Project Description

Teacher’s Guide

The Sunsets of Miss Olivia Wiggins

by Lester L. Laminack
illustrated by Constance R. Bergum

This poignant tale tells of a woman residing in a nursing home who seems to live  in a world of memories.

Although Miss Olivia is unable to respond and doesn’t always seem to notice her family, her daughter Angel and great-grandson Troy know better. Anything from a beautiful sunset to the mention of her porch swing can take her back into her past, from when she was just a little girl out on the farm with her papa or back to a recent birthday shared with her daughter. She can no longer do the things she used to do, but she’s still their Momma Olivia.

Laminack treats a difficult topic with great care, giving voice to the seldom discussed tragedy of watching a loved one slip into the past in terms children can understand. Bergum’s delicate watercolors also give soft expression to the love that holds a family together during times of hardship.

Format: Hardcover
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-139-5
Publication Date: 3/1/1998
Page Count: 32
Size: 10″ x 8-1/2″
Age Range: 6 – 10
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Price: $8.95
ISBN: 978-1-68263-063-1
Publication Date: 8/1/2018
Page Count: 32
Size: 10″ x 8-1/2″
Age Range: 6 – 10
Language: English
AR Level: 3.8
F&P: GRL Q, Gr 4, Genre RF
Lexile: AD590L
Themes: Aging, Family, Memory


“Through this story readers will be reassured that older people can have a full inner life and will understand the importance of visiting them.” ―School Library Journal

“Moments of real eloquence…. The book provides an unusually empathic look at the reality of aging…. Children perplexed or upset by their own visits to deteriorating elders may find this book helpful and even consoling.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Realistic watercolors flow gently between present and past in this tender depiction of a life well lived, which speaks to the value of maintaining loving relationships, even when they are altered by Alzheimer’s disease.” ―Booklist


Joan Fassler Memorial Book Award ―Association for the Care of Children’s Health

You May Also Like

Meet the Author

Lester L. Laminack is a specialist in children’s literacy and professor emeritus at Western Carolina University. Laminack has written numerous books and articles for educators and is a familiar speaker at professional meetings and reading associations nationwide. He lives in North Carolina. You can visit his website here.

Meet the Illustrator

Constance R. Bergum has illustrated several children’s books. She holds an MFA in illustration from Marywood University and lives in Montana.