Wednesday, April 28, 2010

An Important Children's Book about Dealing with Alzheimer's and the Giveaway Details to Win a Copy

I am just back from vacation and I’m ready to blog! My husband, Hugh and I have vacationed at the same resort several times and one of the things we enjoy is having a drink at the Piano Bar after dinner. In a light conversation when I mentioned The Grandma Chronicles the piano player said that I had to meet Grandma Joyce who had written a book to help children understand Alzheimer’s Disease. Later – at 3 a.m. - he emailed me the url for Grandma Joyce’s website.

I did a little research and realized that Joyce Simard is an internationally renowned Alzheimer’s expert. I sent her an email hoping we could meet while I was there on vacation and she responded that she was in Hawaii giving presentations on Alzheimer’s and would be home on the last night of our vacation. We met at the Piano Bar and with both of our husbands began a wonderful new friendship. Tom, the piano player was pleased.

Grandma Joyce brought me two signed copies of her book, The Magic Tape Recorder and I am giving one away. The details of the giveaway are at the end of this post – so stay with me.

The Magic Tape Recorder is a beautifully illustrated book which will help a child understand any older person in their life – a grandparent, great grandparent, aunt, uncle, neighbor or friend. It begins by chronicling (I could not resist using this word) the types of things we can do when we grow up and then the changes that can happen when you begin to “grow down” – needing glasses and a cane, poor hearing and how you might help to make it easier. The book then moves on to discuss Alzheimer’s and the loss of memory. Joyce describes memory as a “magic tape recorder in your head” and how it is almost turned off when you have Alzheimer’s. She discusses how a child can still enjoy the company of a grandparent and how you might help them by saying your name and reminding them about other things. Most of all, you can still have fun with them even if they don’t remember everything.

My mother’s long time friend and second husband was blind. This book reminded me so much of how even when my children were very young we encouraged them to show Michael their toys and explain things so that he could enjoy them too. They were always proud of themselves when they could see he understood how things worked when they showed them to him and helped him touch whatever they were talking about. I believe this was a very enriching experience for my children – to be comfortable with someone with a disability and be helpful and respectful at the same time. Children take great pride in their accomplishments and this book will guide a child in how they can help an older person have a more enjoyable visit with them – and they will feel good about it too.

Joyce’s book really struck me as a must have book for children who know older people with Alzheimer’s. It both colorfully and eloquently explains a difficult to understand situation and can equip children with ideas for working with it. You can purchase this book at Grandma Joyce’s website or at See the direct link below for Amazon.

Giveaway Information – Important Details –Easy to Enter
All you have to do to enter to win is leave a comment on this blog. Post your email address or if you prefer, send me your email address and let me know the name you posted as. If you post anonymously I have no way of knowing who you are so make sure you check back on May 13th to see the announcement of the winner. My email address is: You will get an additional entry if you tweet on Twitter about this giveaway and then leave a comment on the blog letting me know the Twitter link for the tweet. I will contact you via email if you win to get your mailing address. Your address information will not be publicly posted. will be used to select the winner randomly. Good Luck and please participate.

The deadline to enter to win a copy of The Magic Tape Recorder is May 12th - so enter today! Remember this is an autographed copy!

Thank you Grandma Joyce for writing this book and sharing it with us. Thank you Tom for connecting us. I have not received compensation for this review. Any product review I do on this blog is an honest evaluation of my personal opinion. I do not review products favorably for compensation.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Celebrate Earth Day with Your Grandchildren

April 22nd is Earth Day – the 40th anniversary of this annual celebration. There wasn’t any Earth Day when I was a kid and it was still something new when my kids were in school. It usually fell during their Spring vacation and there wasn’t really any big deal at school. One year we were on vacation in Arizona and I think I remember there being some local events there.

Much has changed in 40 years – including how big a deal Earth Day is. There will be many a tree planted and especially designed learning programs at schools. Every museum and zoo will have special programs. Our nearby Turtle Back Zoo is having a “Party for the Planet” on Saturday. Indeed the celebrations will extend throughout the weekend.

This is a good time for us to consider doing some Earth Day activity with our grandchildren. Go ahead show them that us old folks care about the planet too. You can do something simple or elaborate – depending on what you are up to. Here are some ideas:

-Plant something together - vegetables, flowers, a tree

-Make a list taking turns of the things you do to “help save the planet.” (I am particularly proud of the 8 green bags I take to the grocery store.)

-Check out the local Earth Day celebrations in your town and at museums and zoos and take you grandchild to one of them.

-Take you grandchild to a local farmer’s market and discuss the value of buying locally grown food.

-Do an art project together using recycled materials.

-If you are really into it discuss how you and your child might participate in an advocacy project or a park or river cleanup day.

This is just a short list to get your creative juices going. You can visit and find out whatever you would like to know about Earth Day. You can even put in your zipcode and get a list of local events.

I hope you’ll leave a comment and share your Earth Day ideas and activities with us.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Just Some Musings While on Vacation

I haven’t posted here in a while since I have been away for most of April. In early April my husband and I drove to Atlanta from New Jersey so that I could attend the National Nonprofit Technology Conference. I had a great time and learned a lot that will be helpful in my work as a consultant to nonprofits – something I do when I’m not “grandmothering.” We also visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Museum – visiting presidential museums is something we are doing – at the rate of one a year. From Atlanta we drove to Florida where we still are on vacation.

That is why I haven’t posted in a while. I don’t have any current pictures of Zach on my laptop but I couldn't resist using this one that is about two months old. Isn’t he sooooo cute!

We really miss our grandson, Zach – and our children too, of course. But we don’t expect that our kids have changed much since we’ve been gone. We will be home in time for Sunday family dinner. My daughter offered to cook but I think we may just barbecue if the weather is nice. And we will be playing with Zach. I can’t wait for that – otherwise this time in the sun has been relaxing and wonderful.

Here on vacation I mentioned to the Piano Bar piano player The Grandma Chronicles and he told me about “Grandma Joyce” who has written a book for children about dealing with grandparents who have Alzheimer’s disease. To my surprise he emailed me Grandma Joyce’s website and I learned that she is a notable authority on this subject. I sent her an email and she is on her way back from Hawaii as I write this where she spoke at an Alzheimer’s conference. We hope to meet briefly before I leave to return to NJ and she plans to give me a copy of her book. Hopefully my review will be up next week. Some of you may be interested in this so check back next week.

Next week is a busy one as I will be attending the Spring Time to Play showcase in NY where I will be meeting with toy companies and get a hands-on look at their new toys. Look for my reviews in the next couple of months. They will all be from a grandparent perspective.

One more vacation day and then we hit the road.