Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Weeds in Nana's Garden - a bookwrap







This wonderful book not only is beautiful to look at but the message is so important to families who need love and support when one of their members has dementia, like Alzheimer's.  The ultimate goal of the book is to educate people about the disease and I love the fact that indie publisher, Flipturn Publishing will donate $1 from each book sold to The Alzheimer's Society of Canada. 



Unwrapping...




Written and illustrated by Kathryn Harrison

"A heartfelt story of love that helps explain Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias."


Unwrapping the illustrations...


The illustrations are bold, vibrant and rich.  They are 2-page painted scenes that create an enchanted garden complete with a curious, friendly cat and magical fairies that are tucked here and there throughout the magnificent lush vegetation.  Each illustration is created through layers of cont√©, acrylic paint, and paper and digital collage.  As you turn the pages the colours lessen and more tangled lines appear denoting the progressin of the disease.   As the girl grasps what's happening and determines to love her Nana even more because of her condition, the colours and the calm return for the reader to enjoy once again.  Be ready to be amazed.... :-)


























                                                                   
         











About the book...

This is a heartfelt, tender story of a young girl who loves her Nana very much.  They spend countless hours in Nana's magical garden where fairies and colourful blossoms reside.  They laugh, pull weeds together and watch the rich, lush garden grow.  Then things begin to change.  The girl discovers weeds sprouting up everywhere. These invaders cause the beautiful plants to become their prisoners. They are invasive and choke the very life out of the healthy foliage thus leaving the garden a tangled war zone.    

The girl tells her mother of these unwelcome trespassers that come  to steal and destroy something that is so beautiful and brings so much happiness to both her and Nana. Why? Why does Nana not tend to her garden like she used to?  Why is she letting these encroachers ruin her magical garden and turn it into a snarly, twisted mess.  Her mother gently tells her what is happening to Nana's brain, how her brain is very similar to what is transpiring in her beloved garden.  The girl has a name now as to what Nana is experiencing... it's called Alzheimer's Disease, a disease that affects an adult brain which causes havoc and gets in the way of thoughts, very much like the weeds in Nana's garden that are overtaking the flowers and plants there.  

As the young girl grasps what's happening she determines herself to love her Nana even more and treat her with respect and kindness.  She adores her so much that she becomes the steward of the magical garden, following in her Nana's footsteps, and restoring  it back to it's natural health and breath-taking beauty. 

At the end of the book the author has included a set of Q&A about the disease.  The Questions were created from conversations with children and the Answers were established with the assistance from the Alzheimer Society of Toronto.   I highly recommend this book. 




About the author/illustrator...




As a child, art was my passion but I also enjoyed science. Being from a family of scientists and business professionals, I decided to put art on hold to gain a degree in Biology/Psychology and an MBA.
After graduation came a lengthy communications career in marketing and advertising until motherhood eventually drew me to pursue my more artistic calling. In 2007, I was led to art school and then went on to earn a Diploma in Fine Art. Today I see myself as a storyteller, able to blend my diverse skills to not only author compelling stories, but to further enrich them through vivid paintings, design and illustration.
“Weeds in Nana’s Garden” marks the culmination of my lifelong pursuits, but it is also the end of a very personal journey. In 2005 my mom was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia. She was 62 years old. In the years following, my family and I learned firsthand about the heart-ache of the disease.
After my mother’s passing in 2010 I knew I had to do something to help – something to increase awareness and provide much needed support to families enduring the hardship that is dementia. I set out to create an engaging children’s picture book that guides the reader through the typical stages of dementia.
Wanting to do more still, I decided that a portion of the proceeds from the book would be donated to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, an organization that supported me greatly in my time of need. What’s more, to maximize my contribution I needed to self-publish and thus Flipturn Publishing was created. The name, Flipturn Publishing, is both a nod to my competitive swimming past and an acknowledgement of the need to turn and face a new direction, once dementia arrives.
I hope you find this book to be a candid yet approachable exploration into dementia diseases for families, and that you also recognize it as a celebration of the remarkable ways of the human heart. I dedicated the book to my mom, Bonnie Harrison, but it was created to honour all those who are afflicted with dementia and all those who never stop loving as it endures.
With heartfelt thanks, Kathryn
Please visit my art site at kathrynharrison.ca for more of my work.




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