Book Review: A Doll for Grandma: A Story about Alzheimer’s Disease, Paulette B Sharkey

A Doll for Grandma: A Story about Alzheimer’s Disease
Author: Paulette Bochnig Sharkey
Illustrator: Samantha Woo
Publisher: Beaming Books
Ages: 4-8
Genre: Picture book

Grandma and Kiera have a great time together—baking and riding in grandma’s sports car and playing dress up. But something changes, and grandma starts to do unusual things. Kiera’s mother tells her that grandma’s brain is “forgetting how to remember.” Grandma moves to a memory-care home, and the sports car is traded for a wheelchair. Grandma even calls Kiera the wrong name…but then Kiera has an idea.

A Doll for Grandma is a gentle exploration of the challenges a relationship faces when a loved one gets Alzheimer’s disease. The text shows Kiera’s experience of love and loss through a comforting, relatable story rather than textbook starkness. The picture book takes what might otherwise be a confusing or frightening topic and accurately discusses it with humor and heart in a kid-friendly way.

Simple, bright illustrations fill this book with joy and cheer. Bold facial expressions create realistic-feeling, likable characters. The final page is a helpful, accurate guide written especially for parents and caregivers to use as they help their littles better understand Alzheimer’s disease.

This text is a must-have for families who are learning new ways to love a family member who is facing Alzheimer’s, but also an important story for all children to help build empathy and understanding. This book is SO needed! I wish this story was out when I was a tiny tot, and I’m so thankful to see that Paulette Sharkey has crafted it in such a creative, accurate way! Highly recommend you add a copy to your collection or request it from your local library.

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