While at ALA, Pat spoke with KidLit TV’s Rocco Staino. Watch their conversation here.
Billy is close with his Nana. But Nana is starting to forget things and Billy is worried. When Billy’s sister is too sick to sing in their family summer show, Billy and Nana work together to come up with an act that saves the performance! Billy learns that no matter what happens, he and Nana are “always amigos!”
This story celebrates the ideals of family, heritage, and happy memories, showing kids that no matter how their loved one might change they always have ways to maintain their special connection.
"Billy adores his Nana, who wears a belted vest in Bermudez’s colorful art. He loves baking cherry empanadas alongside her, listening to her sing, and putting on shows together for their family and friends. As they prepare for their “best show ever,” Billy is worried when his Nana asks him to remind her of their plans. Later, he brings his concern to his mother, who reassures him that though Nana sometimes forgets things, they can still do all of their favorite activities together. When his sister wakes up with a cough the morning of the program, Billy is momentarily discouraged before he gets an idea: “I know who the best singer is,” writes Mora. He summons his Nana, and together they sing, helping one another recall their favorite songs in both Spanish and English. Back matter offers an empanada recipe and insights into discussing Alzheimer’s with children. A winning story that also serves as a useful family resource."—Publishers Weekly
Read Pat’s Author Note
How do children respond to grandparents or other seniors who may begin to experience memory loss, and where do children have opportunities to share and discuss their confusion, worries, and feelings?
In their eighties, both of my parents suffered from dementia. Alzheimer’s, named for the German physician, Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who first identified the brain disorder that now bears his name, is the most common form of dementia. Not a normal part of aging, Alzheimer’s is regularly in the news, since an estimated 5.8 million Americans are confronting this disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
I was encouraged to write this book by my sister, Stella Henry, who cared for our parents at the end of their lives. For over thirty years, as a nurse, administrator, and co-owner of a nursing home, she helped thousands of families deal with challenging health issues.
Caring adults know that children are capable of compassion and thoughtfulness. A few reminders:
I often smile at many happy memories of my parents and think of my teasing dad and my mom’s fabulous laugh.