The Remember Balloons — 19 Comments

  1. The topics that authors are able to represent and capture with text and illustrations are purely magical….the remember balloons is truly a one in a million book. The story the illustrations, the connections to family members as time goes by is so true to life. I recommend this book for all classrooms and waiting rooms and more and more…. 5 of 5 stars.

  2. This is a beautiful book that made me cry. Alzheimer’s and dementia are something that are difficult to explain to a child, and difficult for a child to understand. This book’s metaphor of balloons made this difficult topic more tangible, and opens the door for discussion. The art complemented the story extremely well. As a few people said as well, I don’t know that I would use this as a read aloud, but it is definitely one that I would recommend to patrons young and old.

  3. I don’t know that I could read this one aloud without crying. It hits too close to home for me. I must share this with teachers and counselor for those students going through this painful family event. I am crying as I type this.

    An amazing book. I would put it in both the elementary library and the intermediate library because it would be valued by both groups. I don’t think a 1st/2nd grader would understand it on their own (without a parent to explain the metaphor) but a 4th/5th/6th grader would. In fact it would be a great journaling prompt for that age group.

  4. This book brought tears to my eyes. My grandfather had Alzheimer’s and it was tough on me and my siblings . It was hard to watch my dad interact with him towards the end – I thought of how this book and it’s simply stated and illustrated idea could have helped even an adult work through difficult emotions. What a beautiful idea of sharing memories and passing them onto the next generations. It reinforces the importance of multi-generational families. 5/5 stars

  5. I found this book to be a great way to talk about family and the memories you make together. I enjoyed the way the illustrator used black and white highlighting the balloons with color. Young students will enjoy reading this book and talking about their own memories. Good way for us adults to learn about our students. Reminds me to share my favorite memories with family and make sure I am present to make great new ones. It is a bit of a tear jerker for a read aloud for us adults, but maybe an ah-ha moment for students. 5/5 stars.

  6. I liked this book very much, but it’s kind of a tearjerker for a classroom read. I love the concept of keeping memories in balloons and how older people have more balloons than younger folks. I think this book has a place in the social worker’s office to be used for kids in a situation where they are dealing with someone’s memory loss. It would also be an excellent resource for parents to talk through what their family is dealing with. The illustrations are gorgeous and fit the subject very well. I liked the contrast of the black and white illustrations in contrast to the balloons and the memories captured in the balloons. As in other books, I loved the depiction of a multicultural family, which reflects my student’s families.

  7. Oh my, this is my favorite title so far. The author and illustrator so tenderly crafted a tale that will help so many children who are trying to understand the changes they see in an aging loved one. I noted that the author’s dedication read: “For James. We have your balloons, Grandpa” so I believe this book came from her own experience. The use of black/white/gray in contrast to the color of the balloons so clearly conveyed the beauty each memory held. Beyond the familial need if a student was experiencing this with their own loved one, this could be a great book to start conversations about why we share stories…because then other people can catch our balloons later if we need them to.
    I like the idea on a previous post that suggested having students think of their own memory balloons. Writing the story of a memory would be a fantastic writing assignment for these kiddos. It might also be lovely to have them talk to an older loved one and write a memory balloon of one of the stories they learn from them!

  8. What a beautiful book! This is one that I definitely want to get and add to my library. It would make a nice pairing with Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox. It could be used as a loaner for children and families dealing with this issue. But I could also see it used at the beginning of our narrative writing unit. I could see revamping my “kick off” organizer at the beginning of the unit which is a large heart and students write possible story ideas on to a page filled with balloon outlines that students put their potential memory ideas for use in their retelling narratives in the unit.

    I also agree with clowe that this could be used when teaching text to self and text to text reading strategy. I loved her idea of sending 3 balloons home with students for them to share one of their favorite memories, one of their parents’ favorite memories and one of their grandparents or older friend/neighbor.

    As an added bonus, I love the diversity and inter-racial marriage presented in this book. This is certainly a book that will be on my wish list!

