Tag Archives: picture books about grandparents

17 picture books featuring grandparents





Here are some of my favorite picture books that feature Nana or Grandad and the special relationship kids can have with them. 



Last Stop on Market Street, words by Matt De La Peña, pictures by Christian Robinson. I love the lines next to CJ’s grandmother’s mouth that, in Robinson’s signature style, are all we need to know she’s Nana. And that last stop is so worth it!  This book explores many things, including seeing unexpected beauty and the power of generosity.


infinity-and-meInfinity and Me written by Kate Gosford, illustrations by Gabi Swiatkowska. Uma ponders her red shoes and the concept of infinity, and it’s her grandma’s love that helps it all make sense.



Joone by Emily Kate Moon. A portrait of a spunky girl who happens to live with her grandfather makes for a sweet read.


now-one-foot-now-the-otherNow One Foot, Now the Other by Tomie dePaola. This one is sure to make you cry and highlights the way childhood mirrors growing old. So tender.



Grandama’s Gloves by Cecil Castellucci, illustrated by Julia Denos. Another touching picture book about grandparents! This one deals with the loss of a grandmother, but the theme is how she’ll always be present in memory, in growing things.


grandfather's-journeyGrandfather’s Journey by Allen Say. This is one of my all time favorite books.  A grandson telling the story of his grandfather torn between two places.



Zayde Comes to Live by Sheri Sinykin, illustrated by Kristina Swarner. This is another book dealing with loss. A girl’s grandfather comes to live with her family in his final days. It’s very explicit about death and questions of an afterlife and comes to beautiful conclusions about life.


grammy-lambyGrammy Lamby and the Secret Handshake by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise. This picture book is about a grandson who comes around to his grandmother (lamb-mother). It’s funny and teary and true.



abuelo-picture-bookAbuelo by Arthur Dorros, illustrated by Raúl Colōn. This one shows how instrumental a grandparent can be, how much he has to teach, how wide his reach.



A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubinno. This is basically a sweet, fun guidebook to the city, with Grandpa leading the way.


my-abuelitaMy Abuelita by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Yuyi Morales. A grandson admires and wants to emulate his Abuelita and her vocation as storyteller.


maia-and-what-mattersMaia and What Matters by Tine Mortier and Kaatje Vermeire. Not only does this book look gorgeous, it tells a gorgeous story of a bond between Maia and her grandmother, before and after her grandma’s health begins to fail.



The Frank Show by David Mackintosh. A lighter look at the subject of grandparents and, again, a grandson who needs some time to come around to how cool retro Grandpa Frank truly is. (But we as readers know right away.)


nana-in-the-cityNana in the City by Lauren Castillo. This grandma is super cool. I mean, look at her. Plus, she teaches her grandson how to be brave.

hello-goodbye-windowThe Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster and Chris Raschka. Here we have a pair! Nana and Poppy are always looking through that window, which is so reassuring and sweet.


the-grandad-treeThe Grandad Tree by Trish Cookie, illustrated by Sharon Wilson. Another book that explores how we remember grandparents, this time through an apple tree that serves as symbol.


grandpa-greenGrandpa Green by Lane Smith. A book about the Edward Scissorhands of (great) grandparents. And it gives a child a glimpse into the enigmatic, unknown life of older family members.


Did I miss any other great (or grand) ones? Do share! 

maia and what matters + grey is good

maiaandwhatmattersMaia and What Matters by Tine Mortier, illustrated by Kaatje Vermeire. Originally published in Belgium, translated by David Colmer.


You can tell by the cover how gorgeous this book is. It’s the story of Maia. When she was born. The cherry tree in the garden. That her first word was “cake.”


It’s the story of Maia and her grandmother, her best friend.






The two of them ran from the cherry tree to the fence. They ate cake and sweets. They told stories.



Quite abruptly, the illustrations go dark. Grandma falls down. Then she falls into a sleep. And when she wakes up, she’s different.


“In her sleep, Grandma had forgotten all kinds of things. How to eat cake and how to run and how to tell stories. ‘What’s going on? Why is everything so hard all of a sudden?’ Grandma was sitting up straight in a white bed on wheels with a kind of fence around it. Maia thought she was sitting much too still.”



It is heartbreaking when things change. But Maia copes quite well. In fact, when her grandma’s words are slow and strange and her mouth droops, Maia is the only one who understands. Maia is the one who still sees and hears her grandmother. And when more heartbreak comes, Maia and Grandma are together.

This is not a typical picture book, nor a typical book about loss. And I love what it gets at: the unique bond a child can have with a grandparent or other special senior. How sometimes there is only one person who sees beyond the changes illness brings. And how sometimes that person is a child who loves them.


Thanks to Book Island for the images! Based in New Zealand, Book Island specializes in children’s books translated to English. 

I was provided a review copy of this book; opinions are my own. 



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Grey Power is a lovely project to pair with this amazing grandparent book.

Yoni Lefevre asked four 10-11 year olds to draw a portrait of their grandparents the way they thought of them. The result? Juggling, gardening, multi-armed, tennis-playing older folks. Then Lefevre staged photo portraits based on the kids’ drawings. Hence, Grey Power. Because the oldest generations have so much still to share.


GREY-POWER1a“For ‘Grey Power’ I used drawings made by children of their grandparents, to create an image boost for this generation. Children do not regard their grandparents as grey and withered, but as active human beings who add color to their lives. Their fresh perspective can contribute towards a more nuanced and positive view on the composition of our society.”

                                                              —Yoni Lefevre


I love the results. The staged photos manage to capture the whimsy and strangeness of the drawings with real people. I mean, those bubbly, 3D shirts! And they show older folks doing awesome stuff. As they do.






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