Monday, March 18, 2013

Turning the Page with a Grandparent

My original thought for a post this week was to talk about some of the fabulous guests on the weekly twitter chat #MGLitchat that I help to co-host every Thursday night. It is Tips from the Pros Month on the chat and we’ve featured some excellent middle grade authors and agents for the first two weeks.

But I’ve decided to save a recap for my post next week after I co-host the chat on the path to publication with middle grade authors and their editors this Thursday. (***Did I mention it's on Thursday?? 9 pm eastern. Join us!***)

This week I’m on vacation in Florida with my parents and my 86 year old grandmother, as well as my husband and kids. Besides the beach, there’s a lot going on with my gram’s failing health. I hate dementia and how it is dismantling her life bit by bit. One of the things that really makes me sad is to see her not able to enjoy one of her lifetime loves…reading. For as long as I can remember, she’s had a TBR pile on her nightstand, layered with classic and the latest mysteries, Agatha Christie usually dominating the stack. Now when I ask her what she’s reading, she shakes her head, giving me a wistful look as if to say she hasn’t been able to connect with her old friends and it weighs on her heart.

I owe a lot to my gram, including my love for reading and, by extension, my love of writing. I want to find a way to reinvent her literary life to ensure her new chapter includes good books. Instead of Agatha Christie, I’m thinking I’ll introduce her to Peter Brown (A CURIOUS GARDEN) or Philip and Erin Stead (BEAR HAS A STORY TO TELL, A HOME FOR BIRD, SICK DAY FOR AMOS McGEE).

I never really thought about the day that I’d read to my gram the way she read to me, but I have to accept the fact it’s here. I hope that it gives us the chance to enjoy our time together and celebrate the love of books that we’ve shared for 40 years.

Who has been the reading and writing inspiration for you in your family? What picture books have you shared with an elderly loved one who can no longer read on their own?


  1. I just finished filling out an order for books-on-tape available to my mother through Ohio's Library for the Visually Impaired, a free service for those who qualify. Books are mailed to her and she returns them free-of-charge. The program is a blessing to her, she was also an avid reader now limited by macular degeneration. We are so grateful for the service :-)

  2. Hugs for you and Gram! My grandma read a little bit as dementia stole her memories, but mostly she played the piano. Thank God for muscle memory, right? A concert pianist in her younger years, that was her thing. My mom and I share a love of reading, though, and I'd be happy to read with her any old time. Thankfully, she's young and not suffering from any mental illnesses. Dementia is so hard to watch. Blessings and hugs to you, Kellie!

  3. This is such a sweet post. I'm glad you got a chance to visit. All of my grandparents are now dead, so I envy you.

  4. All in a Day by Cynthia Rylant is a great one for all ages to read together.

  5. When I was little my grandmother would read to me every time she came over. Between her and my mother, I had no choice but to fall in love with books.


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