Picture Books Highlights | Grandparents Day

By Monica C. RSS Fri, September 10, 2021

The bond between grandchildren and grandparents is strong. This unique connection, across time and generations, can stretch across countries as well. It’s no surprise that National Grandparents Day is celebrated around the world every September 12!

Here’s a selection of picture books that explore the experience and connection between grandparents and grandkids, near and far.

The Old Boat by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey

ebook available from Overdrive

Off a small island, a boy and his grandfather set sail in their beloved fishing boat. They ride the waves, catching wants and wishes and seeing the wonders of the ocean. But soon the boy is sailing the boat himself, drifting further from shore as the waters grow muddied and turbulent. When a storm washes him ashore, he sees home in a new light. He decides to turn the tides of his fortune, cleaning the island's waters and creating a new life with a family to call his own.

What Will You Be? written by Yamile Saied Méndez; illustrated by Kate Alizadeh

ebook available from Overdrive

A young girl dreams about all the endless possibilities around her, sparking a sense of wonder, curiosity, and growth. With her abuela’s loving guidance, she goes on a path of self-discovery and learns her potential is limitless.

Grandpa Across the Ocean by Hyewon Yum

ebook available from Overdrive

Grandpa lives on the other side of the ocean. He takes naps all the time. He eats different foods. He speaks an unfamiliar language. His house is the most boring place on Earth! Or is it? A little time together just might reveal that Grandpa is also a great singer, an energetic sandcastle builder, and a troublemaker... just like his grandson!

My Day with Gong Gong written by Sennah Yee; illustrated by Elaine Chen

ebook available from Overdrive

A day in Chinatown takes an unexpected turn when a bored little girl makes a connection with her grandpa. May isn't having fun on her trip through Chinatown with her grandfather. Gong Gong doesn't speak much English, and May can't understand Chinese. She's hungry and bored with Gong Gong's errands. Plus, it seems like Gong Gong's friends are making fun of her! But just when May can't take any more, Gong Gong surprises her with a gift that reveals he's been paying more attention than she thought.

Superhero Gran written by Timothy Knapman; illustrated by Joe Berger
All grandmothers are wonderful and the gran in this story is no exception. She might not lift buildings or go whooshing through the sky, but she can plan super sleepovers, tell super-funny stories, and even put together super disguises. This gran really does have superpowers!

Priya Dreams of Marigolds and Masala by Meenal Patel
Priya lives in the United States and her family is from India. She feels the magic of the place her family comes from through her Babi Ba's colorful descriptions of India—from the warm smell of spices to the swish-swish sound of a rustling sari. Together, Priya and Babi Ba make their heritage live on through the traditions that they infuse into their everyday lives.

Double Bass Blues written by Andrea J. Loney; illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez

ebook available from Overdrive

After school orchestra practice, young Nic carries his double bass through rough neighborhoods to his grandfather's home, where he and Grandaddy Nic play jazz music with friends, delighting the neighbors.

A Song of Frutas written by Margarita Engle; illustrated by Sara Palacios

ebook available from Overdrive

A little girl loves visiting her grandfather in Cuba and singing his special songs to sell all kinds of fruit: mango, limón, naranja, piña, and more! Even when they’re apart, grandfather and granddaughter can share rhymes between their countries like un abrazo—a hug—made of words carried on letters that soar across the distance like songbirds.

The Most Beautiful Thing written by Kao Kalia Yang; illustrated by Khoa Lee

ebook available from Overdrive

When Kalia becomes unhappy about having to do without and decides she wants braces to improve her smile, it is her grandmother—a woman who has just one tooth in her mouth—who helps her see that true beauty is found with those we love most.

Bindu’s Bindis written by Supriya Kelkar; illustrated by Parvati Pillai
A little girl loves her bindis (and the many creative shapes they come in!). The bindis are also a connection to her Nani who lives in India. When Nani comes to visit Bindu and brings the bindis to her, it is just in time to wear something new to the school talent show. Bindu and Nani work together to shine their brightest and embrace their sparkle, even when they stand out from the crowd.

My Red Hat by Rachel Stubbs
A hat can do many things. It can keep you warm and dry. It can help you stand out in a crowd, or it can help you blend in. It can hold your dreams or your secrets, and it can hide your fears. A grandfather offers his grandchild the anticipation of a life lived with wonder and openness... and a very special hat.

When Lola Visits written by Michelle Sterling; illustrated by Aaron Paul Asis

ebook available from Overdrive

For one young girl, summer is the season of no school, of days spent at the pool, and of picking golden limes off the trees. But summer doesn’t start until her Lola—her grandmother from the Philippines—comes for her annual visit. Summer is special and her Lola fills the house with the aroma of mango jam, funny stories of baking mishaps, and her quiet, sweet singing in Tagalog. And in turn, her granddaughter brings Lola to the beach, to view fireworks at the park, and to catch fish at their lake. When Lola visits, the whole family gathers to cook, eat, and share in their happiness of another season spent together. Yet as summer transitions to fall, Lola must return home—but not without a surprise for her granddaughter to preserve their special summer a bit longer.

Mii Maanda Ezhi-Gkendmaanh: This Is How I Know written by Brittany Luby and Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley

ebook available from Overdrive

In this lyrical story-poem, written in Anishinaabemowin and English, a child and grandmother explore their surroundings, taking pleasure in the familiar sights that each new season brings. We accompany them through warm summer days full of wildflowers, bees, and blueberries.  Then on to autumn, when bears feast before hibernation and forest mushrooms are ripe for harvest. Winter mornings begin in darkness as deer, mice, and other animals search for food, while spring brings green shoots poking through melting snow and the chirping of birds.

On the Trapline written by David A. Robertson; illustrated by Julie Flett

ebook available from Overdrive

A boy and Moshom, his grandpa, take a trip together to visit a place of great meaning—a trapline. This is where people hunt and live off the land, and it was where Moshom grew up. As they embark on their northern journey, the child repeatedly asks his grandfather, "Is this your trapline?" Along the way, the boy finds himself imagining what life was like two generations ago—a life that appears to be both different from and similar to his life now. This is a heartfelt story about memory, imagination, and intergenerational connection that perfectly captures the experience of a young child’s wonder as he is introduced to places and stories that hold meaning for his family.

Be sure to check our catalog and Overdrive Kids eReading Room, for these titles and many more being added!

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