The Joy of Remembering: A Review of The Memory Jar 

The Memory Jar 
Debra Daugherty
Illustrated by Victoria Marble 
Young Dragons Press 
April 11, 2023 
Ages 4 to 8 

As Amelia grapples with her grandmother’s dementia, she starts a project to help save the memories that are slowly slipping away. Amelia writes her grandmother’s stories—memories of her husband, stories of her children, and adventures shared with Amelia. The project helps her grandmother to laugh, smile, and ultimately remember the granddaughter that loves her. Overjoyed with this, Amelia writes a fresh memory for the jar, so that when her Grammy forgets who she is, or about her past, she can look at this memory, and all the other memories in the jar, and remember.  

The tone of the story is hopeful and empathetic, though it deals with a serious and often heartbreaking topic. Events from the author’s life inspired The Memory Jar, and she writes from a place of knowing what it’s like to have a close family member diagnosed with dementia. This story inspires by using the power of a child’s imagination to help a family member who has no control over losing their memories. Amelia is an innovative protagonist who draws you in, prompting you to root for her as she deals with her grandmother’s diagnosis as she devises a plan to design a jar system where she writes and stores her favorite memories with her grandma and about her grandma’s life. Through Amelia’s story, young readers can learn about processing when someone they love is dealing with dementia.