Picture Book Review: I Smile for Grandpa

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I Smile for Grandpa, written by Jaclyn Guenette and illustrated by Kathryn Harrison, is the sad but powerful story of Buddy and Grandpa, and how their relationship changes as Grandpa succumbs to dementia. The highest praise I can give this book is that I passed it on to a friend whose mother was recently diagnosed with Alzheimers because I thought it could be helpful for her to read with her children. I read it with my children, who don’t know anyone with dementia, and it led us to have some great conversations. The illustrator’s decision on dressing Buddy is genius – it’s never mentioned in the story whether Buddy is male or female, and the clothing could go either way. To my daughters, Buddy was “clearly” a girl because “she” wears purple; truly, though, I think a young boy could just as easily say Buddy is “obviously” a boy. The simple but powerful language combined with the illustrations that allow all children to see themselves as Buddy make this book a great tool for talking to kids about dementia. I highly recommend this book, and thank illustrator Kathryn Harrison for gifting me a copy in exchange for a (very, very, very overdue) review. 

Find more information about the book and how it supports the Alzheimer Society of Canada, visit ismileforgrandpa.com.

Four stars!

Reading has saved my sanity! (Plus, where I’ve been these past months…)

So, friends, I wrote this post back in mid-November, right after I returned to work after bedrest/maternity leave. I never got around to editing it and actually clicking “publish,” apparently, but I still wanted to share the sentiment that reading saved my sanity so I decided to just publish as-is!

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What happened to me after my last post on September 3rd?!? If you follow me on Twitter (@theedifyingword), you’ll know I didn’t disappear off the face of the earth.

I had a baby!

He’s wonderful and adorable and precious and I’d love to share pictures but I don’t post identifying info about my kiddos… so, just know that little baby E is healthy and happy and immensely loved!

Having a new baby and being on maternity leave from work gave me LOTS of time for reading on my Kindle (and NONE for blogging or reviewing those books) — in fact, it saved my sanity. A nursing newborn = a ton of time sitting in a chair, much of it in the middle of the night. If I did not read, I would have fallen asleep (this is still the case, though now I only nurse twice-ish a night and for shorter periods of time). So, I started reading so I wouldn’t pass out and drop the baby. It was really just practicality, and it works so well that I can’t believe I didn’t do this with my other kids (well, at least with #3 – I didn’t have a Kindle for the first two).

Maybe I should have, but I totally didn’t expect the added benefit – in a time when I was by necessity giving so much of myself, physically and emotionally, to my new baby, with any minuscule leftover bits going to my other three kids and my husband, reading while nursing gave me some semblance of “me” time. I was able both to do something I enjoy and to engage myself intellectually. These are both things I definitely lacked after having my first two, and did slightly better with after my third. This time, though, I rocked it. By the time he was six weeks old, I had read 17 books. 17!!! To think in January I thought I was being ambitious when I set my Goodreads goal at 20 books for the year!

I’m hoping to pop in and actually review some of those books now, but life with four kids is CRAZY so no promises… 🙂