Read, Discuss, Do! Book List: Books about Grandparents
By Tina Cho
With Grandparent’s Day this month, September is a perfect time to celebrate grandparents by reading picture books about them. These books include all kinds of grandparents, near and far, who all share something in common--they love spending time with their grandchildren.
I hope this list of 13 grandparent books inspires your children to spend time with their grandparents or elderly friends. Who knows what traditions and stories will be learned in this intergenerational relationship?
Ideas for things to DISCUSS:
What are some favorite activities you like to do with your grandparents?
What memories do you have of your grandparents?
What are your favorite foods that Grandma or Grandpa make?
What tradition can you learn from your grandparents?
Ideas for things to DO:
Blow up balloons and share a grandparent memory for each balloon.
Make a special family recipe together.
If your grandparents speak another language, practice words from their language or listen to them read a book in their language.
Prepare a gift to give to each other.
Babysit your grandparent.
Read a book to your grandparent or play a game with them.
And now, for the list!
How to Babysit a Grandma by Jean Reagan, illustrated by Lee Wildish
How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan, illustrated by Lee Wildish
These how-to stories are full of fun ideas for kids who want to babysit their grandparents! With a full list, the grandchild expertly leads in exciting things such as playing at the park, baking, dressing up, doing a puppet show, building a pirate cave, etc… How would you babysit your grandparent?
In Plain Sight by Richard Jackson, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Grandpa, who is restricted to a wheelchair, lives with Sophie, and every day he has “lost” some item that is “in plain sight” for Sophie to find. Through the pages, readers glimpse the close, playful relationship these two treasure. Pinkney’s lush watercolor illustrations give kids plenty to look at!
The Remember Balloons...by Jessie Oliveros, illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
This poignant story is about a boy and his grandpa who share memories in the form of balloons until Grandpa no longer remembers. This book can be used to discuss elderly with alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Dumplings for Lili by Melissa Iwai
In this diverse book, Lilli and Nai Nai are cooking bao, but Nai Nai has run out of cabbage. Lilli goes from apartment floor to apartment floor asking grandmas of various cultures for ingredients as they are all making different dumplings. A fun book introducing cultural foods!
Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina, illustrated by Angela Dominguez
In this book, Abuela comes to live with MIa. She learns English, and in turn, MIa learns Spanish with the help of a parrot. Use this book to discuss families with bilingual children and grandparents who speak another language.
Drawn Together by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat
A grandson is dropped off at his grandfather’s to an awkward time of not understanding each other’s languages until they find a common language of drawing art together. Perhaps this book can also be used to discuss grandparents who speak another language and how we can find similarities among our differences.
Grandma’s Purse by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
A granddaughter loves when Mimi comes over because she has all sorts of treasures in her purse such as lipstick so she can give her granddaughter a big kiss, earrings to feel extra fancy, and sweets for when her granddaughter gets squirmy in church. But on the very bottom is something extra special! What treasures does your grandparent have?
I Dream of Popo by Livia Blackburne, illustrated by Julia Kuo
A young girl emigrates from Taiwan to the United States but has to leave Popo, her grandmother behind. Readers see this long distance relationship kindled and her visit back to visit Popo. Many children have grandparents overseas or even in another state. Use this book to discuss how to keep a healthy relationship.
The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story by Tina Cho, illustrated by Jess X. Snow
This story is based upon Korean women divers, most who are between 50-80 years of age and dive without breathing equipment. Dayeon wants to be a haenyeo like her grandmother but must first conquer her fear of deep water. Back matter shares facts about the haenyeo tradition.
This book might encourage discussions about traditions that can be passed down to the grandchild.
When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L.B. Deenihan, illustrated by Lorraine Rocha
When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox by Jamie L.B. Deenihan, illustrated by Lorraine Rocha
What should grandchildren do with gifts they don’t want? Do’s and don’t’s are listed in each of these books. The grandchildren discover their unexpected gifts actually get them what was on their birthday lists. These books could be used to discuss how to act when given a gift you don’t really like.
Grandma Snuggles by Glenys Nellist, illustrated by Gail Yerrill
This is a sweet snuggly story with a variety of animal kids and their grandparents from pandas to hedgehogs to ducks and more. The animal kids thank God for their grandmas and praise the wonderful things they like to do together and the qualities that make Grandma’s snuggles the best. Children might discuss what makes snuggles with their grandma precious.
Do you have any favorite books about grandparents? Let us know in the comments!