My New Granny

My New Granny184520174My New Granny

Elisabeth Steinkellner, Author

Michael Roher, Illustrator

Connie Straddling Morby, Translation

Sky Pony Press, Fiction, September 2012

Suitable for:  Ages 4-8

Themes:  Grandmother, Aging, Dementia, Family, Love, Acceptance

Opening/SynopsisMy old Granny used to make a fuss about my hairdo.  “Fini, what have you done to your beautiful hair again?”  she sighed and shook her head, not understanding.”  Fini’s Granny used to comment on her strange hair styles, help her feed the ducks in the park and cooked exotic meals from the strange places she visited.  Fini’s Granny has changed.  She likes her unusual hairdo, eats the bread crumbs instead of feeding them to the ducks and moves into Fini’s house.  Fini is puzzled by Granny’s strange behavior and isn’t sure how she feels about the changes.  Granny used to take care of her, now she and her family have to help Granny.

Why I like this book:  Elisabeth Steinkellner has written a touching and empathetic story about an aging grandparent who is suffering from dementia.  She realistically captures Fini’s confusion about the changes that occur when her Granny is diagnosed with dementia.  But Fini learns to love and accept the changes of her new Granny.   With the growing number of older adults affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia, this is a helpful resource for children.  The author is from Austria and the book has been translated into English by Connie Straddling Morby.

Michael Roher’s illustrations have  an Austrian flavor.  His technique is unusual and he offered to share his process.  “I used colored ink (fine-pen and marker) as well as red and brown pencils and pastels,” says Roher.  “For some surfaces I used a monoprint-technique to create interesting structures.  I used a roll to apply the color (water-soluble color for linoleum-prints) on the paper, cut out the pieces I needed and glued them onto my pictures.”  His illustrations are unique, warm and show compassion among the characters.

Resources:  Parents may want to check out the Kids and Teen page of the Alzheimer’s Association and a post from the Carolina Parent blog about  Talking to Kids About Aging Grandparents.

This book has been provided to me free of charge by the publisher in exchange for an honest review of the work. 


About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

34 thoughts on “My New Granny

  1. This book sounds like it covers an ever increasing topic, delicately, for the young and even older kids. I love the way this author captures the differences in the Grandparent and the confusion of little Fini. It can be hard for little ones to understand. What a lovely resource, Pat.


  2. I love the comment about eating the breadcrumbs instead of feeding the ducks, what a great portrail of a hard subject to teach kids. I love Austria too, I taught English there for four weeks, the colorful houses are so pretty in the snow.


    • Catherine, I’m glad you liked the selection. I liked some of the humor in the story. Although confusing for Fini, in the end she comes to acceptance and has a fun with Granny. Would love to visit Austria.


  3. What a wonderful-sounding, much-needed book. The changes in a person with dementia are difficult for adults to deal with, they must be totally baffling for children. I love the idea of the “new granny” and learning to love her as she is. Thank you for this, Pat.


  4. I love how European the illustrations look and enjoyed reading Roher’s process. A picture book like this could help adults and children alike, I think, to process and accept the changes in an aging grandparent! Great review and resource suggestions, Pat!


  5. My mom has dementia but essentially is the age of a grandparent. My parents didn’t plan their family well at all and had me when she was 40. That’s really old to have kids. So now that I’m 40 she’s 80, and has dementia. I’m envious of people who are my age that have parents who still have their wits about them. But at the same time, I can understand how devastating and strange this kind of disease is. Over Thanksgiving, my mom stayed up all night in the dark talking and arguing with people who weren’t there. Started about midnight and she was still at it at 10:30 a.m.


    • Michael, Wow! Thank you for sharing. That must be very hard on you, but I can imagine how upsetting and frightening it would be for a young child to eperience such a long episode like you experienced. I looked out for a tween whose grandmother lived with her family. Her granny had Alzheimer’s and it was both upsetting and funny at times, but she learned to adjust. Wish I had a book like this for her then. Now her mother (an older parent) has Alzheimer’s and she has taken her into her home, where her two daughters have watched their granny change. Going through it twice has been very hard on my grown friend. That’s why we need books for kids!


  6. This sounds like a wonderful and very valuable book, Pat. My MIL is in the same situation as the granny in this book, and though my kids are older and better able to understand, I think there are a lot of younger kids who would find this very helpful.


    • Yes, at some point it touches all of our lives. We all know someone. That’s why books like “My New Granny” are so important for young children as many will at some point face this change with a grandparent or family member.


  7. Yes, we all know someone like this. I may get this book for my neighbor! I even took her mother for walks when she was able and it did a number on me to be not remembered as a person that did her a favor. She never remembered my name and it definitely became a bigger and bigger favor. We all want something even it it’s only being remembered as doing something nice for you. 🙂


  8. Wow. This is a hard topic. This book is probably going to be of real help to children. I wonder what it is like to live with/know someone who is suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s. My great-grandfather (94), and all three of my grandparents that are still living (about 60-70) do not have this. It would be very hard I think. I am going to see if our library has this book.


    • Erik, I was hoping you would have time to visit and give us a kid’s view point. It is a hard subject. Your grandparents are young – cough, cough — I keep forgetting your age! We have an uncle who is 95 and very sharp. My father was very sharp in his late 80s. But my mother-in-law did have Alzheimer’s at 92 and didn’t know anyone at the end. She didn’t live near, so my daughter was to young to understand. I think a book like this would be good read for the entire family of someone with dementia.


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