You may be interested in a memory book for your mother, father, grandmother, or grandfather. Not all memory books are created equal. Here is what to look for in a memory book or "memory journal" for your parents or grandparents. Sometimes having some structure makes it easier to interview a parent or grandparent. Here are some things to watch for when choosing a memory book or memory journal:

1) How are the questions organized? Does it provide a clear structure to allow your loved one to cover all the major events of life? Does it make it easy for them to describe people that shaped their lives, memories from growing up, adulthood, and beliefs and values? These are all critical to building a complete life story. Memory books should offer many topics that may not be obvious. For example, topics like pets, volunteerism and philanthropy, friendship, and lessons through the years are all parts of life that can be written about.
2) Will the memory book evoke the kinds of things you as children or grandchildren really want to know? In other words, do the questions get to the core of WHO your mom or dad really is and inspire them to reminisce more? Will the autobiography questions go deep enough? For example, some memory books might only provide two or three questions about your mother's parents, while the Memory Journal has fourteen questions on the topic of "Mother" alone.
3) Is the memory book asking positive or neutral questions? A memory book's questions should not be leading a person to answer in a negative way (although they can always choose how they will answer a question). For example, one memory book asked the question, "Did your mother hug you enough as a child?" Not a very good question to ask. Even if your mother hugged you plenty, you start to ask yourself, "Did she hug me enough?" Instead, the Memory Journal asks you to... "Describe your mother to someone who has never met her." The tone of questions is positive or neutral.
4) Is there a next step? Can the memory book become something more? Families are typically interested in having a copy of a parent's or grandparent's memory book. Although the pages can always be copied and simply stapled or bound together, there are other ways to bring the story to a final form. For example, the Memory Journal's questions match those found at so you can easily transfer information from the journal to the web. Next, one or multiple copies of leather, hardcover books can then be made from the person's story and distributed to family and friends.
We hope you enjoy hearing the stories and memories of your loved one. A memory book will bring out many things that don't come up in typical conversation. If you have the time, it is wonderful to ask the questions over the phone especially if you live faraway from your mother or father. Don't miss out on the amazing things your older relatives have to share.

There's no time like the present and no better gift to the future.