Category Archives: Reading together

Books by Emma Rose Sparrow

Emma Rose SparrowEmma Rose Sparrow saw a need for books designed for people with cognitive problems when both of her parents were diagnosed with dementia. She believed these books should be formatted for easy reading, depending on the reader’s abilities. And they should look like regular books the reader would be proud to own. She has written and self-published 20 books for people with dementia. You’ll find them all on Emma’s Amazon page.

Emma defined three levels for her books. The Sandy Shoreline is an example of Level 3. It’s a 7 chapter story in just 44 pages. It features large print, extra space between sentences, and color photos throughout. Other titles in the Level 3 series are What the Wind Showed to Me, A Dusting of Snow, Three Things, Autumn’s Display, and Down by the Meadow.

Books in Level 2 place more emphasis on photos and less on words. The books in this series focus on colors. In A Year’s Worth of Yellow each page is independent of the others and includes a color picture with 1 or 2 short sentences to describe it. Other books in the Level 2 series are A Potpourri of Pink, A Parcel of Purple, An Ocean of Orange, A Gathering of Green, A Reservoir of Red, A World of White, and A Bevy of Blue.

Level 1 books are for readers who can no longer read words, but enjoy holding and paging through books. They’re picture books for adults. The titles in this series are The Splendor of Footbridges, The Splendor of Birds, The Splendor of Mother & Child Animals, The Splendor of Window Boxes, The Splendor of Babies, and The Splendor of Forests.


Pictures to Share

Pictures to ShareBritish publisher Pictures to Share started offering books for dementia patients in 2005. Their research showed that people with dementia gradually lose the ability to read traditional books, magazines and newspapers because of the complicated layouts and small print. So they developed a series of books with pictures and short texts on a variety of topics. Some of the pictures are photographs while others are paintings and drawings.

There are 18 books in the Pictures to Share catalog, with titles like Family Life, Childhood Days, and In the Garden. The pictures and text in these books are intended to spark conversation and laughter. For example, in paging through Spending Time Indoors I came across a picture of an old man with a child. The text says “My grandkids believe I’m the oldest thing in the world. And after two or three hours with them, I believe it too.”

People with dementia can enjoy the Pictures to Share books by themselves, with a loved one, or in a group setting. Excellent!

Shadowbox Press offers books for dementia patients

Shadowbox PressWhen I started this blog, I thought there weren’t any books written for dementia patients. I was wrong. My most recent discovery is Shadowbox Press, a company that specializes in books and activity cards for memory impaired adults.

There are eight books in the series: Flowers, America, Bible Verses, Dogs and Puppies, Colors, Seasons, Fun and Games, and Wild Animals. Each 64 page book includes photographs paired with brief text in large print. In addition, each book includes conversation starters and activities related to the book’s subject matter.

The conversation starters are a mix of closed- and open-ended questions. For example, some of the questions in Flowers are “Have you ever grown peonies?”, “What flowers do you like in a bouquet?”, and “Have you ever been a member of a garden club?”

The activities are designed to encourage mental and physical engagement. Some suggested activities in Flowers include inspecting flowers with a magnifying glass, moisturizing hands with floral-scented lotion, and making pressed flowers.

Matt Schneider, the owner of Shadowbox Press, says his company measures their success in both customer feedback and sales figures. “The feedback we have receive from individuals and caregivers for adults living with mid and late stage dementia, has been very positive,” Matt said.

In addition to books, Shadowbox Press offers Conversation Card sets designed to promote opportunities to reminisce, recall special memories, and share stories. The three available card sets are titled Familiar Words, Nostalgic Items, and Words for Guys.

Shadowbox Press books are priced at $19.95 and the card sets at $29.95. Discounts are available when you order multiple books and/or cards. Matt noted that many libraries across the country have ordered sets of the activity books. “For individuals who don’t have the means to purchase the books, they can request their local library to buy the set of Shadowbox Press books for their community to share,” Matt said. I plan to look into this with my library.

Matt says the company introduced a new deck of Conversation Cards in early January, 2017. They might be adding new books in the future too, but nothing is planned at this time. I hope they do!

Anne Geddes’ books for reading aloud

Little BlessingsAnne Geddes is widely known as a photographer who specializes in images of babies in imaginative settings. As Anne’s website notes, her “…imagery singularly captures the beauty, purity and vulnerability of children embodying her deeply held belief that each and every child must be protected, nurtured and loved.”

Some of Anne’s books are excellent candidates for reading aloud with dementia patients. Little Blessings, for example, combines Anne’s photography with poetry and text that celebrate the blessings we receive with children.

My favorite image in Little Blessings shows sleeping twins with angel wings and the wish “May your day be filled with blessings, like the sun that lights the sky, and may you have the courage to spread your wings and fly.”

I brought a copy of Little Blessings with me when I visited Mom yesterday. She thoroughly enjoyed it. Highly recommended!