Children's Books That Will Help Them Understand Dementia and Alzheimer's

Dementia and Alzheimer's disease is never an easy topic to discuss, especially when a loved one is affected by these conditions. Understanding dementia and Alzheimer's disease can be difficult for many adults to understand, and for children, it can be even more difficult.

My grandma was diagnosed with dementia before I was born. As a child, I didn't know my grandma had dementia but I did know that she was forgetful. Though I didn't live with my grandma, when I visited her I saw how her "forgetfulness" affected her. It came to a point where she was non-verbal, for the most part, and was only able to say "I love you" once in a blue moon. It wasn't until I became a teenager that I fully understood why my grandma was "forgetful" and the severity of her dementia. Had my family and I had the resources then, perhaps I would have been able to understand sooner. Thankfully, there is a growing number of books to help children better understand, participate in the conversation, and cope.

Here is a list of books we recommend as tools to help your kids understand the affects of dementia and Alzheimer's disease:

Book cover of Why Grandma Keeps Forgetting: An Alz Story by Ryan Williams
Find it on Amazon | Goodreads

1. "Why Grandma Keeps Forgetting: An Alz Story" by Ryan Williams

this book will help you explain Alzheimer's Disease to a child or teen and what grandma might be going through. The book is 24   pages long and hardcover. The author uses uses a metaphor that memories are pieces of candy in a candy shop but a mean monster sneaks in and starts eating them slowly – causing Grandma to forget. ends on a beautiful note that will bring a tear to your eye

2. “The Remember Balloons” by Jessie Oliveros

Cover for "The Remember Balloons" by Jesse Oliveros Illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
Find it on Amazon | Goodreads

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.

3. "Grandma and Me: A Kid’s Guide for Alzheimer’s and Dementia" by Beatrice Tauber Prior, Psy.D & Mary Ann Drummond, RN

Cover of "Grandma and Me: A Kid's Guide for Alzheimer's and Dementia" by Beatrice Tauber Prior and Mary Ann Drummond
Find it on Amazon | Goodreads

In Grandma and Me, Beatrice and Mary Ann combine their years of clinical experience to create a truly engaging, yet informative book for young children on the topics of Alzheimer’s and dementia. The beautiful artwork will capture children’s attention, bring them into the story, and help them return on their own. Grandma and Me provides a gentle, yet age appropriate description of Alzheimer’s disease, while providing tools that helps children continue to have a relationship with their loved one despite the disease. Grandma and Me addresses a difficult topic with love and understanding and provides the tools for children to successfully navigate the journey ahead.

4. "A Doll for Grandma: A Story about Alzheimer's Disease" by Paulette Bochnig Sharkey

Cover of "A Doll for Grandma: A Story about Alzheimer's Disease" by Paulette Bochnig Sharkey
Find it on Amazon | Goodreads

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.

5. "Lovely Old Lion" by Julia Jarman

Cover of "Lovely Old Lion" by Julia Jarman
Find it on Amazon | Goodreads

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…

6. A Heart Full of GEMS (Someone my child loves has dementia) by Linn Possell & Teepa Snow

Cover of A Heart Full of GEMS (Someone my child loves has dementia) by Linn Possell, Teepa Snow
Find it on Amazon | Goodreads

This is a story that teaches children to pay attention to and share in the human connection that can be maintained when a loved one is living with Alzheimer’s. This beautifully illustrated book can be shared with any child, removing their fear and anxiety of Alzheimer’s disease and replacing it with calm and confidence. Children learn to leave their worries behind and emerge with the understanding that it is Alzheimer’s causing the changes in grandma or grandpa, not them. Written by leading Alzheimer’s educators, Reverend Linn Possell and Teepa Snow, parents and young readers will recognize the various GEMS to be found in their loved ones and also themselves. The Gems model advocates that everyone living with brain change, when given the opportunity will shine. “Heart Full of Gems” is a much-needed resource for any family, dealing with the reality of a loved one with Alzheimer’s. While told in simple words, the book is not childish or just for children.

Back to all articles