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Forget Me Not

Overview

Young readers are given an emotionally powerful yet accessible introduction to what it is like having a close family member with Alzheimer’s disease in this deeply resonant story about the relationship between a girl and her grandmother.

Grandma’s whole family is concerned as they start to notice that she is becoming more and more forgetful. After they find her wandering the neighborhood, they need to make an important decision on her behalf—that the time has come for her to ...

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Overview

Young readers are given an emotionally powerful yet accessible introduction to what it is like having a close family member with Alzheimer’s disease in this deeply resonant story about the relationship between a girl and her grandmother.

Grandma’s whole family is concerned as they start to notice that she is becoming more and more forgetful. After they find her wandering the neighborhood, they need to make an important decision on her behalf—that the time has come for her to move out of her house and into an assisted living community where she can have the best care possible.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
05/12/2014
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.)
Kirkus Reviews
2014-06-10
A delicate, perceptive look at an elderly loved one with dementia.Julia’s grandmother’s eyes sparkled like candles on a cake, and she always smelled like lilac and cinnamon whenever they cuddled up close. But lately, “ever so slowly, like a low tide leaving the bay, a change came along.” Julia’s grandma is becoming more and more forgetful. Van Laan gently takes readers through the different stages of dementia, from Grandma forgetting names (“she liked to scramble our names for breakfast instead of eggs”) and then events, forgetting where she parked, mixing things up in the kitchen and repeating herself to eventually wandering outside in a snowstorm and being unable to care for herself. Told from Julia’s perspective, the story is tinged with the little girl’s confusion and worry, but the ultimate tone is one of love and reassurance. Julia knows there is no cure but still hugs her grandma tight every time they visit. A soft palette of warm greens and yellows and the unmistakable blue of forget-me-not flowers blankets readers in a wash of grandmotherly comfort.Poignant but not overly sentimental—and actually quite light in some places—this quiet offering opens up a discussion of a condition that affects many. (Picture book. 4-8)
School Library Journal
06/01/2014
K-Gr 3—When her grandmother begins exhibiting signs of Alzheimer's disease, Julia and her parents must come to terms with the illness and get her the care she needs. Grandma's slow alteration rings true: forgetting names, losing the car in a parking lot, and getting lost in a oft-visited place. Though the illustrations depict the child as quite young, her narration is rather adult in tone: "I remember when Grandma was still her old sweet self," "ever so slowly, like a low tide leaving the bay, a change came along," and, "When she sees her bed all abloom…." The mother's explanation of the disease is nonthreatening and easy for a child to understand. The pencil and ink washes, finished digitally and varying in size, subtly show how Grandma is becoming forgetful, from the dying plants and a watering can in the house to her mismatched socks and unkempt hair. Pair this with Mary Bahr's The Memory Box (Albert Whitman, 1992), which introduces the idea of how to preserve memories before they are lost forever.—Maryann H. Owen, Children's Literature Specialist, Mt. Pleasant, WI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449815434
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/5/2014
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 640,501
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD800L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Van Laan is the author of such beloved picture books as Rainbow Crow, Little Baby Bobby, and the Parents’ Choice Award winner Possum Come a-Knockin’, among others. She lives in the mountains of New York.

Stephanie Graegin is the illustrator of Water in the Park by Emily Jenkins, called “a wonderfully fresh look at a timeless topic” by Booklist in a starred review; Happy Birthday, Bunny! by Liz Garton Scanlon; and Don’t Feed the Boy by Irene Latham. Stephanie lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her at graegin.com.

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