The Staircase on Pine Street

By Mariana Llanos

Illustrated by Kate Gattey



Book Blurb

The Staircase on Pine Street is a story that will touch your heart with its tenderness, humor, sensitivity and page-turning narrative. Mariana Llanos has once again, crafted a beautiful story of family love to share with readers of all ages. Ten-year-old Lilly has to learn to live with her grandfather’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Lilly and Grandpa Leo have a close, loving bond but ever since he’s been diagnosed, things have drastically changed. Alzheimer’s is taking away her grandpa’s memory. Lilly feels that there is nothing she can do to help. Until one day, Grandpa Leo gives Lilly an important assignment: to find a long-forgotten treasure. Lilly— with the help of her best friend, Mei Ling— goes on an exciting quest where she discovers more than she could have ever imagine.

To read the first chapter, click on this link:


My Review

Ten-year-old Lilly’s grandfather has Alzheimer’s disease. He is moving to an apartment in an assisted living facility where he can get help every day.  Lilly is excited that it has a playground and she and Grandpa Leo can go to when she visits.  She doesn’t understand what Alzheimer’s is, but her mother helps her understand the stages of the disease as her grandpa goes through them.  Lilly realizes that her grandpa no longer remembers everything, and some days he doesn’t seem to know who she is. Then one day her grandpa gives her a mission – she is to search for a forgotten treasure.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be scary for young children, but Mariana Llanos has woven a beautiful story that explains the disease in a way that young children can understand.  I recommend parents read the forward before reading the book to their children. In this short piece about Alzheimer’s disease, the author describes what Alzheimer’s is, tells how to get more information, and makes suggestions to help families to create awareness of this devastating disease.

I recommend this upper elementary school age child, whether or not they have a family member who has Alzheimer’s disease.


About the Author

Mariana Llanos-00208Mariana Llanos is a Peruvian-born writer based in Oklahoma. Mariana has written short stories since she was a young girl. Hoping to give a voice to the many characters that lived in her head, she studied Drama with the prestigious company Cuatrotablas, based in Lima.  After moving to Oklahoma, Mariana has worked as a preschool teacher, standing out for her creativity and passion for arts education. She has published five children’s books whose themes revolve around family love and acceptance. Mariana visits schools around the world through virtual technology to inspire a life-long passion for reading and writing. Books by Mariana Llanos:

Tristan Wolf, A Planet for Tristan Wolf, the Wanting Monster, The Staircase on Pine Street, No Birthday for Mara. Available in Spanish: El Monstruo Quierelotodo, Mara sin Cumpleaños, Tristán Lobo.

Type of Book – Paperback

Publisher – Mariana Llanos

Pub Date – July 20th 2014

66 pages

Genre – Children’s, Middle Grade chapter Book

To learn more about Mariana Llanos and her books


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The Truth About You By Susan Lewis

uscover-Truth-About-YouLainey Hollingsworth was living a life she loved, she was a mother, married to someone she was deeply in love with and trusted beyond all doubt, had a terrific job managing her husband’s writing career, and lived where she always wanted to be – in her childhood home.  Her life was not without trials, however. Lainey had a stepson Max, who after all these years still blamed her for the breakup between his parents. Her adoring father, who was actually her stepfather and the only father she had ever known, was living with them and was severely afflicted with Alzheimer’s. Lainey’s teenage daughter Tierney was searching for her grownup self, and that was causing friction where there had never been friction before. Her husband Tom was absent more and more and doubts started creeping in. When she received a text message, “Ask your husband about Julie” Lainey’s life, as she knew it, suddenly started unraveling.

Add to all of this was a planned trip to Italy to try to learn more about her family.  Her mother left Italy with Lainey when Lainey was very young and never returned. She refused even at her death to tell Lainey about her biological father and why she took Lainey to England without ever looking back.

I thought Lainey Hollingsworth was a complicated protagonist. At the beginning of the book she was a strong woman who, as the story unfolded, soon became filled with uncertainties and insecurities. She was angry and came to her own conclusions about her husband’s absences without giving him a chance to explain.  Words spoken, and left unspoken, lead to misconceptions. In the end and after suffering so much hurt, was Lainey’s imagined “truth” reality?

This was storytelling at its finest. With memorable characters and intricate plot lines, the book kept calling me back. As I turned the last page, I was sad I’d come to the end of this amazing story. This was the first book by Susan Lewis that I have read, and it certainly won’t be the last. I look forward to delving into some of her other books. I recommend THE TRUTH ABOUT YOU to anyone who enjoys getting totally immersed in a story. It was fabulous.

You can find out more about Susan Lewis on her website at

I received this book from Library Thing Early Reviewers in exchange for an honest review.