Grandma – A story about dementia for children

Grandma by Jessica Shepherd – Child’s Play [International Ltd]

ISBN: 978-1-8464643-597-3

How might you tell a child about dementia?

Do you have a parent, grandparent, relative or friend living with dementia? Often, when our parents or grandparents are showing signs of memory loss or have been diagnosed with dementia, we are so busy organising, planning, and caring for them that we might forget to explain to our children or grandchildren what’s happening.

Jessica Shepherd does this with great sensitivity in ‘Grandma’, published by Child’s Play, a beautifully illustrated story about a grandmother with onset dementia as seen through her grandchild’s eyes.

‘Grandma’ tells the story of Oscar’s grandmother moving into residential care and begins with the pair engaging enthusiastically in everyday antics; riding scooters and slides, gardening and even washing the dishes. Oscar is determined she is ‘… the best Grandma in the whole wide world.’

Author Jessica Shepherd uses gentle thought provoking scenes to show Grandma’s memory loss whilst her supporting text deals with Oscar’s emotional feelings. The settings provide a platform for Oscar to begin to understand the changes he sees in his grandmother and develop new ways to respond and engage with her. A happy ending ensues as the child reader/listener will be comforted by successful outcomes when Oscar engages in new activities with Grandma, her new friends, surroundings and pastimes.

Ideal for parents to share with children and engage with grandchildren to help them understand changes in family relatives or friends – and especially changes in someone who is living with dementia.

Review by: Gillian Hesketh MA – Happy Days Dementia Workshop published by Child's Play - Review by Gillian Hesketh