A Doll For Grandma: A Story about Alzheimer’s Disease (Paulette Bochnig Sharkey)

Hello, friends! Our book today is A Doll For Grandma: A Story about Alzheimer’s Disease, written by Paulette Bochnig Sharkey and illustrated by Samantha Woo.

For Kiera, days with Grandma are filled with fun: painting their nails, going for rides in Grandma’s convertible, dressing up, knitting, and baking cookies. But suddenly, Grandma appears to be struggling. She forgets how to knit, leaves objects in unexpected places, and gets confused easily. Soon, she moves into a place for people like her, whose brains are “forgetting to remember”. Kiera isn’t sure how to interact with Grandma anymore, now that she can’t do all the things they used to do together. But from an unexpected encounter, Kiera will get an idea of how to brighten her Grandma’s day, and find new ways to play.

Lovely. This delicate treatment of Alzheimer’s disease from a young family member’s point of view is gentle, relatable, and filled with hope and encouragement. Kiera’s grandma confuses her for her own childhood friend, Sally Mae, so Kiera (quite maturely) decides to interact with her Grandma as she would a playmate, buying her a doll that matches her own and caring for them together. It’s not only a touching display of how our most precious relationships can endure major changes with a little adjustment, but a helpful strategy for young children who may be dealing with a similar transition. The story neatly balances this theme of transition throughout, showing that while Grandma has lost much to Alzheimer’s, she is still a person capable of love, joy, and connection. Similarly, the simple illustrations are warm and endearing, a good balance for some of the more complex elements of the narrative. Backmatter includes a guide to helping children understand Alzheimer’s. The length was fine, and JJ enjoyed it; a touching read overall, but a wonderfully useful title for families dealing with the effects of Alzheimer’s. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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