The Grandparenting Effect
From Robbie's list on building faith through intergenerational experiences.
13 authors have picked their favorite books about grandparents and why they recommend each book.
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From Robbie's list on building faith through intergenerational experiences.
I’ve had the joy of “making disciples” for a long time. From the time I became a Christian while in college, to raising my own sons as disciples, to 15 years of work with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on secular campuses, to the last third of my life as a Professor of Bible and Theology at a Christian University, I have responded to Jesus’ Great Commission to “make disciples” with both the joys and sorrows that calling includes. I have experienced the richness of intergenerational congregations that my pastor-husband has led, and seen our sons grow and mature as Christians through “parenting in the pew” before it was a book!
Robbie Castleman believes that Sunday morning isn't a success if she has only managed to keep the kids quiet. And she knows there's more to church for kids than trying out their new coloring books. Children are at church for the same reason as their parents: for the privilege of worshiping God.
Worship, Castleman writes, is "the most important thing you can ever train your child to do." So with infectious passion, nitty-gritty advice, and a touch of humor, she shows you how to help your children (from toddlers to teenagers) enter into worship.
From Fabi's list on children's books with tigers.
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.
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.
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.
From Andrew's list on non-fiction journalism and history in India.
A beautiful and haunting tale. The Girl from Foreign is my favourite book, a memoir of Shepard’s journey to discover her family’s heritage. Shepard discovered that her grandmother, a member of Bombay’s Jewish community, had secretly converted from Judaism to Islam to marry her grandfather during partition. The book is about her discovering her grandmother’s – and her own – secret identity, hidden from the world for decades.
As the author of Hicky's Bengal Gazette: The Untold Story of India's First Newspaper I have great interest in journalism and history in the Indian subcontinent. There are relatively few books that explore these topics in a narrative nonfiction way. It is my hope that this shortlist will help readers find a few good books to start with.
From Hayley's list on using magic to explore trauma.
One night, Cosmo’s grandfather—who has started to forget things—gives him a key and tells him to go to Blackbrick, a crumbling estate on the edge of town. When Cosmo arrives there in the middle of the night and unlocks the front gate, he finds himself stepping back in time—and making friends with his fifteen-year-old grandfather. Back to Blackbrick is about time travel. It’s about love. It’s about learning to live with loss. It’s quietly tender and deeply emotional. And it’s one of the most life-affirming books I’ve ever read.
It took me a long time to realize that the books I write have always (always) been about trauma. (I write fantasy, so the link wasn’t immediately apparent to me.) But now that I’ve seen it, I can’t unsee it. Likewise, it took me a long time to notice that all my favorite magical books were the ones that seemed to be trying to find a new language for the terrible things that can happen to and around us. Magic provides a powerful language for psychological pain. It can make it more real. It can make it more digestible. It can help us to see it more clearly. Fiction tells lies that make reality bearable and understandable—and magical fiction is no different. Which is why it will probably always be my favorite kind.
Seven years ago, the Ballastian sisters’ parents left them in the magical Straygarden Place, a house surrounded by tall silver grass and floating trees. They left behind a warning saying never to leave the house or go into the grass. Ever since then, the house itself has taken care of Winnow, Mayhap, and Pavonine—feeding them, clothing them, even keeping them company—while the girls have waited and grown up and played a guessing game.
Until one day, when the eldest, fourteen-year-old Winnow, does the unthinkable and goes outside into the grass, and everything twelve-year-old Mayhap thought she knew about her home, her family, and even herself starts to unravel.
From L. Annette's list on German complicity and resistance in WW2.
An epistolary novel written as a letter from an elderly German man explaining his time as a soldier on the Eastern Front to his grandson. The novel has both the immediacy of a wartime narrative and the introspection of a memoir. “Eat now, sleep now, march now, follow your leader — that’s what they’d demanded of us; we’d followed, and they’d led us into disaster,” the narrator says as he describes his own predicament, but it serves to explain the horrors of the regime as a whole. It resonated for me personally, highlighting the silence and shame that surrounds the experiences of so many Germans who were young adults during WW2. Starritt is half-Scottish and half-German, and We Germans was inspired in part by his grandfather’s time on the Eastern Front. The novel was the recipient of the Dayton Peace Prize.
