Saturday, August 13, 2016

Blog Tour: What a Beautiful Morning by Arthur A. Levine, illustrated by Katie Kath

Noah loves to spend his summer days with his Grandpa.  Together, they sing each beautiful morning in with a big, booming song.  Then, after bringing Grandma a hot cup of coffee, they take the dog out for a long walk, rain or shine, singing the whole way. When they come home, there's cinnamon French toast, thanks to Grandma. And after breakfast, Grandpa always asks Noah the same question: "what's on the docket" for the rest of the day.

But one morning, Grandpa forgets how to cut his French toast, followed by more and more forgotten things, until one day, Grandpa doesn't even remember who Noah is and the time Noah and Grandpa spend together is changed forever.  But thanks to wise Grandma, the good days aren't completely over once she tells Noah that they must learn to appreciate what Grandpa still has, not what he has lost.

And Noah discovers just how he and Grandpa can connect with each other again - by singing big, booming songs together.

Like so many kids nowadays, Noah is learning how to accept that fact that his Grandpa is suffering from memory loss, most likely Alzheimer's though nothing specific is mentioned, and that forgetting is going to happen more and more frequently, even forgetting a beloved grandchild.  This has to be a difficult thing for a child to understand, especially one who is used to seeing a grandparent who is active, happy and loving.

What a Beautiful Morning is a well-done book that doesn't shy away from the reality of what a memory loss disease like Alzheimer's can do to an older person and how it impacts those around them.  I think Arthur Levine has really captured Grandpa's confusion when he wakes up and doesn't know who Noah is and Noah's despair as he runs out of the house "breathing hard, a painful lump in his throat."

Illustrations should always reflect what the text says and Katie Kath's line and watercolor illustrations are a beautiful melding of word and picture from beginning to end.  Kath captures the joy that a smiling Noah and Grandpa feel when things are going well in her colorful illustrations and the sadness they both feel when Grandpa doesn't remember things in her black, white and gray illustrations giving the sense that all the joy has drained out of their lives.

What a Beautiful Morning is a lovely and sad book, but it is a story that needs to be told to young readers so that they may understand should their lives ever be impacted by a grandparent's memory loss, and/or feel empathy should one of their friends be in a position like Noah.  But whether you can relate to Noah or Grandpa or not, it is a book that should be read by everyone.

Alzheimer's directly impacted Arthur A. Levine life when his father was diagnosed with it.  It is one of the reason's this book feels so authentic, rather than a story from his imagination.  And he has posted some very useful and important Alzheimer's Resources on his blog to help you and your family understand and deal with this disease better.  You can find them HERE

This book is recommended for readers age 4+
This book was sent to me by the publisher, Running Press

Be sure to visit these other stop of the What A Beautiful Morning Blog Tour:
8/3 MomReadIt
8/11 Bildebok
8/13 Randomly Reading

1 comment:

  1. Hello Alex, what a beautiful review, I had tears in my eyes as I read it. My father suffered from Alzheimer's. It was heartbreaking to watch a man who knew everything (or so it seemed when I was a child) forget to tie his shoelaces and be unable to button up his coat. It was even more heartbreaking when he no longer knew who I was. I forget lots of things these days as does my husband, but we are keeping fit and active and crossing our fingers and toes!


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