I miss my grandparents. Even though the themes were dark, it was comforting to remember my grandfather through my ‘child’ eyes when reviewing Say Nothing. So, with a nod to my Gram as well, I’m dedicating this Friday Favourites list to her. I’m certain that I will again write of our closeness and the unique relationship we shared, as she is often on my mind. Until then, please enjoy this list of the Top 5 Picture Books About Grandmas, in honour of mine.
You might have seen me say this before, but it bears repeating: books are my favourite things to give as gifts. These storybooks are the perfect presents for new moms, young children, and even grandmas who will love to read them to their dear grandkids every time they see them.
From sensitive topics like Alzheimer’s and death to carefree adventures through magical realism or a day at the beach, each book offers its unique perspective on the relationship between a grandmother and her grandchild.
Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola
If there was a story on the list that hits me dead centre of my heart, it’s this one. My son had such a special relationship with my grandmother, so seeing little Tommy fastened in his chair alongside Nana upstairs made me melt.
This heartfelt tale is a tear-jerker, so be prepared before you brandish it at bedtime to an unsuspecting little one. It’s never easy to talk to a child about death, but a simple, beautifully illustrated book like this can be just the thing to assist a child’s understanding of something that we as adults struggle to comprehend. I feel similarly about I’ll Love You Forever by Robert Munsch.
Abuela is flying high above New York City with her granddaughter Rosalba in this richly detailed and colourful story.
Magic is suffused with history, culture, and devotion to family as we follow this beloved pair along their journey. Readers are treated to a mix of English and intuitive Spanish, making this a super choice for teaching little ones the family language, and who better to learn with than Abuela?
Go Grandma Go! is the only board book on our list and appeals chiefly to babies. Bright colours, fun activities, and never-ending energy are on the agenda in this adorable little book, as each page shares a different grandma and her grandchild having a blast together.
Just Grandma and Me by Mercer Mayer
My son and I have been reading Little Critter stories by Mercer Mayer since the beginning – and I mean since he was in the womb, haha. Reading these books now provides him a window to nostalgia at the ripe old age of 7. Short, sweet, and funny like most Little Critter adventures we know and love, this one was sure to make this list.
A Doll For Grandma: A Story About Alzheimer’s Disease by Paulette Bochnig Sharkey
What a great story! Alzheimer’s is an invasive disease that can rip the minds of the people we love away from us like a greedy thief in the night. Explaining to a child that someone who looks the same as they always had physically, isn’t mentally, can be a tall order, and I wouldn’t know where to start.
Both brilliant and educational, author Paulette Bochnig Sharkey shares with us the ingenuity of a child as Kiera comes up with a creative solution to bonding with her changing grandmother.
Included at the end of the story is a page that explains to parents how best to help their children understand Alzheimer’s, making this book an absolute treasure for those in need.
Do you know any more great tales about grandmas, whether they be picture book or novel? Who are some of your favourite grandmas in fiction? My son and I really enjoyed the hippie grandmother in Aliens on Vacation which we read recently. You can hear her character in the excerpt I read here if you’re interested.