The best books about grandparents

13 authors have picked their favorite books about grandparents and why they recommend each book.

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The Grandparenting Effect

By Trevecca Okholm,

Book cover of The Grandparenting Effect

Let's get 'RE&AL' about grandparenting is the mantra of The Grandparenting Effect: 'Relationally Engaged' and 'Always Listening'! Well-documented research, thoughtful advice, engaging stories from a wide variety of grandparenting situations, helpful chapter summaries, ideas for grandchildren from toddlers to adults--plus prayers and bridge stories as well as timely help for conversations with grandchildren about race and cultural differences--this is an insightful and practical book for grandparents (volunteers, too!), pastors, and church educators to bridge the generational gap with wisdom and joy!

Who am I?

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!

I wrote...

Parenting in the Pew: Guiding Your Children Into the Joy of Worship

By Robbie Castleman,

Book cover of Parenting in the Pew: Guiding Your Children Into the Joy of Worship

What is my book about?

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.

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.

The Girl from Foreign

By Sadia Shepard,

Book cover of The Girl from Foreign

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.

Who am I?

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.

I wrote...

Hicky's Bengal Gazette: The Untold Story of India's First Newspaper

By Andrew Otis,

Book cover of Hicky's Bengal Gazette: The Untold Story of India's First Newspaper

What is my book about?

Into the steaming cauldron of skullduggery and intrigue that is eighteenth-century India walks James Augustus Hicky, a wild Irishman seeking fame and fortune. Sensing an opportunity, he decides to establish a newspaper, the first of its kind in South Asia. In two short years, his endeavour threatens to lay bare the murky underside of the early British empire. Does it succeed?

This is the story of the forces Hicky came up against, the corrupt authorities determined to stop him, and of his resourcefulness. The product of five years of research by Andrew Otis in the archives of India, UK, and Germany, Hicky’s Bengal Gazette: The Story of India’s First Newspaper is an essential and compelling addition to the history of subcontinental journalism.

Back to Blackbrick

By Sarah Moore Fitzgerald,

Book cover of Back to Blackbrick

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.

Who am I?

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.

I wrote...

The Sisters of Straygarden Place

By Hayley Chewins,

Book cover of The Sisters of Straygarden Place

What is my book about?

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. 

We Germans

By Alexander Starritt,

Book cover of We Germans

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.

Who am I?

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.

I wrote...

The Vanishing Sky

By L. Annette Binder,

Book cover of The Vanishing Sky

What is my book about?

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.

Goodnight Ganesha

By Nadia Salomon, Poonam Mistry (illustrator),

Book cover of Goodnight Ganesha

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.

Who am I?

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. 

I wrote...

Andy and the Mask of the Dead

By Carolyn Watson Dubisch,

Book cover of Andy and the Mask of the Dead

What is my book about?

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.

The Horse Dancer

By Jojo Moyes,

Book cover of The Horse Dancer

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.

Who am I?

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! 

I wrote...

The Lost Pony of Riverdale

By Amanda Wills,

Book cover of The Lost Pony of Riverdale

What is my book about?

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.

The Truth about Grandparents

By Elina Ellis,

Book cover of The Truth about 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.  

Who am I?

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.

I wrote...

The Sleepover

By Lynda Pilon,

Book cover of The Sleepover

What is my book about?

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.

Finding a Dove for Gramps

By Lisa J. Amstutz, Maria Luisa Di Gravio (illustrator),

Book cover of Finding a Dove for Gramps

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.

Who am I?

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.

I wrote...

For the Birds: The Life of Roger Tory Peterson

By Peggy Thomas, Laura Jacques (illustrator),

Book cover of For the Birds: The Life of Roger Tory Peterson

What is my book about?

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.

Walk Two Moons

By Sharon Creech,

Book cover of Walk Two Moons

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.

Who am I?

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!

I wrote...

Love Puppies and Corner Kicks

By Bob Krech,

Book cover of Love Puppies and Corner Kicks

What is my book about?

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. 

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