Official Review: Nana Doesn't Know Me by Donna M. Dube

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Official Review: Nana Doesn't Know Me by Donna M. Dube

Post by bookowlie » 01 Feb 2019, 17:55

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Nana Doesn't Know Me" by Donna M. Dube.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Nana Doesn’t Know Me by Donna M. Dube is a children’s chapter book about an eight-year-old girl’s experiences when her grandmother moves in with her family. Cally’s grandmother, known as Nana, has Alzheimer’s disease and can no longer live alone. The young girl is initially thrilled at the prospect of having fun with Nana. However, Cally quickly realizes her grandmother is not the same person she once was.

The story is written in the first person from Cally’s perspective. The reader is given an up-close view of the impact on a child’s life when a relative moves in, not to mention someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. I liked the way the effects on the main character’s lifestyle were subtly woven throughout the story. Right off the bat, Cally’s environment is altered as her playroom is turned into Nana’s bedroom. Also, the young girl's extra-curricular activities are curtailed at times, now that Mom has become Nana’s primary caregiver. Cally’s reactions are realistically written, as it’s common that a child would be upset by even small changes in their routine.

The author is adept at giving a well-rounded view of living with someone who has Alzheimer’s. As you can imagine, it’s startling when Cally sees Nana wearing two different shoes. She is also hurt when the elderly woman has frequent mood swings. Besides the disturbing behavioral changes, there are fun family moments, such as dancing together in the living room.

The book is well written and appears to be edited well. Although the vocabulary isn’t overly sophisticated, parents may want to give young readers a fuller explanation of Alzheimer’s disease. Clear information is provided, but kids might have additional questions. There is also a discussion section with activities, where children can write about their own experiences with loved ones who have Alzheimer’s or other diseases. This section is a nice, cathartic addition to the story that would give children a way to explore their feelings about similar situations.

There are no illustrations, although the vivid descriptions make it easy to picture the action as it unfolds. I felt like I was right there when Cally entered the kitchen and saw a towering pile of dishes, ready to topple over. Although artwork might have enhanced the story, I think having no pictures was a good decision. This way the reader can imagine their own family grappling with these issues.

This book has earned a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. It is a thoughtful look at how a family is affected by a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease. Other than one minor grammatical error, there is nothing to find fault with in this sensitively written story. I would recommend it to children ages 7-12, especially readers who are dealing with the same types of issues. Parents can read the book aloud to the younger set, while advanced readers can read it on their own.

******
Nana Doesn't Know Me
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Post by kandscreeley » 03 Feb 2019, 08:10

This book seems sad and yet so needed. I applaud the author for tackling a subject like this. I know that this happens in real life and would be great to help kids deal with it.
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Post by Cecilia_L » 03 Feb 2019, 08:51

Though the topic is sad, it's so relevant. I'm sure it will be helpful and even comforting for young readers. Thanks for the excellent review.

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Post by bookowlie » 03 Feb 2019, 09:03

kandscreeley wrote: ↑
03 Feb 2019, 08:10
This book seems sad and yet so needed. I applaud the author for tackling a subject like this. I know that this happens in real life and would be great to help kids deal with it.
Thanks Kandscreeley and Cecilia! I agree that the author should be commended for creating a story around this important topic. It's very realistic that the girl was confused by the changes in her grandmother's behavior. Even adults are often confused when a loved one starts acting differently, forgetting things, etc.
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Post by nonamer_miss » 03 Feb 2019, 09:24

I can relate with Cally! My grandmother also moved into our house when I was young and like Nana, she also have Alzheimer’s disease so I feel bittersweet about this book. Thanks for the beautiful review.

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Post by Jessacardinal » 03 Feb 2019, 13:51

This sounds like a well-rounded book. Given the age range you recommend, I am not surprised by the lack of illustrations.
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Post by epratt » 03 Feb 2019, 13:58

Books like this can have a very specific target audience. This sounds like it would be great for a child to read while going through something similar to see both the good and bad when having a loved one dealing with Alzheimer's. The ages you recommended can really benefit from reading about a real-life situation.

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Post by BelleReadsNietzsche » 03 Feb 2019, 16:16

Such an important and relevant topic. So glad that there are books like this tackling this topic and allowing parents to help their kids with it, as well as normalizing that any given family isn't the only one going through that kind of thing. Thanks for highlighting this book with well-written review!
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Post by kdstrack » 03 Feb 2019, 18:38

As a larger portion of our society ages, this book fills a need that is becoming more and more prevalent. I agree that it is a sad theme, but this book will be a good tool to help parents educate their children. The author was very insightful to publish a book on this topic. Thanks for your excellent review.

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Post by Espie » 03 Feb 2019, 21:42

I've lived with my paternal grandparents when I was a grade schooler and my maternal ones after high school. None of them had this disease, and I could just imagine how life-changing it would have been if this book's protagonist's plight had been mine at those times. How poignant, indeed!

It also seems that, even if this piece is bereft of the basic medical explanations for the malady, it still touches one's psyche or soul enough to foster understanding and compassion for those it plagued and their families.

Thank you for your insightful review.
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Post by BlackRogue9 » 04 Feb 2019, 16:50

This book hits hard, my nana had Alzheimer and the last time she saw me she had no idea who i was nor who my mum was, but i think in her mind she knew we must've been close family because even tho it was clear she didn't recognize us she treated us well and gave us gift. Kids need to read this kind of books, as well as adults.

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Post by gali » 04 Feb 2019, 23:20

A kid's book revolving around the interaction of an eight-year-old girl with her grandmother who has Alzheimer’s disease sounds touching. I agree that kids should read this book to understand what one goes through with this disease. I think adding illustrations would have made it more relatable to kids. Great review as always!
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Post by Maia+ » 05 Feb 2019, 09:16

Having to deal with someone with Alzheimer's disease is a huge challenge to begin with, as an adult. It's even unsettling at times as a person, who you may have known your entire life, turns into someone else and begins to forget who you are. Many people have addressed these struggles with adults but not many have taken a look at what the experience does to a child. I think it's amazing that this author is able to view Alzheimer's disease from a child's perspective and share that with the world as a reminder that children can go through these struggles as well and understand less of it than us, making it more difficult.
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Post by Ak1412 » 05 Feb 2019, 13:57

I definitely want to read this book after reading the review. Literature explaining Alzheimer's to children is much needed today. I give a ton of credit to the author for creating this work.

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Post by kislany » 06 Feb 2019, 04:35

That is such a sad topic in a children's book. I'm glad to see that the author tackled it artfully, giving children a reason to read it to learn more about the disease in a way that they can actually understand it. Great review, as always, bookowlie.

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