Saturday, November 23, 2013

Carson And His Shaky Paws Grampa book review

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Order Carson and His Shaky Paws Grampa

Article published in On The Move, a quarterly magazine by the Parkinson's Movement (Issue 6, Autumn 2013-3rd World Parkinson Congress edition):

Carson and his Shaky Paws Grampa
Kirk Hall, illustrated by Alison Paolini

One thing for certain is there are not enough books about Parkinson's disease for children or young adults. In thinking about that, it became clear why there are not more books.

Parkinson's is very difficult to understand , even if you are the person who has been diagnosed with it . You only see the motor deficiencies manifested sporadically : poor balance, shuffling feet, or shaking hands. Imagine what children must think and how difficult it would be to explain. But that is exactly what Kirk Hall has done in Shaky Paws Grampa, leaving the medical explanation to another time and place.

This oversized book is brilliant for reading aloud to one or several youngsters. The colorful illustrations, as well as the stories and experiences Carson recalls of woodsy areas complete with wildlife, help frame the opening setting of a log cabin in the state of Colorado.

The book is written in first person by seven-year-old Carson, who has a rather large family (his two parents, three siblings, and a dog). However, the story confines the storyline's characters to just Carson and his Grampa Hall . We see into Carson 's mind's eye as he remembers Grampa telling about when he was just a baby, and other times Carson recalls several experiences on his own.

Carson does not become aware of Grampa's motor symptoms until he and Granma move closer to his family, indicating the Parkinson's was advancing. Carson's worry is eased when Grampa uses humor to reassure him.
We also read hints of Grampa's symptoms advancing when he stops driving and his shaking worsens. But Grampa freely discusses his therapy of taking his medication on time. The story has a happy ending, however, when Grampa gets a special procedure done at the hospital that apparently rids him of his "shaky paws."

Hall has done an excellent job of convincing the reader that anyone, even an outdoorsman like Grampa Hall, can get Parkinson's. Hall also shows how the disease can be managed successfully, without getting into the medical details. This is a delightful, "must have" for children and grandchildren of those diagnosed with Parkinson's.

Reviewed by Peggy Willocks
Member, Editorial Board
Jon Stamford, Editor

Peggy is a former educator from Tennessee. In 1994 she was diagnosed with Young Onset PD aged 44. In 1997 she was named Tennessee Elementary Principal of the Year; one year later she had to retire early on disability.

Today she is an active advocate for the Parkinson’s community, affiliated with the Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN) for over a decade, in 2005, receiving PAN’s Milly Kondracke Outstanding Advocacy Award.

Peggy is also a charter member of the Parkinson Pipeline Project, a grassroots group to accelerate the development and approval of more effective treatments through patient education and trial participation. The group was awarded the Murray Charters Award for advocacy in 2010. She has been a leader in her local support group for a number of years. Peggy also serves as a member of PDF’s People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council (PPAC).

Along with a cohort of 10 people with Parkinson’s, Peggy and this group (the Parkinson’s Creative Collective) have completed a unique book, The Neurowriter’s Guide to the Peripatetic Pursuit of Parkinson’s, available now and reviewed in this issue of OTM.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

National Family Caregivers Month Interview

NFC Month jpg 2013
                                                        CAN no tm

Linda, Cheryl Siefert (Executive Director, Parkinson Association of the Rockies), were invited to do a 25-minute interview yesterday with Wilk Broadcasting at their studio yesterday.  The focus was to talk about National Family Caregivers Month, Parkinson's disease, what services PAR offers for care partners, my experience with PD, deep brain stimulation, advocacy, and writing, and Linda's experience as a care partner and advice to others in that position.  We talked about how my current book about care partners (Carina And Her Care Partner Gramma) was developed and how it is designed to be a communication tool for adults to use with children or grandchildren.

The interview will air this Sunday, November 17th.  The schedule is 6 am on Mix 100, 7am and 11pm on Kool 105 and 11:30 pm on 92.5 the Wolf.  You can listen to the interview at this link: