Grandma Forgets

Paul Russell, illus. by Nicky Johnston. EK (QDS, dist.), $17.99 (24p) ISBN 978-1-925335-47-7
A girl affectingly describes spending time with her grandmother, who has dementia and doesn’t remember her granddaughter from visit to visit. “Every time we meet, it’s like meeting someone new,” the girl says. Australian author Russell doesn’t dwell on the potentially upsetting aspects of the woman’s lost memories and instead has his young narrator highlight how the family has adapted. “Even though Grandma can’t remember us, we have so many memories of her,” she says; in the pages that follow, Johnston shows the grandmother and her grandchildren taking trips to the beach, cuddling up during a thunderstorm, and lounging in the summer grass. Indeed, it’s the girl’s father who’s having the hardest time watching his mother’s decline (“Sometimes Dad is sad because he has to hold onto the memories for both of them now”). Johnston’s loose pencil outlines and cheerful palette play into the comforting, even upbeat, mood. It’s evident that Russell’s heroine knows that diminished memories don’t diminish love in the slightest; families in similar situations should find this a useful resource for framing challenging moments in positive ways. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/03/2017
Release date: 08/01/2017
Genre: Children's
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