Ice Cream with Grandpa
A Loving Story for Kids About Alzheimer’s & Dementia
Written by Laura Smetana, Illustrated by Elisabete B. P. de Moraes
After his grandpa is diagnosed with dementia, a grandson discovers their special bond remains strong through a shared love of ice cream.
Ice Cream with Grandpa is a loving, tender picture book that gently explores the topics of dementia, aging, and loss. Written from a child’s point of view, it chronicles the changes in their relationship as his grandpa moves to assisted living, then memory care, and eventually hospice.
Based on the author’s own experience with her father and son, the engaging story and beautiful illustrations by Elisabete B. P. de Moraes addresses these challenging topics with a kind, age-appropriate approach that will resonate with young readers—while providing tools to help children maintain meaningful relationships with loved ones with the disease.
Includes a guide for parents on talking to kids about dementia, hospice, death, and grief written by expert on grief and loss, Diane Snyder Cowan, MA, MT-BC, CHPCA.
"A moving, effective resource for conversations in the face of dementia and loss." — Kirkus Reviews
"Smetana pulls from personal experience, as detailed in an author’s note, to deliver an approachable and realistic story brimming with well-researched, audience-conscious insight." — Publisher's Weekly
2023 Firebird Book Award Winner - Children's Grief/Death
2022 Northern Lights Book Award Winner - Health Category
2022 Maxy Award Children's Book Runner-Up
Praise for Ice Cream with Grandpa
“Smetana's vocabulary and descriptions seem true to a kid's experience, and the evenhanded story, which never denies emotions like sadness and frustration, is grounded in kindness... The soft-edged, watercolor illustrations by de Moraes feature images of comfort and community; even in the difficult moments, there's a sense of love in the scenes. While discussions about illness and death are always challenging, the author's approach broaches the topics with care and sympathy. A moving, effective resource for conversations in the face of dementia and loss.”
"Smetana pulls from personal experience, as detailed in an author's note, to deliver an approachable and realistic story brimming with well-researched, audience-conscious insight."
“As a child therapist and parent, I am grateful for this important resource. Through a beautiful story, Ice Cream with Grandpa acknowledges and validates a young child's experience of witnessing a beloved grandparent change through aging, dementia, and dying, and it supports and provides space for all of the emotions within the process. I appreciate the way the book also honors and celebrates that in the midst of all of the changes, the connection between the child and grandparent endures, artfully balancing grief and resiliency in a developmentally accessible way.”
—Stacey Patterson, LCPC, MT-BC, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Music Therapist
“This book will provide other families and children guidance during their journey of understanding the disease process and how to ‘enter into their world.’ We can’t change the trajectory of dementia, but we can support all loved ones, patients, and families on their journey, even if it is as simple as sharing a love for ice cream. Beautifully written, with amazing illustrations. The added guide on how to talk to children is such a wonderful resource…for adults too! ”
—Coni Nielson, APN, ACHPN, Advanced Certified Hospice & Palliative Nurse
“Dementia, sickness, and death are challenging topics for children, who often have difficulty processing much smaller changes than these. Focusing on shared memories and experiences, Ice Cream with Grandpa helps readers understand change as something that can be managed and adapted to rather than as something to fight against. At the same time, it provides readers with a preview of what they might expect if a grandparent develops dementia and offers a model for coping with grief and loss through emotional intelligence.”
—The Children's Book Review
Children’s Book author encourages honesty for families facing dementia together - Alzheimer's Association Illinois Chapter
Laura Smetana Discusses Ice Cream with Grandpa: A Loving Story for Kids about Alzheimer’s and Dementia - The Children's Book Review