Thea Kvamme Pays Honor to Her Mother Through Her New Children’s Book


By Thea Kvamme

Mausdrachen-Kvamme-TheaMy mother, Diane Kvamme, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2009 at the age of 74. I worked in a nursing home, so I knew some of what to expect. My children, however, didn’t understand why grandma kept repeating herself, or why she kept asking for people who had passed away, especially her husband and their grandfather, who had passed away in 2007.

What always helped to bridge the growing divide between my children and my mother was her collection of toy stuffed mice. She would play with the children, giving the mice silly voices to make them laugh. I would watch them play together and, just for a while, none of them were scared of the disease. For that short time, they all seemed to go into their own fantasy world together!

Sometimes, the disease made my mom terrified. When that happened, I would put one of her mice in her arms. My mom’s favorite mouse, Mr. Mousey, always succeeded in calming her. I may have made him her favorite by tucking him in with her every time I saw her. She would have him “talk” to me whenever I went to see her, which was a couple times every day. It always made me feel like a kid again and I cherished those moments.

Even when my mom’s health started to decline further, she would still make her mice “talk” and joke around with everyone. I believe it was her way of escaping her fear when she realized how much she was forgetting. Nevertheless, it always made me happy to see her enjoying life! No matter how bad her day was or how scared she was, she would always do her best to make everyone around her laugh, and making others laugh made her happy. Before she passed away, I promised her that Mr. Mousey would continue to go on many adventures.

To pay homage to my mother and to Mr. Mousey, I named the titular character in Curse of the Laxness “Mausdrachen,” which means “mouse-dragon” in German. My mom always took pride in her German heritage, so I knew I wanted to use some German in the story. And what is a fantasy world without some type of dragon? But in this case, he is a gentle helper and not a fearsome beast.

My reason for writing Mausdrachen: Curse of the Laxness is to help children understand Alzheimer’s disease and make the disease a little less frightening. My children are old enough to understand now, but when my mother was first diagnosed, my children were young and there weren’t many resources available to help me explain what was happening to their grandma. Part of how Mausdrachen: Curse of The Laxness makes the disease easier to understand and less scary is by showing young readers the “lost” memories are still there, just a little harder to find sometimes.

I also wrote this book for my mom. Through this book, the adventures of Mr. Mousey will continue and my mother’s memory will live on. My mom was an amazing person. She was my best friend throughout most of my life, and I needed to share how wonderful she was with the world.



Thea Kvamme was born in a small town in northern Minnesota but grew up in Decorah, IA. She is currently living in Minnesota again with her family and is a mom to four great kids. She has always dreamed of being a writer and took creative writing classes in both high school and college.

After 19 years of working with the elderly in nursing homes, she changed up her career path by becoming an infant and toddler teacher, following in her mom’s footsteps of previous years. Writing, of course, is still her passion, but knitting is becoming a close second!

When her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Thea realized she could write a book that would help children understand the changes their grandparent or other family member may be going through. Her debut book, Mausdrachen: Curse of The Laxness, is a fantastical children’s fiction book for the young reader, ages three to ten years old.

Thea’s family has always meant the world to her, and she cherishes every moment she has with her children and siblings, as she did with her parents.  She hopes to pursue a career in writing and help people escape from reality—even just for a short while—and enter a fantasy world!



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