Special Delivery by Jonathan Meres illustrated by Hannah Coulson – Dementia in children’s books

A book about finding friendship in unlikely places, this gentle story focusing on helping others, provides a kind and thoughtful look at dementia and is suitable for younger readers.

Frank would like a new bike. Unfortunately it is not Christmas or his birthday so he has a problem. He needs to start saving! His older sister, Lottie, suggests that Frank helps her with her paper round to earn some money to put towards the bike of his dreams. When he starts his early morning routine he makes an unexpected new friend. Mary is an old lady who wears a cowboy hat and boots and sometimes seems a little forgetful and confused. When she is in trouble Frank is there to lend a hand.

Although dementia is never specifically mentioned this book successfully introduces this difficult subject to younger readers in an accessible and understated manner. Many children will, sadly, know of someone, possibly grandparents, who have some form of dementia and books can be a very useful way of prompting discussion and understanding. Special Delivery will enable this to happen. I liked the kindness shown in the story by the different characters including Frank’s sister and Mary’s son. A short story told with understanding, this would be a useful addition to primary school bookshelves.

Special Delivery is a book in the brilliant Little Gems series for children aged 5-8 published by Barrington Stoke and is presented in a super readable format meaning it is dyslexia friendly too. Perfect for both newly confident readers and those who prefer a shorter read, it would also work as a read aloud for younger children.

Thank you to Kirstin Lamb and Barrington Stoke for sending me my free review copy. Special Delivery is published on 15th June.

Dementia can be a difficult subject to talk about with children and teens but some organisations have put together lists of books that may help young readers understand and prompt discussion with adults. Here are a few you may find helpful.

Alzheimer’s Society – Recommended books about dementia for children and adults

Book Trust – this well known charity have produced a useful list Books on Dementia

Young Dementia UK – this charity assists people affected by young onset dementia Books for Children

The website, www.dementiaexplained.org , provides child-friendly dementia information focusing on the ways people with dementia can change and the effect this can have on families. By bringing together a range of resources including stories narrated by the broadcaster Edith Bowman, videos and interactive games, the site allows young people to discover more about the brain, how it is affected by diseases like Alzheimer’s and share their experiences to help others.

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