Tag Archives: grandparents


GRANDPARENTS – they are full of stories, experiences and wisdom. What can grandparents share with their grandchildren and how can we learn from their stories? These (picture) books all share the love and memories children have of their elders and the stories they can tell. The past leads to the future…

Sometimes you come across a book so perfect that is forms a whole world on its own. Green Papayas by Nhung N. Tran-Davies, illustrated by Gillian Newland is such a book. The illustrations, alternating between light coloured pages and dark, subdued ones, the text and the design work together to tell a touching story. 

Three young children play in muddle puddles when their mother calls them to gather around Oma’s bed. She’s been in hospital and can’t remember their names. But the mother tells her mother’s story of caring for her children during difficult times. Oma grew food, fed and clothed them. She kept them safe during a war and eventually managed to get them to a new country where they could start over. While the moon watches over them, Oma passes away and the family gathers to remember and be grateful. ISBN 978-0889955608, Red Deer Press

Every Wrinkle Has A Story is told by Israeli author David Grossman, illustrated by Italian artist Ninamasina. Like many Groundwood books, this one is unique and touching.

Grandpa Amnon picks Yotam up from school and, on their way home, they often stop at a neighborhood cafe. There, tucked in a corner, Yotam asks about grandpa’s wrinkles. What caused them? How will a face know to make wrinkles? He discovers that wrinkles come in different shapes. Some were made by sad things, others by laughing about happy things. In the end, Yotam is inspired to draw grandpa’s wrinkles on paper. ISBN 978-1-77306-827-5, Groundwood Books

Molly Misses Nainai by Emman Chen, illustrated by Sean Huang, is the story of Molly whose grandmother has been with her always but who needs to now return to China because her visa has expired. Molly misses her so much that she packs her suitcase and follows the snowy road from her home in Canada. Molly’s mom fetches her and together they reminisce about grandmother. And when grandmother joins Molly on her ipad and sings her favourite lullaby, Molly knows that she will always be there. A touching story about grandparents far away, with beautiful, tender illustrations. A good picture book to share with students who can relate to this problem because their grandparents live in another country. ISBN 978-0889956889, Red Deer Press.

When I Visited Grandma by Saumiya Balasubramaniam, illustrated by Kavita Ramchandran, is the story of Maya who can’t believe she is finally visiting her grandma in India. Grandma is not impressed by Maya’s fashion of ripped pants and wants to fix them for her. Together they go to the market where Maya is overwhelmed by sights and sounds. And everyone want to visit her, bringing gifts of food. All those friendly neighbors are too much for Maya. When grandma lands in hospital, Maya wants to visit her but she can’t say goodbye before having to fly back home. Luckily, grandma soon calls her on her iPad and Maya is happy to know grandma will be fine. This picturebook paints a nice picture of two very different places and a common bond that overcomes the distance between them. ISBN 978-1-77306-833-6, Groundwood 

Grandpa’s Stars by Carolyn Huizinga Mills, illustrated by Samantha Lucy Haslam is a celebration of constellations.

A child from the city gets to stay with her grandpa in the country. But at grandpa’s house it is too dark to sleep as branches cast scary shadows. Until grandpa shows his grandchild the night sky, where millions of pin pricks of light dance and make amazing pictures – the ‘lights of your imagination’ grandpa says. And when grandpa has to go to hospital and the child is sad, they knows just what to do: recreate those lights and shapes on the bedroom ceiling!  ISBN 978-1554554638, Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Kaiah’s Garden by Melanie Florence and Karlene Harvey.

Based on traditional beadwork, this is the story of Kaiah who has just moved to a new house in a new street in a new city. But all Kaiah wants is to be back at grandmother’s house. This new house smells different and she misses her grandmother. But the beadwork they had made together helps her to remember: the roses, the turtle, the sun of grandmother’s garden. And the traditional beadwork encourages her to create a beautiful new garden at her new house, that might not be so bad after all. ISBN 978-1443190251, North Winds Press

Margriet Ruurs is a writer of many books for children. She loves to learn about different countries and cultures through books. For school visits cantact her: www.margrietruurs.com