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. 

 

Grandpa Green – Perfect Picture Book

Lane Smith, Author and Illustrator

Roaring Brook Press, May 2011, Fiction

Suitable for:  Ages 5 ad Up

Themes: Aging Grandparent, Memory, Family History, Art

Opening:  “He was born a really long time ago, before computers or cell phones or television.  He grew up on a farm with pigs and corn and carrots…and eggs.  In fourth grade he got chicken pox.  He had to stay home from school  So he read stories about secret gardens and wizards and a  little engine that could.”   A boy takes a walk through a beautiful green topiary garden his great-grandfather  has pruned and shaped into wonderful artistic memories of his life.  Grandpa Green is aging and his memory fading.  But not when he enters his garden; it remembers for him.

Why I like this book:  Wow!  Purchasing this book is like owning a wonderful treasure.  It will certainly become a classic.  The book explores aging, memory, the bonds of family history, and love.  It is a powerful book that parents will want to share with their children, especially if there are aging grandparents.  There is so much detail in Smith’s enchanting artwork.   Activities:  Use this book to talk with your children about aging and family history.  Encourage your children to interview their grandparents  and journal family stories.  Introduce your children to horticulture.  Visit a greenhouse, a botanical garden, an arboretum or topiary      garden in your community.  For more books with resources please visit Perfect Picture Books.

The following Grandpa Green book trailer is designed by David Taylor Design.

Grandpa Green