Some books can make you glad, and some can make you sad…yet few can make you sad and glad at the same time. I Remember does this and that is why it is so special. Whenever a person reads anything, their experience of it is wrapped up in their own life. As a tear rolled down my cheek, I smiled at the thought of a child’s lived experience being there on the pages in my hand. Knowing that your life is shared by others is sometimes all the support someone needs.
Kathleen answers her door. Stood there is a little boy in his blue coat, a visitor there to chat. Kathleen doesn’t quite remember when the boy last came, nor where she put the biscuits. However, she does feel comfortable with the boy as he reminds her of her grandson. The way the boy brings joy and care into Kathleen’s world is a joy to be seen and this is how Jeanne Willis elevates the story into something special. Life is all about the little moments and this book shines a light on those moments.
The gentle, traditional illustrations are perfect for the story and Raquel Catalina creates a timeless day’s play in Autumn that is so inviting. Throughout the story, Kathleen’s facial expressions convey the inner turmoil – joy, confusion, fear and relief – in such a subtle manner and that can happen when an artist is as skilled as this.
Now for the teacher bit. Dementia cases have increased over time and this pattern seems set to continue. As a result, more and more families will have to adjust to life with a loved one who needs care and consideration due to the condition. Schools need to help children be prepared to accept what are truly trying times, and this book is a great way to do that.
A beautiful book that brings tears from your heart.