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I have been attending monthly author meetings for quite a few months now. I recently also started going to a monthly picture book meeting where a different topic concerning picture books is discussed each month.
This month, books about grandparents were discussed at the picture book meeting. Who says you have to wait until September to celebrate Grandparents Day?
To prepare for the meeting, I read 14 books (checked out from my local library) about grandparents. I really enjoyed some of them, but others weren’t quite my style. I know that everyone has their own preference of books, so I’ve decided to include all of the grandparent books I read with a brief description of each one. Some of them describe serious topics such as Alzheimer’s while others are rather silly or imaginative.
Grandma Forgets by Paul Russell
I really liked this book about a granddaughter talking about how her grandma forgets things. Although the word “Alzheimer’s” is never mentioned, this book does portray the effects of Alzheimer’s. It also mentions grandma “lives with people who remember for her”, which seems like a pleasant way to discuss why a grandparent may have to move to a nursing home. Throughout the story, the granddaughter stays positive and helps create new memories with her grandma.
A young boy named Oscar shares his adventures with his grandma. Even on days his grandma doesn’t feel like playing, they are still able to find some activities to do together. Oscar even helps his grandma wash dishes. Grandma starts to forget things, so she has to move to “be with people who know how to help her”. Oscar is nervous the first day he visits her at her new home (a nursing home), but he finds he is still able to have fun while visiting his grandma. The book talks about how Oscar’s grandma sometimes will shout at people or get confused, so Oscar creates a box of happy memories to look at with her.
There are a couple of pages at the end of the book that talk about dementia and what happens as people get older. It includes suggestions on what activities you can do with someone you love who has dementia.
Grandma and Me: A Kid’s Guide for Alzheimer’s & Dementia by Beatrice Tauber Prior, Psy.D. & Mary Ann Drummond, RN
This book is a very long and detailed book about a grandma with Alzheimer’s. It talks about how the grandma may be sad or withdrawn at times, forgets current things, but can still remember some events from long ago. It talks about what Alzheimer’s is. It even goes in depth about what neurons are and how they are not working properly in a person with Alzheimer’s. It also discusses a few therapies or ways to help grandma. At the end of the book, even more information is provided for parents and caregivers to read about how to prepare a young child for the journey a family member may go through with Alzheimer’s.
What Can Your Grandma Do? by Anne Sawan and Sernur Isik
This book is about a class preparing to celebrate Grandparents Appreciation Week by inviting grandparents to come in and share a special talent. As each of the children in the class share what talents his or her grandparents have, one boy seems to think his grandma doesn’t have any special talent. Later, he realizes she does infact have a special talent.
Every child in the book’s class has a grandparent, which may not be the case for all children in a classroom setting. A few of these grandparents even have quite active talents – ballet, salsa dancing, hula hooping, and slam dunking a basketball.
I Love My Grandma by Giles Andreae
This has simple one to two lines of text on each page, so it would be appropriate for a young child. Most of the text rhymes, but there are a few times when the words don’t such as mine and time, fun and mom, and tummy and funny. It talks about various activities a grandchild does with his grandmother.
Llama Llama Gram and Grandpa by Anna Dewdney
Following the style of the Llama Llama series, this book shows a young llama grandchild who will be spending the night with his grandparents. He has a fun-filled day with his grandparents playing outside, riding a tractor, working in the garden, and more. Unfortunately, little llama has forgotten his fuzzy llama stuffed animal, which he thinks he needs to sleep. Grandpa comes to the rescue with his own special toy to share with little llama.
Grandma’s Purse by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
A young girl looks through her grandma Mimi’s purse with her grandma Mimi. She finds all kinds of items such as lipstick, “smell-good”, hair pins, glasses, and more. As she pulls the items out, her grandma Mimi explains the significance of each of the items. The story ends with the girl finding a special gift at the bottom of the purse for her to keep.
40 Uses For a Grandpa by Harriet Ziefert
This book is a list of 40 uses for a grandpa with pictures to coincide with each numbered item. For example, the first page says: “1. play date”. The book ends with a page that says: “40. friend”.
I Really Want to See You Grandma by Taro Gomi
Very simple text (1-2 lines on each page) tells the story of a grandma and granddaughter who want to see each other, so they set out to visit each other at the same time. As a result of them both being gone at the same time, they keep missing each other. Eventually they meet under a tree, which they decide to use as a future meeting place.
Me Too, Grandma! by Jane Chapman
Grandma has a wonderful surprise for her little owl grandson, Ollie: a new baby cousin owl. Ollie sees that he is no longer the center of attention and becomes a little jealous of his new little cousin and quite sad thinking that his grandma no longer loves him with her whole heart. Grandma owl explains to Ollie that grandmas grow new love for each addition to the family, and no other baby could ever remove any of the love from little Ollie. At the end, Ollie realizes he can have fun with his little cousin, and he still has Grandma Owl’s love.
