With memories to share, knowledge to pass along and the power to positively impact younger generations, grandparents are grand indeed! These books honor our cherished elder family members.
Alison Jay’s heartfelt Looking for Yesterday pays tribute to the guidance only grandparents can provide. The boy at the center of the story longs for yesterday—a day so fabulous, he wants a repeat. But how can he go back and reexperience it? Via time machine? Supersonic rocket? Maybe a wormhole?
The boy considers these time-travel options and turns to Granddad for help. “Yesterday was a wonderful day,” Granddad tells him, “but there are many more happy days to come.” Granddad then provides evidence, sharing anecdotes from his own life while flipping through a photo album with the boy. As it turns out, Granddad has done some remarkable things, like flying in a hot air balloon and climbing a snowy mountain. “Every day brings the chance of a new adventure,” he says.
Jay’s winsome paintings have a timeless, classic quality. Readers will fall for magical scenes of the boy soaring with his dog in a rocket and sliding down a wormhole. Emphasizing the importance of focusing on the here and now, this is a title to be treasured.
Samantha Berger’s exuberant I Love My Glam-Ma! features a diverse lineup of glamorous grandmothers who are aging more than gracefully—they’re infusing the experience with youthful enthusiasm and full-on flair. These abuelas, omas and nanas possess an energy that’s infectious (“Glam-mas don’t just come over. . . . They make a grand entrance!”) and always have treats for the grandkids (“Glam-mas don’t just carry a purse. . . . They carry a treasure chest!”). Fashionable and feisty, the ladies are equally at ease rocking out at a concert, cooking in the kitchen or building a sandcastle on the beach.
Artist Sujean Rim dresses the glam-mas to the nines in chic, patterned outfits accessorized with funky hats and glasses. Her watercolor-and-collage illustrations are a perfect match for this stylish story. While saluting women who are aging with attitude, the book also emphasizes the special bond that exists between grandmothers and grandchildren, and it ends on a tender note of love.
Wendy Meddour sensitively explores coping with grief in Grandpa’s Top Threes. Henry, an inquisitive little boy, is puzzled by Grandpa’s silence. Henry tries to get him to play trains, but Grandpa remains taciturn and tends to the garden. “Grandpa’s ears aren’t working,” Henry tells his mom. “Just give him time,” she says. Clearly, something is amiss. Henry finally draws Grandpa out by quizzing him about his favorites—his top three sandwiches, top three jellyfish and top three animals at the zoo. As the game progresses and Grandpa plays along, the reader comes to realize that his silence has been caused by the loss of someone special.
Daniel Egnéus’ richly detailed watercolor illustrations provide a delightful backdrop for this moving tale. Henry’s love for his grandpa shines through, and his story demonstrates the power that family members possess—regardless of age or experience—to lift each other up. Providing a fresh approach to the topic of loss, this big-hearted book shows how love works across generations to unite young and old.
In Elina Ellis’ bubbly The Truth About Grandparents, the young lad who serves as narrator dispels the misconceptions that he’s heard about grandparents—they’re “slow and clumsy” and “scared of new things”—by using his own grandma and grandpa as examples. As the story unfolds, it becomes obvious that while his grandparents are getting on in years, they’re nowhere close to slowing down and still love to have fun. In fact, there’s no stopping these two!
Ellis depicts the couple as a spry pair who complement one another (Grandma’s curvy; Grandpa’s lean and gangly) and appreciate love and affection as much as ever. They’re still eager to experience life, whether it’s taking a yoga class or going on a roller-coaster ride. Both have a sense of curiosity and are up for an adventure with their grandson, even if it’s just dancing in the living room.
Ellis’ drawings combine lively lines with vivid washes of color. Her book is a great way to introduce the topic of aging to youngsters and help them better understand—and appreciate—their elders.