Thursday, June 12, 2014

Book Review: The Graduation of Jake Moon

Barbara Parks writes fiction for youth, and one of her novels helped my friend's granddaughter deal with her grandfather's Alzheimer's. Sally's granddaughter wrote:

Jake's grandfather used to be the man of the household. When the third day of the third grade comes, Jake gets unfortunate news about his grandfather being diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. 
Jake has called his grandfather Skelly since he was a little boy and he quickly realizes that things aren't going to be the same. Things just got worse and worse for them. Sometimes Skelly wasn't even aware of his surroundings and becomes more and more depressed. Jake started to disengage from his own social life. Jake describes Alzheimer's in three different stages: 1) sad; 2) sadder; and 3) the saddest thing you would ever see.  
Jake and his family had many ups and downs (mostly downs) when they found out about Skelly's disease. Then, however, they become more caring and loving than ever before. 

 My friend Sally wrote:

The book was especially appropriate for middle school aged children. The book didn't explain the medical details of A.D. (the book is fiction), but my granddaughter, aged 12, often would identify with Jake's feelings of embarrassment of Grandpa. She would say this sounds like something grandpa would do.

I would highly recommend this book. It kept my granddaughter's interest, was a fast read and written for the age group of 11-14. Often I had given my granddaughter books and articles about A. D. so she could understand the disease and its effect on her grandpa who is in the middle stage. What I had given her didn't keep her interest like this book. 

Google it or ask your public librarian to get it for a summer read or listen.  Special thanks to the Media Specialist at a Plant City middle school who pointed out this book, and of course to "Sally" and her granddaughter who share this journey of caregiving for grandfather "Jake"* with us.

*"Sally and Jake" are not my friends' real names. The grandson in the book is also named "Jake".

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a good book for kids/young teens dealing with a loved one with Alzheimer's. Its got to be hard for them to comprehend things going on with the changes they see in their grandparents. I know when my husband's mom was suffering from the dementia from Parkinson's, my son was old enough (young 20s) to grasp that it was the disease affecting her brain, nothing he had done, etc. I can imagine a younger child would have thoughts if they had done something that caused this, etc. Good review!