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Forget Me Not by Nancy Van Laan
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Forget Me Not

by Nancy Van Laan

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  activelearning | Dec 8, 2014 |
Among many books about Alzheimer's (although the disease is never mentioned by name), Nancy Van Laan's is a standout. She captures in lyrical language the overwhelming sadness for both parties - the family watching the grandmother lose so many of her abilities and the grandmother, who makes excuses because she knows she's losing ground. Young Julia remembered when Grandma did everything just-so when she visited, "but ever so slowly, like a low tide leaving the bay, a change came along. Grandma was becoming more and more forgetful. First it was names - of places she'd been or books she'd read or people she knew. Even us." To anyone who has lived with this disease, this is it exactly. My absolute favorite scene is when Grandma lost her car in the parking lot and her son had to come to her rescue. With enough savvy to save face, she tells him: "I knew it was there the whole time. I just wanted to see your handsome face!" Van Laan has lived this to capture this moment. I wept when I read this book.

The ending is as upbeat as it can be, with a pleasant appraisal of assisted living. The only complaint I have with the book is one of ageism. Do the math. If Grandma has a kid at 25, and her kid had a kid at 25, Grandma is only 58. Even if she's 68, that's not the typical age for dementia. While there is early onset, if children read more than one book like, it could cement their view of older people as people who forget. Be sure to couple this kind of book with a book like My Grandma is a Hippie. ( )
  pataustin | Aug 31, 2014 |
Richie’s Picks: FORGET ME NOT by Nancy Van Laan and Stephanie Graegin, ill, Random House/Schwartz and Wade, August 2014, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-449-81543-4

“Ever so slowly, like a low tide leaving the bay, a change came along. Grandma was becoming more and more forgetful.”

Julia, the narrator of FORGET ME NOT, has a young lifetime of memories of her grandmother--those times before her grandmother began forgetting everyone’s names, forgetting to open the garage door when backing out the car, leaving her eyeglasses in the refrigerator, and forgetting all of the memorable adventures that she and Julia have had together.

“One awful snowy morning, Mrs. Hester found her in the garden wearing nothing but her nightie. She said Grandma was trying to pick forget-me-nots from underneath the snow, where they lay all crumpled and brown. Grandma seemed not to notice the cold.
“When Mama and I got there, she didn’t seem to notice us, either.
“So I asked, ‘Mama, what’s wrong with Grandma?’
“She didn’t say anything, just shook her head.
“I asked again. ‘Mama, please?’
“Finally she answered.
“‘You know how some old people have trouble seeing or hearing? Well, some have trouble remembering--like Grandma. It’s a sickness that nobody knows how to cure yet.’
“Mama drew me close, comforting like always. I clung to her like a twist of ivy and held tight.”

In FORGET ME NOT, a noteworthy picture book about Alzheimer’s disease that will work quite well with preschoolers and elementary students, those mishaps caused by her grandmother’s growing problem result in Julia’s parents decision to move Julia’s grandmother out of her house--a house that holds such memories for Julia--and into an assisted-living facility.

Stephanie Graegin is an illustrator to watch. Through her digitally-colored pencil and ink washes, she creates believable, likeable characters and a comfortable visual setting for a tale that will undoubtedly bring worry to some young audiences.

Alzheimer’s disease is a topic that is pretty scary for all of us. It is estimated that slightly more than one-percent of the world’s population will be affected by Alzheimer’s by mid-century. In terms of reassuring young audiences, this is both good and bad news: We can honestly say that the chances a child’s parents or grandparents will be affected are relatively small. And yet we must also say that every child will likely come to know a couple of people who develop it.

That reality makes this an important book. Better yet, this is also an engaging, thought-provoking, and excellently-illustrated picture book story about a child and her beloved grandparent.

Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com
BudNotBuddy@aol.com
https://www.facebook.com/richie.partington
Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_school_lit/
http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/people/faculty/partingtonr/partingtonr.php ( )
  richiespicks | Jul 24, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449815439, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:34:57 -0400)

Young Julia comes to terms with the changes in her beloved grandmother, whose Alzheimer's Disease makes it hard for her to remember people and things.

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