I was born in Germany and came to the US as a small child. My parents spoke only German at home but rarely talked with me about their years in Germany. Years after my father had died, I came across a photograph of him wearing a Hitler Youth uniform. What I learned about his childhood and his family inspired much of my novel The Vanishing Sky. Though my novel is finished, I continue to read about the German experience of WW2 because it resonates for me personally and because the lessons it teaches us are still relevant today.
In 1945, as the war in Germany nears its violent end, the Huber family is not yet free of its dangers or its insidious demands. Etta, a mother from a small, rural town, struggles to protect her son Max, who has returned from the Eastern front suffering from a mental breakdown. Meanwhile, miles away, her younger son Georg has taken his fate into his own hands, deserting his young class of battle-bound soldiers to set off on a long and perilous journey home.
The Vanishing Sky is a World War II novel as seen through a German lens, a story of the irreparable damage of war on the home front, and one family's participation-involuntary, unseen, or direct-in a dangerous regime.
From Carolyn's list on open your child's eyes to cultures around the world.
This book has truly beautiful art by Poonam Mistry. I find Indian and Hindu culture fascinating and this book brings it to you through the eyes of a child (or two children I should say as it’s about siblings). There is a glossary of Hindu terms in the back which I do appreciate. It is written almost as an Indian tribute to Goodnight Moon which is of course a classic.
I moved to New York City for school when I was 18 years old and found myself surrounded by people from all over the world. Every fourth person in New York City is an expat. It was fascinating to me and since then I have lived in three countries and done months-long artist residences in Morocco and Ireland. I also read books and stories about cultures from around the world and am particularly enchanted by Africa. Currently, I live on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the city of Mazatlán and have written two children’s books about Mexico.
Andy and the Mask of the Dead is an enchanting story of a mischievous young boy who finds himself invited into another world. A world of dancing ghosts, roses, and marigolds. A world that celebrates the past and the people who’ve moved on. Andy draws you into his discovery of the magical Mexican holiday of “Dias de Los Muertos” Day of the Dead). It’s the perfect way to expand your child’s world through rhymes and art.
From Amanda's list on capturing the bond between horses and people.
Jojo Moyes is better known for writing romance than pony books, but The Horse Dancer has all the ingredients for the perfect pony book: a troubled but talented teen, a beautiful horse, and a dream of being the best.
Fourteen-year-old Sarah wants to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps and join Le Cadre Noir French classical riding academy, but her hopes are dashed when her beloved grandfather falls gravely ill.
Suddenly alone in the world, Sarah is taken in by lawyer Natasha and her estranged husband Mac. Unfortunately, she omits to tell them she is the owner of a thoroughbred dancing horse called Boo.
When Sarah rashly decides to run away to France with Boo I couldn’t help rooting for the pair.
This is a story of courage and determination that had me gripped from the first page to the last.
I have been mad about horses since I was tiny, and as soon as I started to read I devoured every pony book I could lay my hands on. My love of pony books led to a life-long passion for horses and I still ride every week. When I began writing fiction a decade ago, I decided to write the kind of pony books I loved reading when I was a child. Here I am, almost twenty books later, spending my days dreaming of horses, still a pony-mad girl at heart!
The last thing Poppy wants is to move to an old cottage on Dartmoor. But life at Riverdale changes for the better when she discovers a half-wild pony living on the doorstep. Could this be Cloud Nine, a notorious pony with a harrowing past? Who has been keeping his secrets all these years? And how can Poppy win his trust and bring him home to Riverdale?
The Lost Pony of Riverdale is the first in The Riverdale Pony Stories, the ultimate feel-good series for horse lovers everywhere.
From Lynda's list on funny stories about grandchildren and grandparents.
This author’s writing style and her great sense of humour will definitely be a big hit with the kids and also with grandparents. I love the twist Ellis puts on her book. She accomplishes this by telling a story that does not in any way match the illustrations. The reader’s attention is captured immediately because he realizes that something is different about this book, something isn’t quite right. The drawings are funny, exaggerated, and colourful, all the ingredients that kids love to see in a book. I’m a grandparent and I laughed right along with my grandchildren as we read the story. The ending is priceless. On the last page, the illustrations finally match the words. What an entertaining book for both the young and the young at heart.
