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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Grandma and Me: A Kid’s Guide for Alzheimer’s and Dementia is a social/health issues book for children written by Beatrice Tauber Prior Psy.D. and Mary Ann Drummond RN and illustrated by Julia Walther. Who is Grandma? She’s a little boy’s best friend. She’s the one who shows him all the different flowers and plants in her garden, and teaches him how to identify a bird by its song. Grandma likes to tell stories about the past, about when his dad was a boy and even when Grandma herself was young. Grandma always has hard candy in her pocket; candy that is fun to crunch and oh, so sweet. Sometimes lately, Grandma seems to be a little different. Sometimes, she calls him by his dad’s name, or she doesn’t want to go out with him into the garden where they have so much fun together. His mom has explained to him that Grandma is going through some changes that are associated with a disease called Alzheimer’s. It’s not something he can catch, however, and he and Grandma can still have a lot of fun being together.
Grandma and Me: A Kid’s Guide for Alzheimer’s and Dementia describes the changes that may affect a child’s relationship with a grandparent, who has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, in a way that kids can understand and relate to. The authors stress that kids shouldn’t feel responsible for their grandparent’s mood swings or feel badly if their grandparent mixes up their names or identities. They show positive and inspiring ways for kids to continue having warm and loving interactions with their grandparents by “meeting them where they are” on their life’s journey. They also discuss how kids can tell the stories they loved hearing back to their grandparents and how much enjoyment that can bring to both the child and grandparent. I found something immeasurably valuable on every page of this caring and warm book. I love Julia Walther’s gorgeous watercolors, which make Grandma’s garden and carefully tended plants come to life so well. This beautiful book handles a difficult subject with grace and consummate skill, and will help kids make the most of their time with grandparents who have Alzheimer’s or other mental health issues. Grandma and Me: A Kid’s Guide for Alzheimer’s and Dementia is most highly recommended.