The best grandmother books

2 authors have picked their favorite books about grandmothers and why they recommend each book.

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Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

By Wendelin Van Draanen,

Book cover of Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief

When Sammy Keyes witnesses a burglary, she must solve the crime before the thief catches her! Sammy is clever, sneaky, sassy, and brave. Her actress mother is too busy for her, she doesn’t have a father, and she’s living illegally with her grandma in a seniors-only hotel. Exciting, mysterious, and funny! Not many series go past three books, but super sleuth Sammy stars in 18 books! I collected the whole series.

Who am I?

My love for magical and mysterious books was inspired by Harriet the Spy, Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton, and Harry Potter. Since I was 8 years old, I longed to write my own mystery series—SO I DID! My latest mystery series, The Curious Cat Spy Club, is based on my own childhood club. My friends and I played cryptic games, spied on suspicious neighbors, and helped abandoned kittens. I love writing about mysteries + animals. And I’m excited to share my favorite mysterious and magical books with you!!


I wrote...

The Curious Cat Spy Club, #1

By Linda Joy Singleton,

Book cover of The Curious Cat Spy Club, #1

What is my book about?

Runaway zorse!! When a zebra-horse hybrid gallops down the street, aspiring spy Kelsey Case joins the chase—and finds three tiny kittens left to die in a dumpster. Kelsey and her new friends, Becca and Leo, can’t keep the kittens, so they secretly form the Curious Cat Spy Club. They care for the kittens and solve mysteries to help animals.

Rou and the Great Race

By Pam Fong,

Book cover of Rou and the Great Race

This book is the first of its kind. It is a dystopian picture book. Flowers are almost non-existent. It’s a rarity. So, every year, there is an annual race. Rou wants to win, but not for her. She wants the flowers for her grandmother. I love that she put someone before her. This book is gorgeously illustrated and the message of what you would do to please the ones you love is abundantly clear. I love this book.


Who am I?

I write fiction and nonfiction. I tell the truth, but on occasion, I twist the truth to create entertaining stories to feed your soul like soul food Sunday. I write for kids: for the teeny tots and rebel rousers. Stories both short and long with characters brave, bold, and strong. Settings that transport you to a world so captivating, you don’t want to leave. My stories are like quilts, threaded with themes of love, hope, family, and food. They provide comfort, keeping you hopeful through times of despair. I handle your heart, mind, and soul with care. I love seeing children have agency on the page. I love that they do them, and they are unapologetic about what they do. 


I wrote...

Soul Food Sunday

By Winsome Bingham, C.G. Esperanza (illustrator),

Book cover of Soul Food Sunday

What is my book about?

A young boy comes of age and Granny teaches him to prepare the dishes for their Sunday soul food meal. The young boy finds out how strenuous it is to prepare all these different dishes, yet he perseveres and doesn’t quit. In the end, adding a sweet concoction to the spread.

The Shell Seekers

By Rosamunde Pilcher,

Book cover of The Shell Seekers

This well-loved book was published in 1987. It’s beautifully written and takes you right to the heart of Cornwall, evoking the Bohemian lifestyle favoured by the artists who were drawn to the special qualities of the light as well as the lifestyle. It’s a story of family life and family conflict which will resonate with so many. Penelope’s garden remains with me now; the descriptions are perfect, and the characters well-drawn. It’s a story about learning true values and needing to maintain inner strength. Deservedly popular as one of Britain’s most well-loved books, it’s a long read but totally immersive.


Who am I?

I was in my thirties when I finally visited Cornwall, though I’d long lost my heart to Cornwall through reading. A city girl, I ached to climb the cliff paths and breathe the salt-laden air. My head was full of folklore and history, rugged cliffs, secret coves, and desolate moors. For the last twenty-five years, we’ve been lucky enough to sail our boat along the south coast, anchoring in the timeless harbours and rowing up the creeks. My stories come while we watch the birds scuttle across the riverbanks. A product of my early reading, I’m a romantic dreamer and invite you to join me in my fictional world. 


I wrote...

The Cornish Dressmaker

By Nicola Pryce,

Book cover of The Cornish Dressmaker

What is my book about?

