"If My Moon Was Your Sun"
Authored by Andreas Steinhöfel
Illusrated by Nele Palmtag
Ages: 8-12 years
Grade Level: 3-6
Unwrapping some wonderful illustrations
About the book
This beautifully written book will certainly tug at your heartstrings. It oozes with love and acceptance and gives a child a glimpse of what it is like to have a beloved grandparent in his life who is experiencing dementia. It highlights a very special relationship and strong bond of love between Max, who is nine years old, and his grandfather who is in their small town nursing home because unfortunately his memory is deteriorating.
Max takes it upon himself one day to skip school and to visit that nursing home with the intention of kidnapping his grandfather and spending the entire day with him just like old times, (if they are not apprehended of course). Yes, you heard correctly, Max wills to be his grandfather's liberator.
He manages to free his grandfather (and another resident, Miss Schneider, who eagerly follows the duo out the door too). He puts them safely on a bus and together they head to a very familiar summer meadow to relax and enjoy each other's company. Grandfather loves to hum classical music such as Brahms, Schubert, and Mozart and he and Max revel in their love for each other throughout the time they spend there.
The meadow is the first place that grandfather kissed his grandmother and it was there he proposed marriage to her. Max and grandfather laze in the grass and chat away, while Miss Schneider dances in the sunlight, recalling her early days of being a dance instructor.
Will Max and his entourage be discovered and will everyone be returned safely to the nursing home without incident? Will he be in trouble for carrying out such a dastardly deed?
This book is a perfect catalyst to start a conversation with your child about dementia. Even though memories fade and are sometimes completely lost, the strong thread of love prevails forever in their loved ones' hearts. It includes a CD audiobook featuring classical music for children by George Bizet and Sergei Prokofiev. I highly recommend this book be available in classrooms, libraries, and of course individual homes. The book adds a touch of humour to a very heartbreaking and very sad story regarding a person with Alzheimer's. I highly recommend this book.
About the author
Andreas Steinhöfel is an award-winning German writer of children’s books. He received the Erich Kästner Prize for Literature in 2009 and the German Children’s Literature Award in 2013. In addition to writing books for young readers, he also works as a translator, writes for television and radio, and edits graphic novels. Born in 1962 in Battenberg, Germany, he now lives in Berlin. Other books by Andreas Steinhöfel available in English are The Spaghetti Detectives, An Elk Dropped In, and The Center of the World.
About the illustrator
Nele Palmtag, born in Böblingen, Germany, in 1973, began a career as a state-certified occupational therapist before studying design, fashion, and illustration at the University of the Arts Bremen and at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. She illustrates her own picture books as well as those of other authors. Her own works have been translated into several languages. She lives with her family in Hamburg-Altona.
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It's a wrap.