As grandparents grow older, we must often help our children understand about aging, memory loss, and even, Alzheimer’s. These picture books and chapter books tell stories that will help you learn more about and discuss old age and the changes that may go with it.
It can be a confusing time for children. (And us!) I hope these books help.
Children’s Picture Books About Aging, Memory Loss, & Alzheimers
Newspaper Hats by Phil Cummings, illustrated by Owen Swan
This is a sweet story about the forgetfulness that comes with aging. Georgie’s grandpa doesn’t always remember her but he does remember how to make newspaper hats. It’s age-appropriate and perfect for introducing the memory loss concept to children.
Really and Truly by Emilie Rivard, illustrated by Anne-Claire Delisle
Charlie’s grandpa told him the BEST imaginative stories that he’d always end with “really and truly, Charlie.” But now, grandpa doesn’t remember. He sits and stares out the window without expression. Suddenly, Charlie knows he can be the storyteller now – and maybe make grandpa smile. I really like the approach this book takes on the reality of aging with a positive view. Recommended for children whose grandparents are losing memories.
My New Granny by Elisabeth Steinkellner, illustrated by Michael Roher
Illustrated in warm brown tones, we feel a melancholy when Fini’s granny returns from a hospital stay but as a “new granny” — one that doesn’t do the same things or tell the same stories. Then, Fini’s granny moves in with Fini’s family. They must help granny much more now – brush her hair, eat, get dressed. Fini decides she loves her new granny as much as the old one.
Wilfrid Gordon MacDonald Partridge by Mem Fox, illustrated by Julie Vivas
I love this story so much — and used it frequently in the classroom. This little boy exemplifies kindness! He learns his friend, “Miss Nancy,” is losing her memory. He tries to figure out what a memory is and how he can help her remember.
The Old Woman Who Named Things by Cynthia Rylant
This old woman has outlived her friends. So she names things so she can call them by names as if they were her friends — her car is Betsy, her house is Roxanne, her favorite chair is Fred. But, she only names things she will outlive. Until she meets a puppy. It’s a risk but she eventually realizes that naming and adopting the puppy is worth it.
Lovely Old Lion by Julia Jarman, illustrated by Susan Varley
Lenny adores his grandpa, King Lion. Except King Lion is forgetting things and it’s confusing to Lenny. Lenny’s marble collection helps remind King Lion of some memories but ultimately, Lenny learns that sometimes brains don’t work the same (because of dementia) when a lion gets older.
Children’s Chapter Books About Aging, Memory Loss, & Alzheimers
ages 8 – 12
Sticky Notes by Diane Touchell (ages 9 – 12)
REALISTIC / AGING
I felt sad throughout this entire story, mostly because a good friend of ours has experienced early-onset Alzheimer’s which isn’t actually that but now known to be a disease called frontotemporal degeneration (FTD). 10-year-old Foster sees his dad’s personality disappear little by little throughout this story. As this happens, his mom becomes more and more stressed out. An aunt arrives to help which makes things both more stressful and better. It’s all is very hard. Because there isn’t a cure; there isn’t a recovery from this. There is only acceptance of the new situation.
What other books would you add to this list?
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