picture books for those with dementia

I started this list on behalf of Lynn's request, from the Fiction_L mailing list:

"I'm looking for suggestions of picture books to read to someone who is in the latter stages of dementia.

Qualities that seem to appeal are:

-a simple, straightforward storyline (not abstract metaphor or literary devices)
-simple and straightforward sentences
-a little humor
-not a lot of text
-a familiar story (folktale or fairytales)
-a story that depicts aspects of daily life (cooking, sewing, farming, animals, gardening, taking care of a child or someone who is ill)
-beautiful illustrations are a plus (pictures that you can dwell on and talk about)

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Lynn Palmer
Reference Librarian
Davenport Public Library - "Imagine the Possibilities"

I have also decided to allow media that are not picture-books, so long as I decide they fit. Please, go ahead and add picture books that you're confident belong on the list, and please PM me if you want to add anything else (or suggest it in the comments).

There are more ideas in the comments, so I recommend you read them.
I also have been informed of this list: http://libguides.davenportlibrary.com...
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31 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Cheryl 11147 books
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Michelle 2012 books
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More voters…


Comments Showing 1-21 of 21 (21 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Kat (new)

Kat My Mom suffered from Alzheimer's. I got a picture book from an alphabet series about her native Newfoundland. It was called P is for Puffin: a Newfoundland and Labrador Alphabet. She enjoyed hearing about her native country and even remembered some of the things mentioned in the book. There are many different titles in this series such as: M is for Melody: a Music Alphabet or H is for Home Run: a Baseball Alphabet.


message 2: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl I'll add a couple of them, thanks!


message 3: by Jen (new)

Jen Thank you for this list!


message 4: by Kat (new)

Kat Why not use some of the book/CD songbook sets that are out there? Some suggestions: Ringo's new Octopus's Garden; Sunshine On My Shoulders, John Denver; Puff the Magic Dragon, Peter Yarrow. There are many. Also, find picture books and get the recordings: Summertime from Porgy and Bess, George Gershwin; What a Wonderful World, George David Weiss and Bob Thiele; Over the Rainbow (there's a book/CD of this one sung by Joni Mitchell I believe. Maybe the original by Judy Garland would be more apropos for seniors. The illustrations in this one are very modern!)


message 5: by Kat (new)

Kat One more comment: this truly is a great list. Thank you so much for compiling!


message 6: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl You're welcome. I hope ppl who need more ideas see your commented suggestions - they look apt, too.


message 7: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl I've heard that music does really ease the confusion and distress of people w/ Alzheimer's. Familiar favorites seem to be most effective at opening a window of lucidity.


message 8: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl I've been informed that some challenged readers like the I Spy books, so I added some titles that seemed especially likely to jog the nostalgic memories, or funny-bones, of seniors.


message 9: by Kat (new)

Kat This is a great idea! Thanks for passing it on.


message 10: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Everyone, please spread the word; I'm sure there are people who need these suggestions, and more books that should be listed!

Remember, it's not just seniors - young men who fell off their motorcycle may have entirely different interests, but still enjoy, perhaps even benefit, from books similar to these.


message 11: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Just about anything by Patricia Polacco or Cynthia Rylant would work, I'm sure. Don't forget the two series about adults by the latter, including: Mr. Putter & Tabby Pick the Pears and Poppleton.

I also imagine that any book about celebrating a holiday would help the audience remember their own family traditions and loved ones, and give them joy remembering and talking about same. Consider not just Christmas and Thanksgiving, but also Rosh Hashanah, Easter, Day of the Dead, etc.


message 12: by Dette (new)

Dette Around the Corner

Around the Corner by Bernadette Smallwood

This is a beautiful book about love and relationships. Written as a series of vignettes with illustrations, the key themes are love, relationships, ageing, dementia and aged care.


message 13: by N.A. (new)

N.A. Granger Darren Scanlon has written a number of children's stories in delightful poetry which I think with the rhythm and illustrations would be a fun read. I enjoy them!


message 14: by K. (new)

Caffee K. Lexa Harpell has at least one book published specifically for Alzheimers and dementia sufferers. "To Mum: Gifts of the Soul" was written for her own mother, who suffered with Alzheimers, and I know she was working on another one with the same theme for her father.


message 15: by Katie (new)

Katie Thank you so much for this list! It was so helpful in collecting some books for a library patron and her husband with dementia. They were so happy to have some good books on a rainy day!


message 16: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Oh, thank you for letting me know that it helped someone!


message 17: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Hello Lynn, I've added Inessential Things from Pictures to Share in the UK, and have commented in my review about my experience of using it with my father. If you are still on the lookout for books specifically designed with the criteria you have outlined, visit https://picturestoshare.co.uk/pages/info for more information. I can't recommend them highly enough.


message 18: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Not a picture book, but possibly of value to some users of this list: Creating Moments of Joy for the Person with Alzheimer's or Dementia: A Journal for Caregivers.


message 19: by Anita (new)

Anita I read the book Coat of Many Colors by Dolly Parton (Author), Judith Sutton (Illustrator), to residents in the Memory Care Unit where I work. It really sparked a conversation about a quilt one gentleman's mother made.


message 20: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Fantastic, thank very much for sharing. Adding now!


message 21: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Not for the memory-challenged persons themselves, but for their families: The Remember Balloons.


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