Enchanting! That’s the first thought I had, as I enjoyed the journey that is Weeds in Nana’s Garden. Kathryn Harrison’s award-winning children’s book, based on her own experiences with her daughter, caring for her mother with Alzheimer’s disease, is truly a work of extraordinary art.
The writing is simply and gently written, yet full of candor, so that young children can learn about the trials and, difficult to understand, changes that come with the debilitating disease. But the artistry with which Harrison illustrates makes this a picture book that two-year-olds can be enthralled by, from their own mothers’ laps.
The colorful and stunning illustrations remind me of Beatrix Potter, the British story teller and illustrator who first published Peter Rabbit in 1902. As does Kathryn Harrison’s, Potter’s exciting and detailed imagery pulled
me into her stories when I was a child. I can remember looking for hidden bunnies and other images I was hearing from the words. I caught myself doing the same with Weeds in Nana’s Garden.
It’s nearly impossible to explain the beauty in Harrison’s artwork. I have no doubt that the legendary Beatrix Potter would be most impressed. The love that Harrison has for her mother and two children is painted right into every page. It’s a 32-page book of art that I will proudly display on my coffee table. It’s that kind of book.
Harrison has been among many to acknowledge that there are hundreds of wonderful children’s books available for young minds today. But I highly recommend this book to parents and, perhaps more-so, to teachers of young and impressionable students. It also includes age-appropriate questions and answers following the story, which are great for class discussions.
As the primary Caregiver for the grandmother who reared me, I saw firsthand how this disease destroys the person affected, but also how it can do the same to those who care for them. It is difficult, but there are happy moments when one looks for them. With her book, Harrison reminds Caregivers of this truth.
Alzheimer’s disease is going to affect one in three or more of our children at some point in their lives. Many are impacted by the disease now and likely terrified, if not deeply confused, about what’s happening to their Nanas or Papas.
It is a difficult subject that no one really wants to talk about, but it’s imperative that the discussions begin. And why not start with our children, and in such a gentle way? The opportunity that Harrison provides with her beautiful offering is truly a gift to parents, grandparents and teachers, alike. And the children will be blessed.
For those with two-year-old, bright bundles of energy: Read them the book slowly. Give them plenty of time to study the artistry. Encourage them to play the hidden game that the child in me discovered. I call it, “Find the Cat and the Fairies!” They’re on every page layout. But don’t tell!
Weeds in Nana’s Garden is available, in softcover, on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other retailers. However, if you buy the book through https://www.caregiverscompanion.org , Harrison is offering a 10% discount on hardcover editions from her website. But you have to buy it through The Caregiver’s Companion to get the promo code. And still, $1 CAD = $0.75 USD, goes to the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada for each book sold.
Click on the box below. Buy the hardcover. You won’t regret it!