Yawg Daim Paj Ntaub Dab Neeg
by Linda Gerdner and Sarah Langford • illustrated by Stuart Loughridge
2009 • Shen's Books • Ages 4-8 • Picture Book
Presented bilingually in English and Hmong, Grandfather's Story Cloth allows children and their loved ones not only to gain an understanding of Alzheimer's Disease, but also to share in the simplest act of pleasure and love -- that of reading together.
Story: Chersheng's grandfather is beginning to forget things...little tings like turning off the water faucet and big things like Chersheng's name. Chersheng feels sad and helpless when he learns that Grandfather has Alzheimer's Disease, but then Chersheng's mother presents him with a story cloth stitched by Grandfather himself, embroidered in the Hmong tradition. Through the story cloth, Grandfather's memories of his life in Laos come alive. And inspired by Grandfather's tales about his life before the war forced him to immigrate to America, Chersheng comes up with a plan to capture his family's new life with his own art project. This way, they can all remember that their love is stronger than Alzheimer's disease, no matter which country they live in.
Story behind the story: Author Linda Gerdner talks about the origins of the story: In 2002, I visited a northern province of Laos, where I had the unique opportunity to participate in the daily life of the people living in a Hmong village. There, and in the U.S., I learned that elders often lived in the home of a married son who had children of his own. These grandchildren often had difficulty understanding the progressive memory and behavioral changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease in their grandparents. I saw a need for a culturally meaningful picture book for Hmong-American children and their families to promote understanding and awareness of Alzheimer’s disease.
The story was written based on general themes from my research findings. For example, caring for an elder is generally viewed as being reciprocal of the love and care that the elder had provided to the younger generation of family members. Caregivers preserve these values for future generations by serving as role models. Grandfather’s Story Cloth was written to mirror these values. The book also introduces the idea of using a story cloth to stimulate Grandfather’s remote memory in an effort to promote understanding and communication between Chersheng and his grandfather. It was our desire to create a book that would be meaningful, educational, empowering and one that the community would also be proud of."
AWARD RECOGNITION FOR GRANDFATHER'S STORY CLOTH:
2009 NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book
2009 Mom's Choice Award
2009 Moonbeam Award Silver Medal
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