Books by Theme
Whether they call them Grandma and Grandpa, Nana and Pop Pop, or Abuelita and Abuelito, kids love their grandparents. By whatever name, grandparents are special to young children, always ready with a hug. You can read about and enjoy all kinds of grandparents in this list of recommended books for kids ages 0-9. After all, sometimes the best part of being a parent is getting to be a grandparent!
Rosalba imagines flying over New York City with her much loved abuela. The young girl uses a lovely mix of English and Spanish to describe their journey, moving from the busy streets of Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty. Brightly colored illustrations detail what Rosalba and her grandmother glimpse as they fly, and the rich tales of Abuela's memories.
Grace loves to act, but one day some kids tell her she can't play the part of Peter Pan because of the way she looks. Grace's grandmother helps this young girl realize that with effort anything can be achieved. An inspiring and heartwarming story.
Every year the narrator and his family take a trip down to Cottondale, Florida, to visit his grandmother, Bigmama. This autobiographical story recalls the joys of summer and the contrast between the author's life in the city and Bigmama’s lush, rural home. While the illustrations suggest it was a period of segregation, this thought never overpowers the carefree summer celebration.
Cherry Pies and Lullabies
Three generations bake a pie, make a crown of flowers, pass on a handmade quilt, and share a lullaby. Each time “it was the same, but different,” highlighting the connections between generations. Vividly colored, child-like illustrations effectively complement the rhythmic text. See also the bilingual version, Tortillas and Lullabies/Tortillas y cancioncitas.
Love and caring extend across generations and cultures as a young Jewish girl from a Russian background and two African-American boys work creatively to get their gramma, Miss Eula, an Easter hat. Illustrations detail the warmth of the relationships as well as the subtleties of their different backgrounds.
When Vinson's grandfather visits from China, the boy has conflicting feelings about his grandfather's old ways. A visit to Chinatown to experience the lion dancers celebrate the Chinese New Year bring Ming Da (Vinson) and his grandfather closer. Watercolor and ink illustrations add power to the warm, plausible story.
Juno can barely wait to open the letter that has arrived from his grandmother in Seoul, but he needs his parents to read it since it's written in Korean! Finally he decides he can wait no longer and he finds inside a leaf and a photo of a cat. Juno responds by drawing pictures for his grandmother, and when she sends him a pack of colored pencils, he knows she would like more of his letters. This quiet, beautiful story celebrates the joy of exchanging letters with a loved one and the importance of maintaining strong family ties no matter the distance.
A child visits his grandfather but has trouble communicating; they literally don’t speak the other’s language. That is until they find another way to share thoughts and feelings through art. As each of them expresses himself creating unique superheroes, two generations are drawn together. Universal emotions are placed in a specific but nonetheless moving context.
When J.D. first meets Georgie Lee, a cow, on his grandmother’s farm, he doesn’t think she’s very smart or even very gentle. During the course of the summer, however, they share many adventures and J.D. comes to agree with Grandmother: Georgie Lee is not only smart and gentle, she’s shrewd and funny and helps make the summer very special.
Say narrates the saga of his grandfather who as a young man travels to the United States in the early 20th century, marries, and returns to Japan. Watercolor portraits of people and places glimpse the contrast of cultures and parallel the lives of grandfather and grandson. It could lead to a discovery of family histories. Country of origin: Japan
Set in Zimbabwe, Kukamba leaves the city to visit her grandmother, Gugu, in her small village. Gugu has painted her home with vivid colors and patterns, and has sculpted many animals including a larger-than-life zebra. She is an artist and she shares her secrets of mixing the colors for paint. The rains come and the village is overjoyed. Kukamba is upset because the paintings and sculptures have all washed away, but Gugu shows her that nature has emerged with her own colors after the rain.
Gus and Grandpa and Show-and-Tell
Gus despairs of coming up with something interesting and impressive for his second grade class' show-and-tell, until he gets a great idea while visiting his Grandpa. Gus and his wise grandfather share each other's company and experiences in other books including basketball jitters and Halloween fears.
Gus and Grandpa at Basketball
It is Grandpa’s sage advice that helps Gus overcome his fear and play the best game of basketball he can. Gus learns to play on the court just like when he practices in Grandpa’s driveway. The gentle tone of the story is reflected in the illustrations to tell a tale that rings true. (Look for other Gus and Grandpa stories by Claudia Mills.)
I Love Saturdays y domingos
A girl visits both sets of grandparents on weekends. On Saturdays, she speaks English with Grandpa and Grandma, while on Sundays, los domingos, she speaks Spanish with Abeulito and Abeulita. The format provides a glimpse at the subtle differences between cultures and highlights their similarities, one of which is each set of grandparents' love for their granddaughter. Spanish words are interspersed in the fluid text.
