Bio: Author/Illustrator Kathryn Harrison

Kathryn Harrison and family

My family, 2015.

My kids with their Nana, Bonnie, 2008.

This is My Story

As a child, art was my passion but I also enjoyed science. Being from a family of scientists and business professionals, I decided to put art on hold to gain a degree in Biology/Psychology and an MBA. After graduation came a lengthy communications career in marketing and advertising until motherhood eventually drew me to pursue my more artistic calling.

In 2007, I was led to art school and then went on to earn a Diploma in Fine Art. Today I see myself as a storyteller, able to blend my diverse skills to not only author compelling stories, but to further enrich them through vivid paintings, design and illustration.

“Weeds in Nana’s Garden” marks the culmination of my lifelong pursuits, but it is also the end of a very personal journey. In 2005 my mom was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia. She was 62 years old. In the years following, my family and I learned firsthand about the heart-ache of the disease.

After my mother’s passing in 2010 I knew I had to do something to help – something to increase awareness and provide much needed support to families enduring the hardship that is dementia. I set out to create an engaging children’s picture book that guides the reader through the typical stages of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.

Wanting to do more still, I decided that a portion of the proceeds from the book would be donated to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, an organization that supported me greatly in my time of need. What’s more, to maximize my contribution I needed to publish it and thus Flipturn Publishing was created. The name, Flipturn Publishing, is both a nod to my competitive swimming past and an acknowledgement of the need to turn and face a new direction, once dementia arrives.

I hope you find this children’s book to be a candid yet approachable exploration into dementia diseases for families, and that you also recognize it as a celebration of the remarkable ways of the heart. I dedicated the book to my mom, Bonnie Harrison, but it was created to honour all those who are afflicted with dementia and all those who never stop loving as it endures.

With heartfelt thanks, Kathryn

Please visit my art site at kathrynharrison.ca for more of my work.

Please see this article from Today’s Parent about kids and dementia for more on how our family coped.

“The author of Weeds in Nana’s Garden does a beautiful job of enveloping the complexity of dementia within an easy to grasp garden metaphor.  It is a very compassionate tale based around a tender relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter.  The author artfully creates a very positive tone while providing the reader with a relatable learning vehicle.

The book’s incredibly expressive, colourful and detailed illustrations are so thoughtfully done that they draw the reader into the page.  Weeds in Nana’s Garden is written with love and is a book that I would recommend to families in similar circumstances.”

~ Cathy Sturdee

Article on Blog featuring authors writing about Alzheimer's Disease

The inspiring authors group, AlzAuthors is featuring my story on their blog. Read about why I wrote my book and the positive results so far.

Three Generations, 2006
Nana and Tristin cuddle, 2007
Mom and I, 2009