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Children's Books - 4-8 Years Children's Books - Growing Up & Facts of Life

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Grandpa Used to Drive Big Trucks: A Book About Parkinson's Disease

ISBN: 9781634896405
Binding: Hardcover
Author: Martha Nance & Steve Witebsky
Illustrator: Matthew Karren
Pages: 42
Trim: 8 x 10 inches
Published: 03/26/2024

In this chronic illness book for kids, readers learn that love is more powerful than any disease . . . and that grandparents living with Parkinson's disease are still our loving heroes.

"A must-read for our kids with and without relatives with Parkinson's disease. This book challenges the myth that persons with Parkinson's disease cannot live happy and meaningful lives."

—Dr. Michael S. Okun, National Medical Advisor, Parkinson's Foundation

Grandpa used to drive big trucks. Lately, though, things have been different. As a grandpa and grandson spend a day together, the young boy begins to notice new things about his hero.

In this beautifully illustrated book written from the perspective of a young boy, young readers learn about the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, creative ways to support their loved ones, and the enduring fun of spending time together . . . regardless of a diagnosis.

Co-written by a neurologist specializing in Parkinson's Disease and a grandfather living with it, Grandpa Used to Drive Big Trucks is an affectionate and engaging resource for families to explore tough topics with their children.

The message at the core of the story makes it a perfect read for any child experiencing grief and loss—thoughtfully navigating how to mourn what has changed while showing young readers that even though they are just a kid, they can truly help!

An approachable and heartfelt Parkinson's book for kids, Grandpa Used to Drive Big Trucks provides:

  • Kid-friendly language about Parkinson's disease,
  • Rich and vibrant illustrations,
  • A gentle entry into hard conversations, and
  • A love-filled look at a grandpa and grandson

By demystifying diagnosis of chronic disease, this book helps to strengthen family relationships and lay the foundation for new adventures. As young readers spend a day alongside one grandpa and grandson, they'll be inspired to create more memories with their own loved ones.


Dr. Martha Nance is a neurologist-geneticist who has served as the medical director of Struthers Parkinson's Center since 2000. She has published over 150 scientific articles on Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders, making her a national leader in research on the genetic aspects of Parkinson's disease. With experience in writing patient/family handbooks on navigating neurological disorders, she now uses her expertise to make complex topics approachable for children. Grandpa Used to Drive Big Trucks is her first picture book.

Steve Witebsky is a grandpa who has been living with Parkinson's disease since 2016. Since his diagnosis, he has become a leader in his local Parkinson's disease community, currently serving as the chairperson of the Struthers Parkinson's Center Community Advisory Board. In this role, he has gained first-hand experience in engaging with young children, explaining why his hands shake and what his medicine is for. He created his fiction debut, Grandpa Used to Drive Big Trucks, to further explore the topic and strengthen the bond between grandparents and their grandchildren.


"A must-read for our kids with and without relatives with Parkinson's disease. This book challenges the long-held and passed-down myth that persons with Parkinson's disease cannot live happy and meaningful lives."   —Dr. Michael S. Okun, Director, Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at University of Florida; National Medical Advisor, Parkinson’s Foundation