A review from Kirkus Reviews
In this illustrated children’s book, a girl learns how to help her grandmother who’s been diagnosed with dementia.
Bright-eyed Annie loves spending time with her grandparents, as does her brother, Andy. The kids enjoy helping Grandma, especially with baking and gardening. In the kitchen, Annie likes looking through Grandma’s memory box of special recipes, and in the garden, she appreciates the fragrance of her grandparents’ roses; for the elderly woman, they’re a reminder of the single rose that Grandpa gave her in high school, when they fell in love. However, she starts becoming forgetful and confused during the kids’ visits, and the doctor says she has Alzheimer’s disease, which the siblings’ mother explains is “loss of memory, thinking, or reasoning.” Medicine helps Grandma sleep better, and a “Senior’s Memory Club” day program allows her to be with people her age and staff to look after her, so that Grandpa can get a break from caretaking. Still, Grandma has times when she’s sad, withdrawn, or upset. Annie has the good idea to make a memory scrapbook called “A Rose for Grandma!”; now, her grandma “can always have something beautiful to look at, even on her not-so-good days.” In her debut book, Canadian author Egi clearly explains the complicated subject of dementia for young readers, as with an example of Grandma putting her eyeglasses in the microwave by mistake. She also sympathizes with children’s feelings of loss and acknowledges that Alzheimer’s can be tough on caregivers. The memory scrapbook is a practical and compassionate idea for kids to try; another helpful aspect of the book is its included list of resources (mostly Canada-specific). Debut illustrator Kaur supplies somewhat crudely drawn full-color images, but they still capture the warmth of Annie’s family.
An accessible, kindhearted explanation of Alzheimer’s disease.
Reviewed by Lois Henderson for Readers’ Favorite
A Rose for Grandma: A Journey through Alzheimer’s by Christiana Egi, the co-creator with her husband of a home for older adults with dementia, is an informative read that tells of the growing realization of the onset of Alzheimer’s in Annie’s grandmother. Annie has an especially close relationship with her grandmother, with whom she loves to bake cakes and spend time in her rose garden. When, one day, her grandma just spends time wandering around aimlessly, Annie realizes that something is wrong. How the dawning realization of her grandmother’s illness affects the whole family is portrayed with compassion and understanding. A Rose for Grandma ends with an extremely useful resource list for Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. The book should prove to be of interest to all readers, no matter their age, as Alzheimer’s is a worldwide disease capable of affecting older adults, no matter their race or culture.
I especially loved the multi-dimensionality of Christiana Egi’s A Rose for Grandma: A Journey through Alzheimer’s, with the work covering both the highs and the lows of living with a person with dementia. The book is written in such an encouraging way that it converts thinking about the disease from its conceptualization as a dire threat that lurks around the corner in old age to one where family members can rally around each other and the one afflicted, forming a supportive network within society. The journey taken by Annie’s family and the way in which they set about dealing with the situation constructively, including holding class discussions, scrapbooking, and enrolling Annie’s grandmother in a Senior’s Memory Club, is so reinforcing that it should encourage a positive response towards learning how to cope with the onset of Alzheimer’s in any family, no matter where situated.
Annie and her brother love spending time with their grandparents, but when Alzheimer’s disease becomes a part of their visits, things have to change. Although Annie is uncertain at first, she knows that she loves her grandma no matter what.
Alzheimer’s can be a difficult journey for families, but when we don’t talk about it, kids might start to think it’s not okay to ask questions. This book is a lovely way to introduce kids to the science of Alzheimer’s disease and how to act toward their loved ones without being rude. I loved the simple storyline and the touching emotions. It’s obvious that Christiana Egi really cares about sharing the truth about aging and mental health. I’ll certainly be keeping this book in my classroom, not only for kids who are dealing with these kinds of things firsthand but also to help others see the elderly with compassion and understanding.
Beautiful And Thoughtful
I just finished reading “A Rose For Grandma “ I absolutely love the book I think it is perfect for adults as well as young people. The art is beautiful in your book and your words come together with the art to make a beautiful story. Thanks so much for sharing this book with the world, I’m so glad and honored I was able to sit back and enjoy it. Can’t wait for Book 2.
A Rose for Grandma: A Journey Through Alzheimer’s by Christiana Egi is a lovely book about a timely subject that, until recently, has not been discussed openly and honestly. When a cherished grandparent begins to lose their memory due to dementia or Alzheimer’s, it can be a frightening time for children. Sudden changes in behavior and mood due to memory loss can turn a loved one into someone who is no longer the familiar and comfortable friend. In A Rose for Grandma, Annie notices the changes in her grandmother: Grandma no longer enjoys baking cakes or working in the garden with her rose bushes. Sometimes Grandma is sad or even angry; other times, she stares into space, acting confused. It is a sad and difficult time for Annie and her family.
A Rose for Grandma is a well-written and compassionate story for middle schoolers, presenting a clear explanation of dementia while supplying practical helps that children can employ to remain connected to their grandparents. The design and layout, with its splash blue color background, projects a soothing vibe. The beautiful illustrations by Ramneet Kaur perfectly complement and enhance the text.
I was touched by this story and impressed with the careful explanation of a devastating yet all-too-common disease. A grandparent with dementia can make a child feel helpless; the practical suggestions that Egi provides can assuage those feelings.
I highly recommend this book to any middle school-aged child (and adults) dealing with a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Reviewed by: Susan Bailey
I have authored 2 books, “River of Grace” & “Louisa May Alcott: Illuminated by The Message.” I contributed to “Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes: The Little Women Legacy” & “The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion.” I am the curator of louisamayalcottismypassion.com; I have a personal blog at beasone.org.