Paul Russell (text), Nicky Johnston (illus.), Grandma Forgets, EK Books/Exisle Publishing, August 2017, 24pp., $24.99 (hbk), ISBN: 9781925335477
‘My grandmother forgets who I am. Every time we meet, it’s like meeting someone new.’
Grandma can’t remember how to play the old games, but she makes up new games, like hiding Dad’s keys and forgetting where she hid them. Sometimes it is funny, and sometimes it is sad, but the family hold many memories of Grandma and together they make new memories they can share.
Grandma Forgets is a wonderful book for helping children make sense of dementia and memory loss. It uses anecdotes that children can relate to and simple language that makes it very accessible. Themes of love, family and memory are woven throughout the story, and the ending is very touching.
There is a warmth and softness to the watercolour illustrations that depict some of the special memories the family holds of the grandmother. The pictures are somewhat dreamy—blowing bubbles on the lawn, climbing an apple tree, and snuggling with grandma on a stormy night—but they portray the grandmother in a way a child might remember.
A lovely book for children 2-5 years old, especially if they have a friend or family member who is experiencing memory loss.
Reviewed by Rebecca Blakeney