Blogging with Parkinson's

A personal perspective on Young Onset Parkinson's

Children’s Books about Parkinson’s (part 2)

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In my last post, I talked about explaining Parkinson’s to young children and discussed a couple of children’s books published by the charity Parkinson’s UK. I have been fortunate to have been loaned a couple of other books for children on the subject, and these are discussed below.

  • Rasheda Ali, the daughter of Muhammad Ali, has written an excellent reference work:

I’ll Hold Your Hand So You Won’t Fall: A Child’s Guide to Parkinson’s Disease"", by Rasheda Ali-Walsh

Although not close to her father at the time of his diagnosis at the age of 42, Rasheda has since become more involved in his life. This book was written, in part, to attempt to answer the questions that her own children had about their grandfather’s condition.

This book deals mainly with the more severe problems that Parkinson’s can cause. I do think that it does so very well, but I also think that it could be confusing and potentially scary for younger children who have only encountered the earlier symptoms. No age guidance is included, but I would guess that this book would come into its own for children aged 8 or older. To be honest, I imagine that it would also be useful for an adult.

There is a lovely interview with Rasheda here.

  • Kay Mixson Jenkins, who developed Parkinson’s at the age of 34, wrote her book, Who is Pee Dee, for her own four year old son.Amazon.com link

Who is Pee Dee?, by Kay Mixson Jenkins

Colt’s mother has Parkinson’s, but he doesn’t understand. He overhears the grownups talking about ‘PD’ (Parkinson’s Disease), and, somehow, his toy – a panda bear – becomes conflated with the condition. The toy comes to life and, without denying responsibility, explains some of the symptoms – which manifest as Pee Dee’s brightly coloured cousins – and describes how Colt can help his mother.

The reviews on Amazon.com are laudatory, but I have to say that I find this book a little confusing. It is a very imaginative way of dealing with the condition, and I must confess that I have not yet read the book to either of my children, but I am not sure how they will take it.
*See my comment below*

I’ll also admit – and I feel slightly embarrassed by this, because I don’t think it should matter at all – to disliking the illustrations. They are bright and colourful, and maybe it is only me who is bothered by the squashed faces, stiff figures and general awkwardness.

Note: The edition that I have to hand has a Web address on the back: www.whoispeedee.com but, sadly, it seems that the site no longer exists.

Additional Note (post script): A Web edition of the book, read by a lady with an English accent, is available as a resource at the pan-European site, Parkinson’s Voices.

While researching this post, I also came across another children’s book, entitled “The Tale of a Parkie Princess” by Annie Konopka. Edit: You can read my review of that book here.

I really ought to steel myself to reading some of these books with my children. I think I’ll find it harder than they will.

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One thought on “Children’s Books about Parkinson’s (part 2)

  1. I read “Who is Pee Dee” to both of my children yesterday, separately. Neither seemed concerned that the toy was apparently causing the mother’s illness. Neither were confused. They both seemed to ‘get’ it, and to like the story. My 4-year-old daughter (who had more time than her 6-year-old brother) even asked to look at the book by herself. I think she liked the pictures of the ‘cousins’.

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