Family love in the face of loss is poignantly shared by de Anda and Harris.
Luis, Mama, Papi, their dog, Sancho, and beloved Abuelo are one tight familia. When Luis gets home from school he spends the afternoons with Abuelo building models, learning to paint, and sharing stories alongside tasty snacks. As time passes, things begin to change. When Abuelo can no longer remember how to fit the models together, he and Luis can still paint side by side. When he forgets to turn off the stove, quesadillas transform into tasty PB&Js instead. But when Abuelo goes missing one day, it is clear things are changing quickly and will never be the same. What afflicts Abuelo is never explicitly identified as the story unfolds, tenderly told in simple first person from Luis’ innocent and loving perspective as he slowly confronts new symptoms of his grandfather’s progressive dementia. His mother gives Luis sage advice that even though Abuelo’s memory is slipping he will always feel Luis’ love. Though this is certainly a sweet sentiment, many dementia patients experience apathy and changes in personality along with their memory loss, so the truth of Mama’s words is somewhat in doubt. This is nevertheless a touching and well-told story of the heartbreak of memory loss through the lens of family-oriented Latino culture.
A lovely and needed story of familia in which love conquers loss. (Picture book. 4-7)