This article is by Josalyn Moran, Publisher Spotlight consultant
When President Jimmy Carter signed a presidential proclamation in 1978 declaring the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day, he was already a grandfather. He knew the unanticipated joy and unconditional love that being a grandparent can provide. He may not have known about the benefits that more recent scientific studies have described.
The grandparent-grandchild relationship provides benefits to both. The benefits to grandparents may include a longer life. The intergenerational connection may lower the risk of depression by boosting social connections and lower the risk of Alzheimers by boosting brain function, shared interests, and verbal fluency.
The advantages of an unconditional and patient love bond for grandchildren include the resulting feelings of safety and stability. Educational advantages are strengthened by shared interests/activities/hobbies and the wisdom instilled by learning life lessons together. A strong relationship may also provide emotional well-being and a lower risk of depression.
Clearly grandparents play a larger role in the healthy development of their little ones than simply providing cookies and child care, though one should not underestimate the importance of gathering food and preparing meals together. One of our favorites is full of these opportunities.
It’s Time for Berries! written by Ceporah Mearns and Jeremy Debicki and illustrated by Tindur Peturs, published by Inhabit Media, presents us with an active Inuit ningiuq (grandmother) who enjoys spending time with her granddaughters all year round. We follow this trio as they harvest the fruits of the land and the sea, be it clams, fish, or indeed berries of all kinds. Glossary included.
Nor should one underrate the importance of the role of childcare provider that grandparents often play, though one can have fun imagining the zaniest examples.
Grandma’s House of Rules written and illustrated by Henry Blackshaw and published by Cicada Books acquaints us with a rule-driven grandma and her rule-challenged grandson. When he is left alone while she pops out to the shops, merriment and Cat-in the-Hat style mayhem ensue as rules and a prized vase are shattered. The good news is that while material items may meet their demise, the relationship between these two “grands” will never be broken.
In jaunty rhyming text Supergran! written by Rhonda Gowler Greene and illustrated by Lee Cosgrove and published by Sleeping Bear Press shares the tale of a caped super-hero grandmother who has come to save the day. Dad is ill, Mom is late for work, the kids have run out of clean clothes, and where have the hamsters gotten to? A we-can-get-it-done Gran has never met a toilet she cannot unplug. Note from the author included.
Additionally, a heartfelt letter to a grandchild is an unparalleled expression of the shared unconditional bond between generations.
This relationship is highlighted in Lantana’s Dearest One written by Arielle Dance and illustrated by Jenny Duke. The reader is encouraged to imagine the words one’s grandmother might say if she put her love on paper. Among her challenges are “Embrace the rain”, “Show yourself love”, and “Shine your light”. She ends her missive with the all-affirming, “Dearest one, you are loved!”
Since 1995, Canada also celebrates Grandparents Day on the second Sunday in September; Mexico observes the holiday annually on August 28. The holiday is also kept in a score of other countries around the globe reminding us of the key role these family members play in the development of the next generation. For more of our favorite Grandparent books, please enjoy the following video!