Books that celebrate grandparents — on Grandparents Day and every day

Grandparents. They are the hot sauce on our ribs, the fancy sprinkles on our cupcakes, and, if we are truly lucky, the whipped cream, nuts and cherries atop our sundaes.

Intergenerational moments are among life’s most precious.

More importantly, they are our stories, our very own histories, and we owe them everything, literally. Whether or not they are here to share them in person, their stories are definitely worth dining out on, so serve them up to your kids, and taste those of others. It will feed their souls, and yours. Happy Grandparents’ Day!

“Abuela” by Arthur Dorros. Elisa Kleven, illustrator.
Rosalba and her abuela often walk in Central Park. One day, Rosalba decides they should fly. Gorgeous art and simple Spanish and English text.

“The Bee Tree” by Patricia Polacco. Grandpa takes bored Mary Ellen on a wild and crazy bee-tree hunt. Honey finally in hand, she gets a lesson in the many varieties of sweetness.

“Bigmama’s” by Donald Crews. African-American city kids have summer adventures on a rural Florida farm with their grandparents.

“Grandpa & Bo” by Kevin Henkes. A boy spends his summers on his grandpa’s farm, enjoying nature and granddad’s company.

“Grandpa Green” by Lane Smith. A boy learns about his amazing great-grandfather’s life by helping tend his magical, memory-filled topiary garden. Extraordinary.

“The Hello, Goodbye Window” by Norton Juster. Chris Raschka, illustrator. A little girl’s visit to her bi-racial Poppy and Nanna begins and ends with a big picture window. What happens in the middle is childhood delight.

“Here Comes Grandma!” by Janet Lord. Julie Paschkis, illustrator.
This devoted grandmother is coming to visit, by golly, and she is going to use every means at her disposal to get there.

“How to Babysit a Grandma”/“How to Babysit a Grandpa” by Jean Reagan. Lee Wildish, illustrator. Hilarious companion instruction manuals for grandkids tasked with looking after a grandfather for the afternoon or a grandmother overnight.

“The Keeping Quilt” by Patricia Polacco. The women of a Russian Jewish immigrant family make a quilt to remember the old country that is lovingly used and handed down through four generations.

“Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion” by Mo Willems. Oma and Opa live in Holland, and Trixie and family fly there. Trixie’s rabbit has made other travel plans, however…

“Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt de la Pena. Christian Robinson, illustrator. While taking the cross-town bus, CJ’s Nana helps give him a new perspective on poverty and wealth.

“Lucky Pennies and Hot Chocolate” by Carol Diggory Shields. Hiroe Nakata, illustrator. The storyteller loves to spend time with his favorite person in the world because both love games, snacks, car rides and knock-knock jokes.

“The Matchbox Diary” by Paul Fleischman. Bagram Ibatoulline, illustrator. While visiting her great-grandfather, a girl discovers a cigar box full of tiny matchboxes, each containing a piece of his past. Wonderful stories ensue.

“Me With You” by Kristy Dempsey. Christopher Denise, illustrator.
Grandpa and granddaughter Bear cherish each other and their together time, in rhyme and lovely pictures.

“Miss Rumphius” by Barbara Cooney. Inspired by her adored artist grandfather, Miss Rumphius strives to do something to make the world more beautiful.

“Nana in the City” by Lauren Castillo. When her grandson visits her home in the big city, he is frightened by all the noise and bustle. Nana gives him a gift that helps him be brave and enjoy his new surroundings.

“They Call Him Grumpa” by Bonnie Apperson Jacobs and Teri Mainwaring. Adam Turner, illustrator. Brady can’t be fooled, he knows his grandfather and best friend isn’t really the “Grumpa” that other family members think he is.

…and coming soon — another grandparents’ book by these local authors

“Grammy Likes Me Best” by Bonnie Apperson Jacobs and Teri Mainwaring and illustrated by Adam Turner, won’t be published until October, but the Phoenix-based authors of “They Call Him Grumpa” are previewing their new picture book in a series of reading events for Grandparents’ Day and beyond. Interested schools, preschools, community groups and booksellers can contact them at:

The delightful “Grammy” revisits the big, busy extended Walker family of “Grumpa” fame. Each one of Grammy Pammy’s three grandchildren gets special, one-on-one, alone time with her, so naturally, each one believes that Grammy likes him or her best of all. But who is her real favorite? Find out when you hear this fun preschool to second grade read-aloud.

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