Cornwall, 1796. Elowyn Liddicot and her family believe they have secured the perfect future for her in the arms of Nathan Cardew. But one evening, Elowyn helps to rescue a dying man from the sea, and everything changes. William Cotterell, wild and self-assured, refuses to leave her thoughts or her side.

With Elowyn’s dressmaking business suddenly under threat, and her family’s pressure to marry Nathan increasing, her heart is decidedly at odds with her head. When she uncovers a sinister conspiracy that affects her whole world, Elowyn doesn’t know who to trust. As the truth unfolds, the devasting consequences become clear: in the face of all opposition, Elowyn must find the courage to save the man she loves.

The Witches

By Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (illustrator),

Book cover of The Witches

Spooky and magical! I remember staying up all night to finish this one when I was a child. It’s scary but so, so exciting. The real thrill comes from the idea that magic is all around us, alongside us in our everyday lives. The relationship between the boy and his grandmother is warm and loving, and their positivity is what provides the hope and joy in this book.


Who am I?

I am the oldest of six children – all girls! I used to make up imaginary worlds for my little sisters. We’d steal clothes from Mum and Dad for dressing up; we’d pull all the cushions off the sofa to make a show; we even used to put ribbons on the poor dog. Nowadays I write books with magic and fairy tales and adventure. I write for the child inside me; the child that loved an exciting, fantastical story. I have written over 50 books for children from picture book to middle grade, and I still love inventing imaginary worlds.


I wrote...

The Trapdoor Mysteries: A Sticky Situation

By Abie Longstaff, James Brown (illustrator),

Book cover of The Trapdoor Mysteries: A Sticky Situation

What is my book about?

Ten-year-old Tally is an orphaned servant girl at Mollett Manor. She sleeps in the scullery sink, and spends her days scrubbing, polishing, and ironing...when she’s not secretly reading books and finding hidden passages. With her squirrel friend, Squill, Tally uncovers a mysterious room beneath the manor – a magical library where the books come to life! When Mollett Manor is burgled, can Tally use the knowledge she finds in the books to catch the criminals? And could they help her solve the even deeper mystery of her missing mother?

This is the first book in the magical adventures of Tally, a code-breaking, mystery-solving, animal-loving servant girl and her best friend Squill. The four-book series is illustrated by James Brown.

Grandma's Purse

By Vanessa Brantley-Newton,

Book cover of Grandma's Purse

One of my favorite activities as a kid was digging through my grandma’s purse. I used to play with her lipstick and dig for mints; it always amazed me how much she could fit in there! Now with two young kids of my own, I smile every time I catch them doing the same. If you are looking for a way to celebrate Grandma this Mother’s Day, Grandma’s Purse is a great book to gift her. It features Grandma Mimi who brings her purse full of surprises every time she visits. From jewelry to treats, to pictures, her granddaughter never knows what she is going to find! A sweet story of a young girl who wants to be just like the grandma she adores. 


Who am I?

I'm a picture book author living in Los Angeles with my husband and two children. I love seeing the world through my children’s eyes and began writing stories for and inspired by them after they were born. Watching their relationships flourish with their grandparents and the grown-ups in their lives inspired me to write books that celebrate family and foster connection. My grandmas both live overseas and I treasure the time I spend with them. Just like my own children, the simplest moments together are the ones I hold onto and carry with me the most. I love books that celebrate these magical relationships and hope these books encourage readers to celebrate their own relationships.  


I wrote...

A Grandma's Magic

By Charlotte Offsay, Asa Gilland (illustrator),

Book cover of A Grandma's Magic

What is my book about?

“When a child is born, a grandma is born too. Grandmas aren’t like regular grown-ups. Grandmas are filled with magic.”

In this charming picture book tribute to grandmas, a grandma’s magic bursts through the door as soon as she comes to visit and can be seen in every wonderful thing she does: playing, exploring, baking, gardening, and in all the many ways a grandma and grandchild connect. Filled with adorable scenes featuring a diversity of grandmas and their grandkids, this is a book that families can enjoy together. Grandmas will love snuggling with their grandchildren as they share their love and “magic” through cuddles, kisses, and many repeat readings.

