Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Book Review: 'My Dad/Mum/Gran/Grandad has Parkinson's'

Parkinson’s UK asked me to review a set of four little books for children. I cannot class myself as a ‘book reviewer’ apart from a few thoughts on Goodreads and occasionally on Amazon, but I was very pleased to do this.

My Dad has Parkinson’s - by Virginia Ironside
 - the same format is followed for Mum, Gran and Grandad

written by Virginia Ironside and illustrated by Matthew Dodd

These beautifully illustrated and written books are designed to help explain to a young child what Parkinson’s is all about, if their Mum, Dad, Gran or Grandad has it.

Using everyday situations to which a child can easily relate, they are matter-of-fact and pitched perfectly for the 3 – 7 age bracket. However, some adults could also pick up insights and tips they may have missed.
It cannot be overstated why these little books are so very important and why they can make such a difference. Many adjectives are used to describe Parkinson’s but words that often come up to convey how someone feels are, ‘lonely’, ‘isolated’ and ‘excluded’. The really good news is that something can be done about that!
Friends and family members can overcome embarrassment, or even fear, if they understand, enabling them to empathise and give appropriate support. Likewise, it goes without saying that young children play a vital, emotional role in family life and for them to keep a warm and loving relationship with their parents and grandparents is a key ingredient for happiness, on all sides.
These books may bridge barriers, pre-empt misunderstandings and reassure, written and illustrated to enable a child to learn about what may be happening to their Mum, Dad, Gran or Grandad. Children are then more likely to observe and take an active interest, too.
Beautifully put together and deceptively simple. Easy to read, but maybe not so easy to write, to get it just right! Job done!
They are free to download as a pdf from Parkinson's UK and to order as books here

The society approached me, firstly because I once worked for it, in the community supporting people with Parkinson’s and their carers, and secondly, because there is a key character in Shades of Appley Green who has the condition.
 ‘In helping a once famous, elderly architect with Parkinson’s regain a social life, Steph finds herself taking personal risks, fending off objections, blind to danger. We wait for the moment when it dawns on Steph what is driving her deep-seated obsession; for only then can she find the happiness she deserves.’
Review in The Parkinson magazine
Shades of Appley Green, an English village novel is available from Amazon as paperback and on Kindle 


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