Popular children’s author Julia Jarman helped youngsters understand the difficult issue of dementia when she met pupils from town schools to talk about her latest book.
The writer met 520 pupils from the Brougham, Hart, Jesmond Gardens, Lynnfield, Rossmere, St Peter’s Elwick, Ward Jackson and West View primary schools at two pre-booked events organised by Hartlepool’s Libraries at Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre.
Julia’s talk was followed by a short dementia awareness session led by the Alzheimer’s Society.
The event is the first in a programme of dementia awareness-raising in Hartlepool’s schools as part of the work being done to enable the town to be recognised as a dementia-friendly community.
Julia – author of titles including ‘Big Red Bath’ and the ‘Time Travelling Cat’ series - talked about her new book ‘Lovely Old Lion’, which she has written to help explain Alzheimer’s disease to young children in a sensitive and reassuring way.
The book – which is illustrated by Susan Varley, the creator of ‘Badger’s Parting Gift’ – tells the story of Lenny the lion who loves his grandpa King Lion.
However, when King Lion starts to forget things, Lenny begins to worry and can’t understand why his grandpa keeps getting muddled. Lenny doesn’t know what to do, but with a little help from King Lion’s old friends perhaps Lenny can find a way to help his grandpa remember.
Heather Bellwood, the council’s children’s librarian, said: “There are 800,000 people with dementia in the UK and ‘Lovely Old Lion’ will be a valuable resource for the many families with young children who are learning to cope with this life-altering condition.
“The Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends initiative aims to increase awareness of dementia and change the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about it.
“Anyone of any age can be a dementia friend and every action counts – from wearing a Dementia Friends badge to being more aware of family and friends who may have dementia.
“Schools have an important role to play in this and all the youngsters taking part in this event will receive a Dementia Friends badge. By increasing young people’s understanding of dementia we can create a dementia-friendly generation which supports those with the condition, and their families.”