The Yellow Suitcase

By Meera Sriram, Meera Sethi (illustrator),

Book cover of The Yellow Suitcase

Asha visits India every summer, filling her yellow suitcase with gifts for Grandma. When Asha returns to California, Grandma fills the suitcase with gifts for Asha. This summer, though, Grandma is gone, and the house isn’t the same without her there. Grandma’s final gift for Asha’s yellow suitcase—a quilt made from her saris that she created before she died—brings comfort to both Asha and the reader. 

This story allows readers to explore how a place feels without a special loved one there, and colorful illustrations bring brightness to this difficult subject. An author’s note shares that Sriram and her family also lost a grandparent and she used her family’s experiences as inspiration for this story in the hopes that it will bring comfort to others.


Who am I?

As a teacher-librarian, I’m often asked for books on difficult topics, including death. When I was young, a close family member died and I struggled with grief. I didn’t know how to honor my loved one or how to begin healing from the loss. The books I’m sharing are books I wish I’d had as a child and books that I’m grateful to be able to hand to children and families when needed. If you’re an emotional person like I am, you may want tissues nearby when you read them. I hope they’re as helpful and therapeutic for you as they have been for me!


I wrote...

Bionic Beasts: Saving Animal Lives with Artificial Flippers, Legs, and Beaks

By Jolene Gutiérrez,

Book cover of Bionic Beasts: Saving Animal Lives with Artificial Flippers, Legs, and Beaks

What is my book about?

What happens when a young elephant steps on a buried land mine? Or when a predator injures a sea turtle’s flipper? Thanks to recent advances in technology, we have new ways to design and build prosthetic body parts to help these animals thrive.
Meet an elephant named Mosha, a sea turtle named Lola, a dog named Cassidy, a goose named Vitória, and a pig named Pirate. Each of these animals was struggling, but through a variety of techniques and technologies, humans created devices that enabled the animals to live and move more comfortably. Discover the stories of how veterinarians, doctors, and even students from around the world used 3D printing and other techniques to build bionic body parts for these amazing animals!

The Raft

By Jim LaMarche,

Book cover of The Raft

A perfect book to celebrate summer and the magic of nature. Nicky is not eager to vacation at his grandmother’s country home. But nature and the animals have a different plan. And when the two find each other among the banks of a peaceful river, a delightful friendship unfolds. I love this book for its beauty, sense of peace, and quiet adventure. Surrounded by the splendor of nature is a call to come home, to quiet our minds and to see the world as animals do. With the animals to inspire him, Nicky not only discovers a talent for art but a reverence for the world around him.    


Who am I?

Animals have always been some of my very best friends. I believe in guardian angels, and I believe animals come to us when we need them most. As children, animals help us to believe in ourselves, they soothe the hurts that come from being misunderstood. When we forget, animals carry a knowing beyond words, with every purr, and chirp, and bark, and nuzzle, they remind us that we are loved. I hope you enjoy these books that celebrate the love of animals and the many ways they help us heal.


I wrote...

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog

By Lisa Papp,

Book cover of Madeline Finn and the Library Dog

What is my book about?

Madeline Finn is a struggling reader who just can’t find her voice. But everything changes when she meets Bonnie, the Library Dog. Reading to Bonnie is different. “Bonnie doesn’t laugh when I mess up on a word. Instead, she puts her big paws in my lap and lets me pet her until I figure it out.” But soon, Madeline Finn has to read in school – without Bonnie. Inspired by the therapy dogs at Lisa’s local library, this tale of struggle, persistence, and the power of unconditional love will resonate with readers young and old.

The first in the Madeline Finn series, Madeline Finn and the Library Dog was awarded the Children’s Choice ‘Book of the Year’ and has been translated into 23 languages.

There's a Tiger in the Garden

By Lizzy Stewart,

Book cover of There's a Tiger in the Garden

This is a beautiful book that encourages children to use their own imagination. It tells the story of a little girl, Nora, who explores her grandma’s garden  — and her imagination, to look for a tiger that supposedly lives there. The illustrations are colourful and detailed and hold hidden clues for the younger readers to look for.


Who am I?

I’m a children’s book author and illustrator and I have a special fondness for picture books. They’re often a child’s first experience of reading — or being read to, and that’s such a magical time! I still remember my favourite picture books as a child. I’m also a crazy cat person and I love all cats, big and small. My first picture book, Tiger in a Tutu, is about a tiger who lives in Paris Zoo but wants to be a ballet dancer. I made a small list of my favourite tiger picture books for you. I hope you enjoy it.


