed a nuclear family (mother, father, daughter) whereas Monica lived alone with her two children. Monica’s friend, Veronica Tighe (who later joined our project) said to her one day: “You know, I skipped that chapter in the book where the dad goes to the zoo with his daughter, because I don’t know how to explain it to your son because of his own father’s absence.”

This is how the idea of a customizable book was born:

What if we created a book that could be adapted to different family settings so as to explain what cancer is? And what if you could pick: … who is sick? … The different types of treatments? … The graphic design of the book? … The language?

After a period of fund-raising, at the beginning of 2014, NovaCarta was able to launch the project « Lia and the peas or what is cancer? » The title of our first customizable book that explains cancer to children.  

Unfortunately, Monica died of cancer in 2016.