Last Stop on Market Street
A slightly grumpy CJ asks his grandma why they have to take a bus across town every Sunday after church. Her answers are playful, wise, and effective; CJ admits he's glad they came to see their friends at the soup kitchen where they serve. Bright, stylized illustrations and rich, well-paced language presents a warm relationship and a diverse urban locale. (2016 Newbery Medal Winner)
Liliana's grandmother Mima lives up the street, does yoga exercises, and likes crossword puzzles. Liliana's other grandmother, Mama Gabina, lives in South America, enjoys gardening, and likes to dance around the house. The meals they cook are very different, the stories they tell are different, but one thing about them is the same: they both love their granddaughter. And Liliana adores them. Leyla Torres's watercolors show all the warmth and homeyness that are intrinsic in special family relationships.
It was cold and snowy when Grandma and Grandpa left their home in Maine to live in California. Lily, the young narrator, fills each month with activities that range from collecting sap to planting a garden. After a whole year has passed, Grandma and Grandpa return in December to share Christmas with Lily and her family in New England. Illustrated sidebars extend the text and provide additional information about Lily’s garden over the months.
Mango, Abuela, and Me
Mia must share her room with Abuela but she and her grandmother can’t even speak the same language! How they grow comfortable with each other and learn to communicate – even without language – is affectionately conveyed through Mia’s narration and gentle, warm illustrations.
More, More, More Said the Baby
In each of these three short, colorfully illustrated stories, the grandmother loves her Little Pumpkin as only a doting grandmother can. Chubby, multi-ethnic children are brightly portrayed in sparkling watercolors.
"Abuelita's hair is the color of salt. Her face is as crinkled as a dried chile. She booms out words as wild as blossoms blooming. She stuffs her carcacha — her jalopy — with all the things she needs: a plumed snake, a castle, a skeleton, and more. Her grandson knows he has the most amazing grandmother ever — with a very important job. What does Abuelita do? Readers will enjoying guessing in this story sprinkled with Spanish and infused with love." — Amazon Review
Product Description: Every Saturday, Maria Lili looks forward to making chicken sancocho with her grandparents. But one Saturday they discover that there is nothing in the house except eggs. Mama Ana has a plan, though, and taking the eggs with her, she invites Maria Lili to come to the market. Bold, cheerful watercolors evoke the busy atmosphere of the village markets of Central and South America. Reading Rainbow Book.
Soonie's great grandmother was only seven-years-old when sold to the big plantation. A quilt that showed the way to freedom and chronicled the family's history connects the generations, and continues to do so. Idealized illustrations and the poetic text provide an unusual family story.
Song and Dance Man
Grandpa regales his visiting grandchildren when he revisits his days as a song and dance man — complete with banjo and jokes. Illustrations sparkle, showing Grandpa once again young and the delight his revisited youth creates.
The Bee Tree
When Mary Ellen gets bored with her reading, Grandpa knows a hunt for a bee tree is just what she needs. Half the town joins the exciting chase, but it's not until everyone returns home that Mary Ellen makes a discovery of her own: Sometimes, even the sweetest of things must be worked for.
The Have a Good Day Cafe
Mike's Korean grandmother is still adjusting to her move to the U.S. While Mike helps her learn English, she helps the family, which owns a food cart, beat stiff competition. The family once did a good business serving pizza, bagels, and hot dogs on a busy corner, but now two other carts serving similar fare have moved in. Mike's idea — to serve delicious Korean specialties that only Grandma knows how to make — saves the business and also helps Grandma feel at home. — Booklist
The Hello, Goodbye Window
The window at Nanna and Poppy's house looks like a regular window, but it's really a doorway to the child's world and a celebration of the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren. Celebrate family with this 2006 Caldecott Medal-winning book.
The Keeping Quilt
A quilt started by the author's great grandmother is passed on through the generations to chronicle and recall the family's history.
The Moon Ring
Grandma and Maxine share a secret that started in the light of the blue moon – the second full moon in a month. Maxine finds a moon ring that transports her magically to any place she wants to go. Energetic illustrations depict Maxine’s fantastic journeys, punctuated by the silver-colored moon ring.
A girl and her grandmother prepare to visit the girl's father by packing a big lunch then boarding a bus. The joyful reunion takes place in a prison, emphasizing the love between a father and his daughter. Notes from both the author and illustrator complete this book.
When Grandmama Sings
Belle goes with her talented grandmother on a singing tour during a time of racial segregation in the south in the 1950s. Grandmama decides to continue performing up north "where things were a little easier for black people." Realistic watercolors help define the setting.
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