Book Review of Ice Cream with Grandpa: A Loving Story for Kids about Alzheimer’s and Dementia
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The Children’s Book Review
Written by Laura Smetana
Illustrated by Elisabete B. P. De Moraes
Ages 5+ | 44 Pages
Publisher: Flying Cardinal Press | ISBN-13: 9781737140924
What to Expect: Aging, Dementia, Family, Grief, Change
When Grandpa started to have trouble with his knees, it only seemed to mean small changes—like less running around in the yard and more story time than gardening. Luckily, there was still ice cream to share: at the table while listening to Grandpa talk about his childhood or from the ice cream truck when it came. Then the changes started getting bigger: a stay in the hospital, a move to assisted living, visits to the ice cream parlor alone. Grandpa starts to forget things, sleep more, and talk less as he gets sicker. However, he always has time to share ice cream, and that’s how sweet memories are made.
Dementia, sickness, and death are challenging topics for children, who often have difficulty processing much smaller changes than these. Focusing on shared memories and experiences, Ice Cream with Grandpa helps readers understand change as something that can be managed and adapted to rather than as something to fight against. At the same time, it provides readers with a preview of what they might expect if a grandparent develops dementia and offers a model for coping with grief and loss through emotional intelligence.
Soft, cheerful watercolor illustrations emphasize the positive even in moments of sadness or anger. A guide for parents and caregivers at the end of the book offers concrete guidelines and suggestions for supporting young people to cope with change, grief, and loss.
Overall, Ice Cream with Grandpa: A Loving Story for Kids about Alzheimer’s and Dementia is a comforting and supportive text, ideal for helping young readers understand and process health-related changes in the family.
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About the Author
Laura Smetana has fond memories of enjoying ice cream with her son and his grandpa, Laura’s dad. Her latest book, Ice Cream with Grandpa: A Loving Story for Kids About Alzheimer’s & Dementia, was inspired by their relationship, before and after her dad developed Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. Laura has three generations of ice cream scoopers in her home—one from her grandpa, one from her dad, and one she got with her family in France. Each one brings back sweet memories with loved ones. Laura co-authored her debut children’s book, Little Squiggle’s Lake Adventure, with her son, Stirling Hebda. She lives with her family in the Chicago suburbs, where she is happily at work on several new books for kids.
You can visit her at www.laurasmetana.com.
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June 23, 2022 at 02:00AM Dr. Jen Harrison