I have always loved being around children, first as a primary school teacher, then as a parent and now as a grandma. The love, laughter, humour, and fun that I share with my grandkids keep me young in mind, body, and soul. My story is about the wonderful adventures we have. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the world through the eyes of a child and I am enjoying every minute of it.
Claire, Andrew, and Griffin are excited about their sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. Laughter, humour, and fun are always in abundance when they visit and they can’t wait to get there. But who is the biggest kid? Well, it is Grandpa who misbehaves a lot much to the delight of the children and to the frustration of Grandma. When bedtime arrives, Grandma is ready for everyone to settle down for the night but Grandpa has other ideas. Sleep is not his idea of fun so Grandpa and his antics make sure that the sleep is over before it has even begun.
From Peggy's list on for budding birders.
This is a fictional story about a boy searching for his Gramps’s favorite bird during the Christmas Bird Count.
I’m sure there are many young readers who don’t think they know enough to participate in something so grand as the Christmas Bird Count. But I’m confident that this book will reassure them that they know more than they think as they confidently identify the birds deftly illustrated by Maria Luisa Di Gravio. Lisa Amstutz, the author, has also included in the backmatter a birding checklist to get little bird nerds started. I think this story will inspire a lot of families to start their own birding tradition.
I’ve always loved birds, especially the red-winged black birds; their song was the first I learned to recognize as a kid. My first field guide was written by Roger Tory Peterson, and through that book and many others I’ve learned about the amazing world around us. Now, as a children’s nonfiction author, I get to share similar stories with young readers through my books and at school presentations. And as a writing instructor, I collect well-crafted and well-researched nonfiction, and use them to encourage budding children’s writers at workshops, in blog posts for the Nonfiction Ninjas, and as co-host of the annual Nonfiction Fest that celebrates true stories for children.
Some kids called him “Professor Nuts Peterson,” but Roger didn’t care. He was all about the birds. He watched birds. He drew birds. He hung over cliffs to photograph birds. And when he created his first Peterson Field Guide, Roger inspired millions of people to become bird watchers, too.
Working closely with the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, Thomas and Jacques have created the first children’s biography of the world-famous naturalist who revolutionized the way we look at, study, and appreciate animals, plants, and birds.
From Bob's list on featuring girls who are overcomers.
It’s a Newberry Award winner, so you know something good is going on here. I must admit, there have been some duds over the many years of the award, but in this case, the writing, the story, and the characters, really do warrant the accolade. Salamanca (Sal) Tree Hiddle is the heroine and voice here. She’s proud of her American-Indian heritage and country roots. She’s on a journey across country from Ohio to Idaho to find her mother. Her somewhat eccentric grandparents are her companions and as they travel Sal tells them the story of another girl, Phoebe Winterbottom, so we have a story within a story. You like a great, realistic, meaningful ending? Me too! You’ll find it here.
I was an elementary classroom teacher for more than thirty years and my favorite thing to do with my students was “read alouds,” which of course meant I got to read a lot of books. Then I read them to my kids and now my grandkids. I always wanted to read the best because time is so precious in a classroom. My daughter was born very premature and only survived thanks to God and her innate feistiness. She is an overcomer and inspires me to share similar stories. Of the books I’ve written for kids, 2 of the 3 protagonists are girls!
Change, while challenging, often drives personal growth, as 13-year-old Andrea discovers. When her father announces the family is relocating to Scotland for a year, Andrea fears her new schoolmates will uncover her secret: She stutters. At home in the States, Andrea’s stellar soccer skills and occasional use of her fists have enabled her to suppress her insecurities. At Dunnotar Academy, Andrea faces the dual stressors of new surroundings and social situations. A place on the Tough Girls Football Club soccer team seems a perfect opportunity for Andrea to rely on familiar strategies to conceal her speech issues. However, a blossoming friendship with a less popular girl and a fledgling romance give Andrea the courage to confront her anxieties. Andrea can literally stay quiet and fit in or risk all by speaking up for herself and others.