Dementia books for children
By Robin Brisbourne | Tuesday 17 October 2017
Princesses, monkeys and dragons
We’re proud to tell you that our Dementia Explained website, which helps children and young people better understand dementia, has recently been recognised at the BMA Patient Information Awards 2017. The site features information pages, personal accounts, videos and games specifically tailored for children of different ages. The whole site was developed with the help of children and families with experience of a loved one with dementia, providing valuable input at every stage of its development.
When we originally asked children what kind of resources they would find useful for helping them learn about dementia, storybooks appeared at the top of their lists. They had lots of creative ideas for different storylines (one involving a princess whose memory was stolen by a monkey and found by a dragon) and we passed these on to Matt Elliott, an award-winning children’s author who kindly agreed to write the books for us.
While ultimately Matt didn’t include any dragons, he was able to draw on the children’s ideas and experiences to produce two wonderful stories that explore some of the symptoms of dementia through engaging storytelling suitable for children of different ages. The stories formed a key part of Dementia Explained where they are available as interactive eBooks narrated by radio and television presenter Edith Bowman.
For younger children, we enlisted the help of talented illustrator James M Threadgold to produce a colourful picture book called Grandad’s Hat. The story has a simple, rhyming structure and centres on two children, Luke and Lucy, who are helping their grandad find his missing hat.
In the course of the story the children talk about some of the ways their grandad is changing and most of the pictures have an out-of-place item for readers to spot along the way. The story is an engaging introduction to the concept of dementia for young children and can support parents talking to their children about dementia. Read ‘Grandad’s Hat’ online, or order your free copy.
With illustrations by David William Nunn, this story is about a girl who experiences unusual situations and changing circumstances when her grandmother with dementia comes to stay in her family home. ‘When Grandma Came to Stay’ begins to deal with some of the difficult feelings that can be a part and parcel of having a loved one with dementia but also focuses on the happier moments and some ways people can help support a family member with dementia. Read ‘When Grandma Came to Stay’ online or order your free copy.
Thanks to fundraising carried out by staff at the pharmaceutical company Eisai Ltd and the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, you can order free, beautifully-printed copies of the books through our online ordering system. The story books appear alongside our free health information under the ‘Information about dementia’ tab. We have sent copies out to libraries around the country and to primary schools that would like to have copies for their pupils.
We’d love to hear your feedback to help inform how we can make our work even better. Please visit the page www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/kids and follow the links to ‘What is dementia’. Here there are a number of age-appropriate pages about dementia, please do click the ‘Tell us what you think’ button to fill in a quick survey.
You can now order free copies of our children’s books ‘Grandad’s Hat’ and ‘When Grandma Came to Stay’ via the ‘Information about dementia’ section of our materials and literature page.