This book offers a great learning opportunity for any children wanting to learn more about Alzheimer’s Disease or for any adult looking for a way to broach this heart wrenching topic with a child. Predominantly aimed at primary school aged children, the stunning illustrations burst with colour as every inch of the page is covered with the author/Illustrator’s own drawings helping to give a real sense of being in Nana’s Garden and making it easy for children to get involved with the story. Harrison was inspired by her own personal experience with her own mother’s dementia so the feelings and emotions, as well as the factual side of the progression of the disease, are accurately portrayed without being scary for the younger reader.
As the name suggests, this poignant story centres around a little girl, her Nana and the love they share for each other and for Nana’s garden. The quick progression of her dementia means that Nana is unable to tend for her garden as she had done and the little girl starts to notice weeds growing in the garden. The girl’s mother carefully explains why Nana isn’t quite the same as she was and how her brain has developed an illness. Despite the subject matter, the story remains hopeful and positive which helps children to remember that even though the behaviour of their relative may have changed, the person they love is still inside them and still in need of love and affection. There is a really helpful and informative Q and A about the illness at the back of the book which will help to answer any questions the book may bring up.
A real must read for any family with young children dealing with dementia. As an added incentive, with every purchase of this book, $1 is donated to the Canadian Alzheimer’s Society.