Dementia is heartbreaking for families, and it’s so hard to watch someone you love disappear while they’re still alive. We already have a list of middle grade books about dementia, so you can pass that on to older kids dealing with grandparents losing themselves. These picture books about dementia sweetly, sensitively, and at times, playfully express the ache of a grandparent dealing with dementia.
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Picture Books About Dementia
Here are some of the best picture books about dementia:
The Remember Balloons
Published: August 28, 2018
James’s Grandpa has the best balloons because he has the best memories. He has balloons showing Dad when he was young and Grandma when they were married. Grandpa has balloons about camping and Aunt Nelle’s poor cow. Grandpa also has a silver balloon filled with the memory of a fishing trip he and James took together.
But when Grandpa’s balloons begin to float away, James is heartbroken. No matter how hard he runs, James can’t catch them. One day, Grandpa lets go of the silver balloon—and he doesn’t even notice!
Grandpa no longer has balloons of his own. But James has many more than before. It’s up to him to share those balloons, one by one.
What a Beautiful Morning
Published: August 9, 2016
Every morning is beautiful when Noah visits his Grandparents. When Grandpa and Noah wake up, they take off singing and hardly stop: walking the dog, splashing through puddles, and eating French toast with cinnamon.
But one summer Grandpa seems to have forgotten how to do the things they love. Does he even know who Noah is?
Grandma steps in energetically, filling in as best she can. But it is Noah who finds the way back to something he can share with Grandpa. Something musical. Something that makes the morning beautiful again.
Published: October 9, 2018
One day Dad comes home with one of those old cameras, the kind that uses film. But he doesn’t take photos of the regular things people photograph. He takes pictures of his keys, his coffee cup, the objects scattered on his desk. He starts doing a lot of things that are hard to understand, like putting items that belong in the fridge in the cupboard and ones that belong in the cupboard in the fridge. In a sensitive, touching tale about losing a family member to a terminal illness, Ross Watkins and Liz Anelli prove that love is the one thing that can never be forgotten.
Published: April 2, 2019
A young girl loves her grandpa so much! When they spend the day at the beach, she holds his hand as they go for a walk, and they build sand castles together. But sometimes, it’s difficult, because Grandpa has become forgetful. “Grandpa’s memories are like the tide,” Mommy explains. “Sometimes, they’re near and full of life. Other times, they’re distant and quiet.” A story about families, laughter, and how we can help a loved one with dementia live well.
My Singing Nana
Published: October 15, 2019
My Singing Nana is a compassionate tribute to families dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease. This story celebrates the ideals of family, heritage, and happy memories, showing kids that no matter how their loved one might change they always have ways to maintain their special connection.
Really and Truly
Published: August 14, 2012
Charlie is very close to his grandfather, who loves to tell fanciful stories about pirates, witches, and gnomes that amuse Charlie to no end. But lately, Charlie’s grandpa doesn’t have any new stories to tell — in fact, some days grandpa doesn’t even recognize Charlie. A disease has stolen grandpa’s memories, his appetite, and even his smile.
Charlie wants so much to make his grandpa smile again that he comes up with a plan to tell him stories — the same ones that grandpa used to tell Charlie to make him laugh! Without shying away from the inevitable heartache that comes from watching loved ones suffer, Really and Truly is a spirited book for young readers struggling to remain optimistic during troubling times.
Published: October 11, 2016
Georgie visits her Grandpa at the retirement home where he lives, but he doesn’t always remember who she is. Georgie sits with him as he sifts painstakingly through his remaining memories, finding points of commonality and companionship, until they come to a memory of her—and of newspaper hats, which Grandpa still remembers how to make! Together, they fold enough for all his friends.
Lovely Old Lion
Published: September 22, 2015
Lenny the lion loves his grandpa, King Lion. But when King Lion starts to forget things, Lenny begins to worry. He can’t understand why grandpa keeps getting muddled and doesn’t want to play any more. Lenny doesn’t know what to do, but with a little help from grandpa’s old friends, perhaps he can find a way to help him remember.
