It’s wonderful when grandparents spend loving, quality time with their grandchildren. Such is the case in these picture books… children spending time with a grandparent, often it’s just time together but sometimes it’s sharing memories, adventures, or wisdom.
Picture Books with Stories of Loving Grandparents
Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo
The boy doesn’t like the city where Nana lives, it’s loud and scary. Nana gives him a fancy red cape that makes him feel very brave. And he and Nana walk through the city, discovering all that is wonderful about it. I loved how the cape helped the boy be brave. Wonderful!
Storm by Sam Usher
Tiny, Perfect Things by M.H. Clark, illustrated by Madeline Kloepper
Celebrate the wonder of ordinary, small things as a girl and her grandfather take a walk to notice all the tiny, perfect things; things like a yellow leaf, a snail, a red bottle cap, a flower growing through a sidewalk crack… When they arrive home, the little girl excitedly shares about the wonders she saw. Warm, earthy illustrations throughout.
Drawn Together by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat
Stunning artwork that shows how art can bring together generations separated by language and age. When a boy arrives at his grandfather’s house, he’s frustrated because his grandfather doesn’t speak English. Then the boy begins drawing himself as a caped-superhero. Excited, his grandfather contributes, drawing himself as a superhero — only one garbed in what may be a traditional Thai ceremonial dress. It’s beautiful on so many levels, metaphorically and literally.
Nana Akua Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker, illustrated by April Harrison
Zura feels nervous about Nana Akua visiting school for Grandparents Day because Nana has permanent African tribal marks on her face. When the day arrives, Nana Akua explains that she is from Ghana and the marks were a gift from her parents and she feels proud to wear them. She shows the class a quilt filled with other symbols from Ghana and each child gets to pick a symbol to wear on their face with face paint. Zura’s classmates love it and so do the other grandparents. It’s a beautiful moment that transforms Zura’s worry into pride for her family’s heritage. Gorgeous folk-art, expressive illustrations add such beauty to this special story.
Kiyoshi’s Walk by Mark Karlins, illustrated by Nicole Wong
Walk with Kiyoshi and his poet grandfather Eto through the town as his grandfather shows Kiyoshi where poems come from…When Eto stops to write a poem, Kiyoshi realizes that poems come from what you see, what you hear, what you imagine, and what you feel. “They passed by an old house with a tall wall around it. / They peeked through a crack, but could see only a stuffed bear on the ground. // Eto took out his pen and wrote: / His boy moved away. / Lying by the empty house. / A lonely bear waits.” Kiyoshi writes a poem, too. Then they walk home, seeing that in everything there is a poem. I LOVE this book so much!
Our Favorite Day by Joowon Oh
There’s a beauty in the predictability and minimal description of Papa’s daily routine. He gets up, drinks tea, waters the plants, and eventually goes into town. He gets his favorite lunch–dumplings. But on Thursday, it’s slightly different. In town, he buys craft supplies and gets two orders of dumplings to go. Then, he spends the afternoon with his granddaughter who is just as happy to see him as he is to see her. I love the joy in this relationship! And, I adore the exquisite paper-cut illustrations.
When the Snow Falls by Linda Booth Sweeney, illustrated by Jana Christy
Playful poetic language invites readers into a wonderland of multigenerational, multicultural family time in the snow. “Woods hush. Fields glisten. Wren sings. We listen.” The children sled, make snow angels, watch the snowy roads, and return home to a cozy fire next to grandma and grandpa. “Cocoa warms. Mittens puddle. Day dawdles. We cuddle.” This book feels like a warm and cozy hug.
I Really Want to See You, Grandma by Taro Gomi
The Most Beautiful Thing by Kao Kalia Yang, illustrated by Khoa Ld
Kalia’s Hmong family doesn’t have much money but they do have, her grandma helps her see, is beauty, heritage, and love.
A Morning with Grandpa by Sylvia Liu, illustrated by Christina Forshay
What strikes me immediately about this picture book is the warm-hearted, loving relationship between the grandpa and the granddaughter. Even when the granddaughter does things differently than her grandpa, he is very accepting of her silly ways. And vice-versa. In the end, they both learn from each other during their morning practices of Tai Chi and Yoga. Because it’s about being together, trying your best, and not being perfect.
Abuelo by Arthur Dorros, illustrated by Raul Colon
I’m in love with the illustrations in this bilingual picture book, and the lyrical story of a boy’s memories of his abuelo. His abuelo teaches him that there are many ways to be strong, fuerte; that it’s good to laugh, es bueno reirse; and to look, mira, at the stars. Even when the boy moves to the big city, his abuelo is always with him in spirit.
Grandpa Across the Ocean by Hyewon Yum
A little boy initially only notices their differences when he visits his grandpa in Korea. He notices their different language and the different smells and foods. But when he makes a mistake, his grandpa kindly gives the boy a peach. That shifts the boy’s attention. Now the boy finds all the things that they have in common — laughter, singing, their appearance, chocolate. When it’s time to leave, the boy can’t wait to visit again.
A Gift From Abuela by Celia Ruiz
Nanna’s Button Tin by Dianne Wolfer, illustrated by Heather Potter
Crouching Tiger by Ying Chang Compestine illustrated by Yan Nascimbene
This story captures a common story of feeling embarrassed about being different. When Vinson’s grandpa from China visits, Vinson is embarrassed. However, Vinson learns grandpa is a martial-arts master and starts to see him as someone to be proud of. The elements of Chinese culture like tai chi and clothing give readers some important cultural insight.
French Toast by Kari-Lynn Winters Illustrated by Francois Thisdale
My Grandma and Me by Mina Javaherbin, illustrated by Lindsey Yankey
Mina writes a beautiful, atmospheric tribute to her grandma in this story of growing up in Iran buying bread, playing, and going to prayers but mostly spending loving time with her grandma. The illustrations with intricate patterns and muted colors set a warm, comforting tone.
Ten Ways to Hear Snow by Cathy Camper, illustrated by Kenard Pak
Lina walks through the snow to her Grandma’s house. As she walks, she notices the sounds of snow. Her boots on the ground sound like “snyak, snyek, snyuk.” People sweeping snow off their cars make a “swish-wish, swish-wish.” She hears the snow with things like mittens, skis, snowballs, shovels, too. When she arrives at her Grandma’s they cook together, eat, and listen to the stillness of the snow. This story’s lovely illustrations combined with the sensory images in the text give readers an immersive experience of this snowy day.