Weeds in Nana's Garden: Teaching Kids About Alzheimer's (With a FREEBIE!)

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When a loved one is diagnosed with such a complicated disease, it can be especially hard on the little ones who have no way of grasping what is going on. This is certainly so when it comes to the symptoms of diseases like Alzheimer's and Dementia. 
In Kathryn Harrison's book, "Weeds in Nana's Garden" , she does an amazing job of illustrating the the effects of Alzheimer's on a loved one, in a way that anyone can truly understand. 

Through vivid and colorful illustrations (seriously, there is NO white space in this book. It's absolutely breathtaking.), she tells the story of a granddaughter realizing that beloved Nana is going through some serious changes.

"Weeds in Nana's Garden" is a real story of hope in the midst of a heartbreaking trial.

I pray that you will never need such a resource, but if you're ever stuck trying to show or explain to your children why grandma doesn't recognize them, or why grandpa seems more forgetful than usual-this is a beautiful tool to use.


-Tell us a little about yourself, Kathryn, and your decision to write a children's book:

I hold a blend of science, marketing and art skills – I earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Biology, an MBA in Marketing, followed by working for over a decade as a Communications Professional before gaining a Diploma in Fine Art and working as a commercial artist. This eclectic mix has served me well to be able to write and illustrate a story about a complex brain disease.

I was compelled to create this work after my mother's passing from dementia in 2010. I knew I had to do something to help – something to foster understanding and provide much needed support to families enduring the hardship that is dementia. I noticed how much involving my children added value to my experience so decided to create an engaging picture book that would facilitate reaching many children, thus helping many families. And to extend my reach further, I am contributing part of the book's proceeds to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, an organization that supported me greatly during my mom's illness.

-What was your favorite part of the whole experience?

This was a labor of love, so it is difficult to pick a "favorite" part. I really appreciated the two sessions I had with 9 year old children early on, where we discussed the book and I collected both their feedback and their questions about dementia diseases. I also enjoyed painting the expressions of the characters. It was really fun finding places to hide the fairies and the cat on each illustration too. But I think what I've loved most of all is, recently, hearing from people who have read the book and shared how it has touched them and made a positive difference in their lives.

-Anything that you would change or do differently?

I didn't allow for enough time to get the colors right when printing the book. Because color plays such an important part in the illustrations, I would have preferred having more time to work through the nuances of printing those colors with the different printers and papers. It was rushed and some of the results are not as "perfect" as I would have liked.

-Will you be writing anything more, or do you currently have something in the works?

On the book side, I'm in the process of getting the book translated and then published into other languages. I would really like to reach more people and I can do that by making it available in French and Spanish. On the art side, I'm working with the Alzheimer Society of Canada on an exciting project where I am collaging beautiful art pieces my mom created while she had dementia into a larger artwork.

-Links to purchase your book:

In Hardcover, you can purchase the book direct from the book's site: http://weedsinnanasgarden.com

In Softcover, it is available at several online retailers including http://amazon.com and http://barnesandnoble.com

-How to keep up with you:

To keep up with my work, you can visit my website, http://kathrynharrison.ca or also follow me on Instagram for some behind-the-scenes views, @kathryn.harrison.art

Thank you so much for Kathryn for the beautiful work you are doing on behalf of those struggling with the detrimental effects of this disease. You are such a blessing, and I am honored to have the opportunity to work with you!

Kathryn has also been kind enough to provide a few coloring sheets for the kiddos to go along with the book!! You can download them HERE.



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