Weeds in Nana’s Garden
Published: March 9, 2016
A young girl and her Nana hold a special bond that blooms in the surroundings of Nana’s magical garden. Then one day, the girl finds many weeds in the garden. She soon discovers that her beloved Nana has Alzheimer’s Disease; an illness that affects an adult brain with tangles that get in the way of thoughts, kind of like how weeds get in the way of flowers. As time passes, the weeds grow thicker and her Nana declines, but the girl accepts the difficult changes with love, and learns to take-over as the magical garden’s caregiver. Extending from the experience of caring for her mother, artist Kathryn Harrison has created this poignant story with rich illustrations to candidly explore dementia diseases, while demonstrating the power of love. It is a journey that will cultivate understanding and touch your heart. After the story, a useful Question and Answer section is included. 20% of the proceeds from the purchase of this book will be donated to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. The Alzheimer Society is Canada’s leading health charity for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Grandma and Me
Published: November 7, 2017
The authors of Grandma and Me have combined their years of clinical experience to create a truly engaging, yet informative book for young children on the topics of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
With beautiful artwork to capture children’s attention, Grandma and Me provides a gentle, age-appropriate portrait of Alzheimer’s disease in the context of a loving relationship between grandparent and grandchild—and provides tools that will help children continue to have a relationship with their loved one despite the disease. Grandma and Me addresses a difficult topic with compassion and understanding, and allows families to successfully navigate the journey ahead.
A Doll for Grandma
Published: May 5, 2020
Kiera loves spending time with her grandma. They play dress up. They paint their nails. They make cookies for picnics with Kiera’s doll. But then Grandma starts to change. She starts misplacing items and forgetting how to do everyday tasks. Soon she has to move out of her home into a memory-care center for people with Alzheimer’s. She starts calling Kiera by a different name. Then Kiera has an idea and finds a new way to enjoy time with her Grandma.
Forget Me Not
Published: August 5, 2014
Young readers are given an emotionally powerful yet accessible introduction to what it is like having a close family member with Alzheimer’s disease in this deeply resonant story about the relationship between a girl and her grandmother.
Grandma’s whole family is concerned as they start to notice that she is becoming more and more forgetful. After they find her wandering the neighborhood, they need to make an important decision on her behalf—that the time has come for her to move out of her house and into an assisted living community where she can have the best care possible.
My New Granny
Published: September 11, 2012
Fini’s granny has changed. Before, she would comment on Fini’s strange hair styles, help her feed the ducks in the park, had traveled all over the world, and was an amazing cook. Now, Fini’s granny admires wacky hairdos, eats the bread crumbs meant for the ducks in the park, and does not travel or cook anymore. Eventually, Granny has to come live with Fini and her family because she needs to be watched, almost like a little child. She needs help dressing and washing, falls asleep underneath the kitchen table, and has a woman named Agatha that comes to care for her, like a babysitter. Fini is unsure of what to think of this “new” granny—she looks the same but she certainly acts like a completely different person.
Finding Grandma’s Memories
Published: September 17, 2019
Grandma loves teatime–and so does her granddaughter–from picking out a special cup, to brewing the tea, to sharing stories at the table. But lately, Grandma seems forgetful. She doesn’t always remember to turn off the faucet when filling the teakettle. Sometimes she even confuses her granddaughter’s name. How one little girl helps her grandmother remember their special ritual makes for a heartwarming story that will strike a chord with any family coping with elderly relatives who suffer from memory loss.
Grandma by Jessica Shepherd
Published: July 1, 2014
Told in diary form, this is the story of how one child’s Grandmother has to go into care. The change is unsettling, but there are many positives to draw from a touching and heartfelt relationship.
The Day Abuelo Got Lost
Published: September 1, 2019
While grandfather’s loss of memory is very upsetting, it makes Luis find new things for them to do, and helps him realize that they still love each other.
A touching story about a boy and his grandfather who enjoy a special relationship―until Abuelo starts to lose his memory. Instead of building model planes and cooking together, Luis and his father have to search the neighborhood for Abuelo, and Luis and Abuelo have to find new activities to enjoy together.
There they are: 16 of the best picture books about dementia. Which of these have you read and loved? What did I miss?
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