Picturing memories

celia and nonnaReview by Tim Lam

Celia and Nonna | Book |Victoria Lane and Kayleen West

Taking place every September, World Dementia Day is a timely opportunity to reflect on the impact that ageing and illness can have on families.

For many children, watching their grandparents grow old can be a confusing experience. Illnesses such as dementia are particularly difficult for parents to explain to their children.

Celia and Nonna, a picture book written by Victoria Lane and illustrated by Kayleen West, tackles dementia in a heartwarming and accessible manner. It invites young readers to reflect on their relationship with their grandparents and offers practical ways to navigate through the challenges of memory loss.

Dementia can be an uncomfortable topic to discuss, but Lane and West treat it with gentleness and compassion, crafting a beautiful story that affirms the importance of love.

The story takes place through the eyes of Celia, a resourceful and creative girl. At the start of the book, Celia enjoys spending time at her Nonna’s house. They bake biscotti together, solve jigsaw puzzles and have sleepovers.

However, their idyllic routine begins to change as Nonna starts to forget things. Her condition deteriorates and she is moved to a nursing home. Nonna’s new room is plain and bare, and Celia can no longer have sleepovers.

As Celia comes to terms with her grandmother’s new environment, she realises that she can help Nonna in practical ways. She starts to draw happy memories of her time with Nonna. These illustrations are used to decorate the walls of Nonna’s room, transforming it into a beautiful gallery of memories.

Celia and Nonna is humorous, poignant and heartfelt. This uplifting story of a young girl and her grandmother will encourage children and families to cope with the challenges of dementia with positivity and creativity. Most of all, it is a reminder that even as our minds and bodies age, the love we have for our family will never change.

Celia and Nonna can be purchased from Fort Street Publishing at www.fordstreetpublishing.com.

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