  9. This is a beautiful story that addresses memory loss in adults. I would read it one on one with a student that is experiencing this in a family or refer it to our social worker. I would certainly recommend it to parents. I love the way this story ends with James telling his Grandpa about the many stories he has told him and helping him to relive and remember the past. Having students write down a story they remember in a balloon shape and reading it to the class would be a great writing assignment.

  10. I loved this book! I think the analogy of memories being balloons that we carry around with us wherever we go was really powerful, especially in order to make a topic like dementia be more understandable and relatable for young readers. It was easy to get frustrated right along with the main character when his favorite memory balloon floats away, but also to find comfort in a new role as a storyteller. I loved the story, but also especially the illustrations with their contrast of black and white present day with colorful balloons to represent the past.

    This book is one that I will have marked as one to use for reading recommendations or gifts for others going through similar situations. Beyond that, I could see using this book as a way to help grow my students’ storytelling. I’ve noticed that sometimes my students struggle to find a story of their own to tell because they feel it’s not funny or grand enough. This book clearly shows that it’s the little moments that matter most and stick with you and the people who share the memory by the way your face lights up, a smile spreads on your face, or you chuckle softly as you remember what happened.

    Overall rating: 5/5 stars

  11. The illustrations represented the story so well. I don’t think I would use this as a read aloud book, but could recommend it if I had a student who was going through this with a family member.

  12. My grandparents are currently loosing some of their balloons and so it was not easy reading this book. I could see using this book to show students text to self and text to text examples. I know the movie Inside Out is not a book, but it would be great to relate the balloons too. I would even send home 3 balloons for the students to write their favorite memory on, a parents favorite memory, and a grandparents favorite memory. If students don’t have living grandparents, an older person they know would do the trick. I loved the simplicity of this book. I give it a 5/5.

  13. I sure didn’t expect the reaction I had to this book. Having a parent with dementia die recently and the other living with Alzheimer’s it was a heart wrenching read. I couldn’t read it aloud but would have it available to students. Love the analogy of the memories as balloons. Glad it had a happy ending. I have a vast array of balloons now. 10/10

  14. This is a book that you won’t forget. It does almost make you cry as you realize the message about the balloons is a beautiful healing way to help children and adults understand and accept dementia and alzheimers. How precious are our memories, shared or our own. I love the idea of creating, displaying and sharing student’s own “balloons.” We all remember different events and sometimes in different ways. From time to time, I love being able to share stories my grandma told me or even my own with my students as a live world to text connection with books and projects. A great way to introduce the idea of a memoir as well with older students. Rate this book 5/5 stars.

  15. I thought this book was beautiful and heartwrenching and important. I loved it, even though it did make me cry. I lost my grandpa to dementia so this book hit very close to home for me.
    I think this is an important book to have in the library as it’s a great way to help children understand the way memories are sometimes lost as people age / get dementia or other brain degenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s. Balloons as memories are a great way to illustrate this.
    I would recommend this book for use in the classroom as well and think it would be neat to tie in an art project where the students could create their own memory balloons.
    5/5 stars

  16. I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed how it began with the young boy and shifted to family. As an educator we have many situations that arise with families. Currently within my own classroom I have 3 students and my father battling cancer. I think I will use this book to help students be able to share memories they have. I would use this at balloon activity throughout the school year.

  17. This book was poignant and tender, yet at the same time simple. The use of balloons as a metaphor for memories makes it simple for children to understand memory loss of an older adult. I thought the illustrations in tones of gray highlighted with the transparent colors of the balloons was lovely. I also appreciated the representation of a multi-racial family.

    This book would be kept in my “toolbox” to use when the need arose. Children who are dealing within their families the challenges and special needs of dementia, aging and memory loss could benefit from the conversation this book encourages. It would also be helpful as a read aloud when preparing for nursing home visits or other special opportunities within the community.

    I give this book 5/5 stars.

  18. I really enjoyed this book. It was a great book to help explain to kids what happens when you get older. I would use this in the classroom as a read a loud. I would then open it up as a classroom discussion. I would use it also for a writing assignment. Have the kids each make their own books of “balloons” that they have and don’t want to forget. Then I would encourage them to share these with family members and even the class.
    I would also leave this book out for free reading. I really think this book could be used for 1st- 5th grade. Kids at all these ages could connect with this book.