The Day Abuelo Got Lost: Memory Loss of a Loved Grandfather

Albert ­Whitman. Sept. 2019. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807514924.
PreS-Gr 2–The topic of memory loss due to Alzheimer’s is the focus of this picture book. This first-person narrative is from the perspective of Luis, whose grandfather lives with his family and cares for him each day after school. During their time together, the two make model planes, cars, and boats, and enjoy painting under the watchful eye of the family dog, Sancho. Quesadilla snacks are a highlight of the afternoon thanks to Abuelo’s cooking talents. However, these activities begin to change when his grandfather cannot remember how to fit model pieces together, and then starts to leave the stove on after cooking. He even becomes confused, calling the dog the name of his own childhood pet, “Café,” and Luis,“Chico.” However, life really changes when grandfather is missing from the home one afternoon. The family searches for him, relieved to find him just a few blocks away, confused and unable to recognize Luis’s father. Harris’s bright illustrations illuminate the protagonists and their loving relationships.
VERDICT This simple, gentle story makes for a one-on-one read-aloud, and will easily evoke conversations around a disease, as well as its impact on family relationships, in a way that otherwise may be difficult for young children to comprehend.

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