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Reviewed by Doreen Chombu for Readers' Favorite
Aunt Rita: An Alzheimer's Story for Young Children by KJ Cronan, with illustrations by his daughter Casey Cronan, is a heart-warming children's picture book that raises awareness about Alzheimer's disease. It follows the story of Harry, a young boy who loves to do everything with his Aunt Rita. One day Aunt Rita starts forgetting things like where she placed her keys, people's names, and where she is going. Her family finds this strange and immediately takes her to the hospital, where the doctor tells them that she has Alzheimer's disease. Harry's parents explain this condition to him and inform him that Aunt Rita's symptoms will worsen. This leads to a lot of changes in their lives. Fortunately, Harry does not stop loving his aunt. Instead, he holds on to the fun memories they shared.
Aunt Rita is a beautiful tale that will stir your emotions. There is a lot of stigma surrounding people with Alzheimer's because of their behavior and mood changes. KJ Cronan reminds us they are the same person we loved before the diagnosis. I loved that the story encourages families to allow children to interact with relatives with the disease. Alzheimer's is not contagious, so there is no harm in doing so. It features illustrations depicting cheerful and loving characters with bright and attractive colors, perfect for capturing children's attention. I highly recommend parents and caregivers read this book with their children to teach them about Alzheimer's.