cover image Forget Me Not

Forget Me Not

Nancy Van Laan, illus. by Stephanie Graegin. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-449-81543-4

As Alzheimer’s slowly robs Grandma of the ability to function, Julia and her parents struggle on both the emotional and practical fronts. Sometimes it seems like their strategies are spot on: after Grandma accuses her new caretaker of thievery, the family starts taking her out on cleaning days “for a long ride to nowhere special,” Julia notes. “She loved that.” But despite their best efforts to keep Grandma in the home she loves, her memory loss and wandering eventually pose a real danger, and she must go live in what Mama describes as “a place that will give her the special care she needs.” In their sensitive, reportorial approach, Van Laan (Nit-Pickin’) and Graegin (You Were the First) acknowledge readers’ ability to handle this heart-wrenching subject matter while also granting them a measure of distance. By portraying Julia as a partner in Grandma’s well-being and care, the authors salute her competence and compassion, and show how it is possible to carry on, even in the face of a sad, scary, and inexorable decline. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)