Grandma, It's Me!

A Children's Book about Dementia

Children - Picture Book
33 Pages
Reviewed on 12/09/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Vernita Naylor for Readers' Favorite

What are some of the best things to do when you have a loved one that's either experiencing dementia or Alzheimer's? As the population is changing, people are living longer. According to the Alzheimer's Association: "By mid-century, the number of Americans age 65 and older with Alzheimer's dementia may grow to 13.8 million. This represents a steep increase from the estimated 5.8 million Americans age 65 and older who have Alzheimer's dementia today." In the beautiful illustrated children's book Grandma, It's Me! A Children's Book about Dementia by Y. Y. Chan reflects the warmth, patience, kindness, and beauty of caring for a loved one battling dementia. While this book is based upon Chan's life with her grandmother who passed at the age of 95, it also gives a face, presence and exposure of the struggles plaguing this country. Dementia is quickly becoming one of the top five leading causes of death within the U.S. This book offers so many wonders in learning about the journey of loved ones living with dementia or Alzheimer's and those who care for them. This book is interactive because children are asked to reflect, perform activities, learn about dementia and Alzheimer's, and understand the connection between music and memories.

I was able to personally connect with Grandma, It's Me! by Y. Y. Chan because I've had six aunts that lived in a state of dementia for over ten years. To watch my cousins relocate either themselves or their mother to personally care for them for at least a decade helped me to learn and understand the essence of caregiving that was required of me to care for my father as he morphed into another person. Since dementia and Alzheimer's is occurring in many homes, children need to have the tools and a better understanding of what is happening right before their eyes. It was difficult for me as an adult and it can become tiring as Riley witnessed, but with helping her grandma to tap into music, photos, and sharing other memories, this journey can become a beautiful experience. I loved this book and highly recommend it for young and old alike.

Lisa McCombs

When young Riley visits her grandmother, she finds her confused and forgetful. Mom steps in to explain that Grandma has something called dementia. That’s when Grandma comes to live with Riley and her family. This gives Riley an opportunity to help Grandma remember things. Since Grandma often wanders off by herself, Riley is cautioned not to leave Grandma alone. Grandma often mistakes Riley for her mother when she was Riley’s age and Riley has to remind her who she is. Sometimes Grandma remembers lots of things but mostly her short time memory fails her. When this happens Riley asks Grandma questions about the past and Grandma perks up and tells Riley stories about Grandpa. Grandma’s memory loss sometimes frightens Riley or frustrates her, making her want to hide so she doesn’t have to answer Grandma’s repetitive questions. One thing Grandma can remember is the words to her favorite songs. Riley gathers up some old CDs so Grandma can practice remembering song lyrics. A surprise birthday party thrills Grandma, who declares it to be the “best birthday ever.” Riley decides because Grandma can’t remember things, she would write down stories to tell Grandma instead.

Grandma, It’s Me! A Children's Book about Dementia written by Y.Y Chan and illustrated by Pearly L. is a marvelous story dealing with the horrible disease of dementia and how it affects loved ones. Author Y.Y. Chan approaches the subject with easy to read language and a caring attitude. The additional resources and reflection questions provide a helpful segue into a necessary conversation. Appropriately written for young readers, Grandma, It’s Me! is a valuable tool for a difficult discussion.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Riley loves her Grandma, but it’s hard to understand why sometimes Grandma doesn’t recognize her. You see, her Grandma has dementia. As Mommy explains, “Their brains sometimes don’t work as well as they used to. We need to be patient with Grandma.” Being patient is hard for Riley, especially when Grandma keeps asking her the same questions over and over again. Then Riley remembers all the silly questions she used to ask Grandma repeatedly and Grandma always answered with patience. When her grandparents move in with Riley’s family, Riley tries extra hard to help Grandma: reading stories she’s written in her journal to help jog her memory, singing songs Grandma loves, and taking her for walks in the park when she has the energy. Patience may not be easy at times, but love is always strong.

Y.Y. Chan’s picture book story, Grandma, It’s Me! A Children’s Book about Dementia, is a caring, compassionate way to teach young readers about memory loss and how they can help. The story unravels through daily journal entries; Riley is keeping a journal of all she does with Grandma and the stories they share, like the story of how Grandma and Grandpa first met. The font reflects the printing style of a young writer and the colorful illustrations help move the story along. Young readers will certainly connect with Riley’s feelings as she deals with a difficult and confusing situation affecting someone she loves. The power of love shines through this touching story. Beautifully told.