Voight began writing the book, entitled “My Grandma Has Alzheimer’s, Too,” when he was only 7 years old. He will be giving a speech to kick off a Memory Walk this Saturday and will be doing a book signing this Sunday.
When asked what first motivated Voight to write the book, he explained that when he and his mother, Kathy, were unable to find any books in the book stores about Alzheimer’s written from a child’s perspective, he decided that he would be the first to write one.
“Writing wasn’t my best subject in school or anything, but I decided that I wanted to write something that other kids could relate to,” Voight explained.
After coming up with the idea, Voight sat down with his family and they discussed the possibility of him writing the book. Although his parents knew that the book would require a lot of time and effort on every family member’s part, they decided that writing the book would be a good opportunity for Joseph and the rest of the Voight family to begin the healing process.
Voight’s grandmother moved in with his family, and as her disease progressed, he began to keep a journal. He addressed the situation with his grandmother logically, explaining, “I wrote down a problem and then tried to figure out a solution.” Thoughts expressed in his journal, as well as drawings that he has done, are included in his book.
Voight experienced firsthand the difficulty of getting a book published, especially as an author who previously had not been published. Preparing and sending out manuscripts, finding a publisher and editing the book once they found a publishing house that was interested took a total of five years. Voight faced several obstacles during the publishing process, but continued on undaunted, determined to help other children whose loved ones have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
The book has gotten Voight a lot of attention.
He explained, “No one really knows me when they see me, but when I tell them my name, they’ll sometimes say, ‘Oh, you’re that kid who wrote that book.’ ”
The book has been a great success for Voight. Five thousand copies have been sold and the book currently is being reprinted. Voight has been on a book tour around Oregon, Nevada and California for the past four months. He has been to schools, libraries, hospitals, and assisted living facilities.
His mother, Kathy, has supported her son throughout the entire publication of his book.
“This is a great educational opportunity for him. Not only has he learned a lot, but he has helped to bridge the gap between the young and the elderly,” she said.
Speaking with Joseph, it is easy to forget that he is only 12 years old. With a quick wit and a mature personality, he is admired by people of all ages.
“He has moved people to tears before with his speeches,” Kathy explained.
The writing process has been both therapeutic and difficult for Kathy at different times.
“We wrote down a lot of the funny things that she [Joseph’s grandmother] did. It’s hard to shake the grief when we’re constantly talking about her, but writing has also helped us to cope with our feelings,” she said.
Joseph’s writing career did not end with the publication of this book. He is currently writing a book to help other kids to cope with the passing of a loved one.
Joseph’s book signing will be at Cascades of the Sierra, which is located at 100 Neighborhood Way in Spanish Springs. The signing will take place at 1 p.m. this Sunday.