I wrote...

Tiger in a Tutu

By Fabi Santiago,

Book cover of Tiger in a Tutu

What is my book about?

Max lives a life of luxury in Paris Zoo. But Max isn't like the other tigers -- he's a tiger with a dream!

Max longs to pirouette and plié, to leap and spin. He wants to be a dazzling dancer, shining on the stage! But will this tiger in a tutu get his moment in the spotlight? And will he ever find a friend to dance by his side? Set in Paris, with a dancing tiger as the star, Tiger in a Tutu is an uplifting tale of following your dreams and pursuing your talent, no matter what.

Stop That Girl

By Elizabeth McKenzie,

Book cover of Stop That Girl

Original and funny, Stop That Girl chronicles the coming-of-age of Ann Ransom, an offbeat heroine navigating her equally unconventional family life and upbringing. I loved discovering this character and equally loved the novel-in-stories structure of the book. Fast-paced and quirky, this book illuminated a manner of storytelling that I thought fit the coming-of-age genre really well.


Who am I?

I fell in love with quirky, funny, female protagonists early in my reading life, starting with Ramona Quimby and her unique way of seeing the world. As a kid, I always felt different, you know? I was sensitive, shy, and observant, and I delighted in finding characters in books who also bucked up against what I thought of as typical. As a writer, I love writing interesting, unconventional women, and I love using humor to elevate my characters’ voices. I think humor is one of the best ways to establish voice and also, paradoxically, to navigate tragedy. I hope to write many more quirky, funny female characters in future books.


I wrote...

The Baddest Girl on the Planet

By Heather Frese,

Book cover of The Baddest Girl on the Planet

What is my book about?

Evie Austin, native of Hatteras Island, NC, and baddest girl on the planet, has not lived her life in a straight line. There have been several detours—career snafus, bad romantic choices, a loved but unplanned child—not to mention her ill-advised lifelong obsession with boxer Mike Tyson. This is the story of what the baddest girl on the planet must find in herself when a bag of pastries, a new lover, or a quick trip to Vegas won’t fix anything, and when something more than casual haplessness is required.

The Baddest Girl on the Planet is inventive, sharp, witty, and poignant. The Baddest Girl on the Planet is the most recent winner of the Lee Smith Novel Prize.

Tribute

By Nora Roberts,

Book cover of Tribute

Cilla McGowan has always been fascinated by her grandmother, Hollywood star Janet Hardy, whose untimely death was ruled a suicide. A former actress herself, Cilla chooses a life away from the big screen and starts a business flipping houses. Her first major project is a farm owned by Janet herself. While restoring the house, Cilla begins to uncover the starlet’s secrets, while falling in love with her new sexy neighbor.

This book is a tribute to Nora Roberts’s unmistakable style, an odyssey of witty dialogue, and beautiful storytelling. Cilla’s quest to find her own path in life is entwined with her drive to learn more about her grandmother, which leads to serious danger when she uncovers a decades-old secret. Romance, mystery, humor, danger, suspense—this book has it all!


Who am I?

I love women’s fiction, romantic comedies, and chick-lit because they are a fun slice of escapism, a guilty pleasure that pushes our problems on the back burner for a bit. A good women’s fiction novel has everything, from romance, to drama, to self-discovery, to a happy ever after. If it’s delivered with a large dose of humor, it’s the recipe for success. That’s what I try to do in my novels, to offer a unique experience and help readers relax, laugh, dream, hope, and most of all, escape reality when they need it. In my opinion, that’s the purpose of a good book, no matter the genre.


I wrote...

Celebrity

By Melinda De Ross,

Book cover of Celebrity

What is my book about?

Land a million-dollar deal for my book adaptation. Catch cheating boyfriend in bed with another woman. Hop a one-way flight to Los Angeles.

Determined to leave my two-timing ex and hapless love life in the dust, I set my sights on California, buy a promising fixer-upper in Malibu, and then run smack dab into Blake Tyler, the Hollywood heartthrob who’s starring in my movie. Few women can resist the hottest movie star alive—and I’m not one of them. Just when I thought I’d left behind romance and drama, Blake’s smoldering steel-blue eyes land on me. And so do the paparazzi’s cameras…

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