Hello, and welcome back to Promote Me Please. Today, we meet author Karen Tyrrell who talks about her new book,
Harry Helps Grandpa Remember.
Scroll down after the interview to read more about Karen's blog tour, more about the book, and to enter a giveaway.
Q.1. The first children's book I remember reading about short term memory loss was Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge. I thought then, and still think now; this is a horribly difficult subject to tackle because any recovery of memory is necessarily of very short duration.
How did you address this problem in
A.1. As dementia can advance at different speeds for individuals, Harry is aimed at families where it’s still possible to communicate with the affected member, and reassure children to not be afraid of such behaviour and not to give up trying to interact and communicate, and be more patient and open.
I showed the realism of dementia through my Grandpa’s character depicting his emotional and behavioural state. At the same time I showed how we can treat our loved-ones with respect, humour, compassion and a sense of hope.
Q.2. How did the idea of writing Harry Helps Grandpa Remember come to you?
A.2. Harry Helps Grandpa Remember is based on my experiences caring for my dad with memory loss and my father-in-law with Alzheimer’s using coping skills. Harry shows how Grandpa improved his functionality and felt better about himself. These tried-and-true practical coping skills and memory boosters are highlighted throughout the book. Strategies which improve well-being and quality of life. My young nephews use these same strategies with their Grandpa when they visit too.
Q.3. How did you settle on the level for the book? It's the kind of subject that could slot in at any level from picture book right up through YA.
A.3. I wanted to pitch at an age-level reaching a wide cross section of the community. I chose a picture book to deliver a visual and emotional message in partnership with the text. The positive messages are as much for adults as they are for children. I’ve included a teacher section on preventative brain health as well as tips on slowing down the dementia process.
Q4. Did you choose your own illustrator and, if so, how did you go about the selection process?
A.4. I chose my own illustrator, Aaron Pocock, who I worked with on another picture book Bailey Beats the Blah coping skills to lift a child’s mood. I won a RADF grant through Arts Queensland and Logan City Council. Aaron’s illustrations are bright, bold, super appealing to kids with almost a 3D effect.
Q5. In your opinion, how far should we go in realism in a difficult subject like this one? I've noted that most literature for public consumption (that is, not specifically for those families affected) soft-pedals the whole issue...
A.5. In Harry Helps Grandpa Remember I show Grandpa’s emotional and behavioural state before and after dementia developed as a well as the effect of coping strategies have on his overall quality of life. Grandpa’s dementia symptoms are shown realistically by his actions, emotions and words i.e. his grumpiness, forgetfulness and lethargy. Without giving away the ending, there is an overwhelming message of the importance of family relationships, love and hope.
Thank you Karen for your thoughtful replies to our questions. Promote Me Please wishes you well with your new title, and tips a metaphorical hat to you for tackling a difficult subject with grace and dignity.
Now read on for news on the other stops in the tour. Remember, you can catch up with earlier stops as well as the later ones.
Harry Helps Grandpa Remember Blog Tour
WOOHOO! Harry Helps Grandpa Remember is now on Amazon world-wide as a print Book and as an eBook.
Harry is about the special love between a little boy and his grandpa who was Alzheimer’s. Harry will do ANYTHING to help his grandpa remember. A heart-warming story, full of humour and HOPE.
To celebrate, Harry will be visiting these sites:
Harry Helps Grandpa Remember Blog HOPS
23 June: Spilling Ink Interview http://ali-stegert.com/
24 June: Buzz Words Review http://diannedibates.blogspot.com.au/
25 June: Robyn Opie Interview www.robynopie.blogspot.com
25 June: Jackie Hosking Review www.jackiehoskingpio.wordpress.com
26 June: Blog on Author Platform http://charmaineclancy.com/
29 June: Sally Odgers interview http://promotemeplease.blogspot.com.au
30 June: Jill Smith Review https://authorjillsmith.wordpress.com
30 June: June Perkins Interview http://gumbootspearlz.org/
1 July Dimity Review http://dimswritestuff.blogspot.com.au/
Blog Tour Book GiveawayPlease leave a comment on any of the sites above for a chance to win a signed print copy or 5 eCopies of Harry Helps Grandpa Remember. 6 Copies to be won. 6 Winners announced 3 July.