Striped Shirts and Flowered Pants: A Story About Alzheimer's Disease for Young Children
About this Program
The MSU Extension Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness for Children Storybook Program is designed to teach children about a form of dementia called Alzheimer’s disease.
The goals of the program are:
1) to increase awareness and knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease, and
2) to provide supportive resources to children and families when they have a loved one with the disease.
Authors of the reading guides are:
- Jennifer Munter, Volunteer Program Coordinator. Jennifer is a former Early Childhood Educator and has worked with children and their families for over 15 years.
- Marsha A. Goetting, MSU Extension Family Economics Specialist
Libby is a young girl who is worried when she notices her nana is having trouble reading and remembering things. Libby’s parents explain to her that Nana’s brain isn’t working right because she has Alzheimer’s disease. By gaining knowledge about this disease, Libby begins to understand what is happening to her nana. With her family’s love and reassurance Libby is able to find ways to interact with Nana that are positive. Libby continues doing all the things she and Nana love doing together.
Questions to Ask While Reading
- Page 7 - 8 & Page 10: Libby noticed Nana having trouble remembering things. What were some of the things her nana forgot?
- Page 12: Libby discovered that Nana has Alzheimer’s disease. What is Alzheimer’s disease?
- Page 13 - 15: After Libby found out her nana was having trouble remembering things? Did she think something was wrong with her own brain?
- Pages 17 - 18: What are some strange things Nana did that showed she had signs of Alzheimer’s disease?
- Page 21: Who does Libby go to when her nana gets mad at her for no reason?
- Pages 22 - 26: There are many activities you can do with someone who has Alzheimer’s disease. What were some of the activities Libby did with her nana?
- Sad: A child may feel sad when they see the changes that are happening in the person with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Confusion: A child may feel confused about the behavior they are seeing from the person with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Curious: A child may have a lot of questions about Alzheimer’s disease.
- Annoyance: A child may get annoyed with certain behaviors, like having to repeat things to the person with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Practice belly breathing: Have your child lay on his or her back, placing something on their tummy’s (like
a stuffed animal). Encourage them to take belly breaths and watch the object rise
and fall. Talk about how this can help when they are anxious, scared or mad.
- Catch and send: If your whole family can play, have them form a circle. Each person in the circle represents a brain cell and together make a healthy brain. Start by rolling a ball back and forth across the circle to one another. Then begin placing barriers in the middle of the circle until no one can successfully roll the ball. After your family is done playing, explain that the ball represented messages or thoughts and the barriers were Alzheimer’s disease. As the disease got bigger the brains cells (you) could not send messages or thoughts back and forth to other cells which can cause confusion and memory loss. Ask your children how they felt when they could not get the ball rolled to their family member.
Other Tools and Resources
For other tools and resources about Alzheimer’s disease, visit:
- Alliance for Aging Research:
- Alzheimer’s Association-Montana Chapter:
- Kids Health:
- Montana Alzheimer’s & Dementia Workgroup Materials:
- National Institute for Aging: www.nia.nih.gov
- Alzheimer’s Association 50 Activities
Spending time with a family member or friend in the middle or late stages of Alzheimer’s can be meaningful and fun.
Other Books in this Program
Other MSU Extension Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness for Children Storybook Program readingguides include (click on the title of the book to go to that particular reading guide link):
- Ferguson the Forgetful Frog: A Story About Dementia
by: Dr. Paul J. Gerber
Illustrated by Veronica Geran Gerber
- A Garden of Flowers: A Story About Alzheimers
by Marta Schmidt Mendez
Illustrated by Andreea Mironiuc
- My New Granny
by: Elisabeth Steinkellner
Illustrator: Michael Roher
- The Remember Balloons
by: Jessie Olivero
Illustrator by: Dana Wulfekotte
- What a Beautiful Morning
by Arthur A. Levine
Illustrated by Katie Kath
- When My Grammy Forgets, I Remember: A Child’s Perspective on Dementia
by Toby Haberkorn
Illustrated by Heather Varkarota