Last Updated: November 23, 2018
Fine artist Kathryn Harrison completed a series of artworks and books related to caregiving and dementia, in response to her personal experience with her mother’s disease.
Today, she shares more about her experience with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as 12 books for children about Alzheimer’s and dementia that she would recommend to other families on this journey.
When my mother was diagnosed with dementia, my children were small. But having my young children take part in our family’s journey with this disease really helped us all. They were more accepting of their Nana’s changes, not so much focusing on what we were losing with the illness but on what could be gained from the current situation. Early on, their activities were fun for her and they found their Nana was great at play. Later, as their Nana became less mobile and quieter, they learned she was always available for hugs. What’s more, they were able to help care for her, developing their compassion and confidence.
Although children often feel scared around someone who is acting differently because of a disease, with explanation, patience and reassurance, I found the relationship between my children and their Nana during this time really enriched our family.
From my positive outcome, I was motivated to look for ways to help other families further engage children in the dementia experience. I decided to create a picture book to help kids understand these brain diseases, and encourage their involvement. My book, “Weeds in Nana’s Garden,” uses a story with expressive illustrations, a garden metaphor and a Q&A section to explain Alzheimer’s and other dementias to children.
Fortunately, the number of books available like mine is growing. In recent years, many other new books have been published that are also aimed at helping children better understand dementia, inspiring discussion and strengthening participation. Most of these books were written by individuals who also had personal experiences with dementia. I am honoured to have my book be included among them.
To make it easier for you, I have compiled information about 12 of the top books for children about Alzheimer’s for you below:
Author/Illustrator Kathryn Harrison is a business professional turned artist. She has a B.Sc., an M.B.A and worked for over a decade as a communications professional before earning a Fine Art Diploma from the Toronto School of Art and continuing as an artist. In creating this picture book, Harrison has been able to layer all her varied abilities together.
Stirred by her personal experience with her mother’s dementia, Harrison created this book to support families and spread awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. To take it further, she founded Flipturn Publishing to publish the book, enabling her to make donations to the Alzheimer Society of Canada for every book sold. A former competitive swimmer, Harrison used the name Flipturn Publishing to acknowledge the need to turn and face a new direction once dementia arrives in the family.
What other books for children about Alzheimer’s and dementia should we know about? Share your suggestions with us in the comments below.
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