When a new addition is added to the family, children may feel the same emotions as little Ollie. It’s always comforting for them to know they are still loved and appreciated.
Grandpa moves from the country to live in the city with his granddaughter’s family. Grandpa really misses fishing, and his granddaughter wants to uplift her sad grandpa. The granddaughter decides to play pretend with her grandpa. Their imaginations lead them to capturing all kinds of city fish: laundry eels (laundry line), Capfish (hats), goldfish (gold necklaces), and more.
Grandma’s Gift by Eric Velasquez
A young boy spends time with his grandma who is originally from Puerto Rico and only knows Spanish, so he translates some things to her that she can’t read or understand. Some Spanish words are used throughout the book with English translations. The boy and his grandma go shopping, gather various ingredients, and spend quite a bit of time making pasteles. They later go to a museum together, where they learn about a man named Juan de Pareja they see in a painting. At the end of the book, the grandson receives a special gift from his grandma.
How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan
This is a silly how-to book from one grandchild to another. In the book, the child talks about what to do when grandpa arrives at the house, what snacks to enjoy, what to do on a walk, how to entertain and play, what to do during his naptime, how to wake him up, and how to say good-bye. There is quite a bit of humor throughout the book such as making sure to put sunscreen on grandpa – “especially the top of his head” with a picture of the grandchild dousing grandpa’s bald head with sunscreen.
How to Babysit a Grandma by Jean Reagan
Similar to How to Babysit a Grandpa, this book goes through the steps of how to babysit a grandma. The grandpa and grandson from How to Babysit a Grandpa make an appearance in a picture at the park in this book. The tips on babysitting a grandma are different from babysitting a grandpa, so there are still humorous (and sweet) results without repeated information.
In addition to the 14 books I had read ahead of time, other books about grandparents were also mentioned at the picture book meeting. Below are 11 of the books we looked through at the meeting, which brings the total to 25 books about grandparents.
A young boy and his grandfather speak different languages, so they struggle with communication. Through comic strip type illustrations, the grandfather and grandson learn to communicate by drawing. Most of the story is told through the illustrations, so there are very few words.
Ocean Meets Sky by Terry Fan and Eric Fan
A young boy builds a boat to honor his grandfather who had passed away. The grandson goes on a grand adventure on the boat. At the end, his mom wakes him up from his exciting dream.
A Fire Truck Named Red by Randall de Seve
A young boy wants a brand new fire truck, but his grandpa gives him a fire truck he had as a child instead. The child is disappointed, but his grandfather tells him of some grand adventures he and his fire truck had when he was young. The grandpa spruces up the fire truck for the young boy, and the grandson realizes that he and the fire truck will make a great team (even if it isn’t brand new).
With many more pictures than words, this book shows two children on an imaginative search for their Halmoni (grandmother). They pass a hungry rabbit, goblins, a tiger, and a fox before finally reaching their Halmoni. Korean words are shown throughout the book with English translations at the end.
15 Things Not to Do with a Grandma by Margaret McAllister
Fifteen random things to not do with a grandma such as “don’t hide an elephant in grandma’s bed” are given. Some things to do with a grandma are mentioned towards the end of the story.
A young grandchild bear talks about his grandpa bear getting older and forgetting things, but they still find things they can do together. It has very simple text with only one line on each page.
A boy wants to go outside, but his grandpa keeps telling him no because it is raining. The rain finally stops, so the grandchild goes out to mail a letter with his grandpa. As they are outside, it begins to rain again resulting in some imaginative pictures. The grandpa and grandchild end the story with getting warm in the house.
In the Red Canoe by Leslie A. Davidson
A sweet rhyming book about a granddaughter spending time with her grandpa out on a canoe. They enjoy the scenery as they see beavers, fish, ducks, dragonflies, and more.
When We Were Alone by David Alexander Robertson
An inquisitive granddaughter asks her grandma “Nokom” many questions while working together in a garden. Her grandma responds by telling her granddaughter about tough times she endured at a residential school she attended when she was a little girl.
Me and My Grandma! by Alison Ritchie
A rhyming story about the different activities a grandma bear and her grandchild do together. Grandma bear can even do cartwheels down a hill! Grandma also gives bear hugs “to make everything right”.
Stolen Words by Melanie Florence
A granddaughter asks her grandfather about his Cree language, but he can’t remember the words. The grandfather tells his granddaughter about the struggles he faced while growing up that stole the words from him. The granddaughter finds a book with the Cree language to give to her grandpa so he can remember the words.
Do you have a favorite book about grandparents that I didn’t include here?