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Wordsworth Dances the Waltz

Frances H. Kakugawa

Hardcover, 32 pp.

Wordsworth, the little Hawaiian mouse who loves poetry, doesn’t understand why there is so much whispering around the house since Grandma came to live with his family. He remembers her last visit, when the house was filled with laughter, and he and Grandma danced around the room together. But now, Wordsworth and his siblings have to walk softly and be quiet so they don’t disturb Grandma. In Wordsworth Dances the Waltz, children are introduced to the concept that as grandparents age, they may become different, and even forget important things. Wordsworth finds comfort in writing poems that express his confusion over the changes in his beloved grandparent and the fond memories he has of her more vibrant days. He wonders, “Now that shes losing her memory/She’s still my Grandma, isnt she?” The answer, of course, is yes — nothing could ever change that. Wordsworth’s poems help his family understand that Grandma would still like to do things she always loved — spending time with the family, laughing and dancing.

Wordsworth Dances the Waltz is dedicated to author Frances Kakugawa’s late mother, Matsue, who was afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. Frances was her primary caregiver for five years; during that time she found that poetry and journaling helped to ease the rigorous burden of caregiving.

Wordsworth Dances the Waltz received the Bronze Award in the Best Book Overall category, as well as the award for Best Illustrated Children’s Book from the Northern California Publishers & Authors (NCPA) group for books published in 2007.

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