Matthew Adams explains how he and his family are creating a unique children’s book about dementia.

A husband and wife (and their two year old daughter) from Edinburgh are the family behind The Ally Bally Bee Project – the world’s first personalised children’s’ book about dementia. Over the past two years the Äikäs-Adams family (made up of Matthew, Nina and daughter Lana) have been working hard to bring the project to life (in their spare time) in a bid to ease distress for families affected by dementia, educate children on the subject and also raise money for dementia charities across the globe.

 

After launching the project’s Kickstarter campaign, to raise much needed funds, they were ecstatic to see the £3,000 target reached – in less than three days! It’s now reached more than £7,000 and continues rising. The family is keen to hit the £10,000 mark before the campaign ends on Monday 27 March so they can develop the project further and explore translations into other languages.

‘Dementia affects every family differently, which is why we wanted to create a children's book that was relevant to your family's situation,’ says Matthew. ‘Dementia can be difficult enough for an adult to comprehend – so how do you explain it to a six year old?

The project

The Ally Bally Bee Project aims to make difficult conversations about dementia a little easier with a children’s book where character names and dementia-related behavioural traits are tailored to YOUR situation. For example, maybe you want to explain Nana's dementia to little Sophie or perhaps you want to help little Leo understand why his Uncle sometimes acts the way he does.

Where did the idea for a personalised children's book about dementia come from?

My wife Nina’s grandmother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and I recall one evening, about two years ago, sitting around the table with the family, discussing the way her gran had been acting and the things she had been saying,’ recalls Matthew. ‘It was tricky enough for us adults to make sense of – so how would a child make sense of it? It got me thinking: how would I explain granny’s dementia to my daughter?

The question stuck with me and has been the basis of the project ever since. Children's books about dementia do exist. And personalised children's books exist. We decided to combine the two and make a world first.’

With the money raised from their Kickstarter video, the Äikäs-Adams family plan to develop the project website to allow visitors to customise their own children's book about dementia. From simply visiting the site, customers will be as asked who the book is for; who the person living with dementia is; and how the dementia affects their behaviour. Then, with a few clicks, you will be able to order your beautifully illustrated book to be delivered anywhere in the world (or download it as an E-book). You'll also be offered the opportunity to write a short dedication on the inside cover. Profits from each book sold will be donated to a dementia organisation of your choice.

Check out their kickstarter page here before it ends on Monday 27 March.


Notes:

The Ally Bally Bee Project is a social enterprise set up and run by the Äikäs-Adams family in their spare time. The aim is to create the world’s first personalized children’s book about dementia. The family have put their own money into the project, in addition to securing a number of grants to help pay for the work of their illustrator and author (Daisy Wilson and Elvira Ashby, respectively).