My Singing Nana

Magination Pr. Oct. 2019. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781433830211.
PreS-Gr 1–In this title, celebrated author Mora depicts a family coping with a loved one’s slow progression of dementia/Alzheimer’s disease. In Billy’s close-knit Hispanic family, Nana bakes empanadas, sings, directs plays, and reads books with him. As her memory begins to fade, Billy worries about her. His mother counsels him to help Nana remember things and focus on the many activities that they enjoy doing together. When Billy’s sister gets sick on the eve of a neighborhood play, Nana is able to fill in and sing her part. Mora does an admirable job portraying a family dealing with the long-term reality of dementia. The incorporation of Spanish words into the text without providing translation is refreshing and illustrations by Alyssa Bermudez (Lucía the Luchador) add another dimension to the family in small details like the pattern of the dishes, and the empanadas sprinkled throughout the book. An author’s note offers personal history about Mora’s parents, who suffered from dementia, and talking points for discussing the disease with young children. A recipe for cherry empanadas is included in the back of the book.
VERDICT Although the “happy” ending may mislead some readers, the book is worthwhile purchase that provides valuable talking points about dementia and Alzheimer’s with young children.

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