Grandparents’ Day seems extra special this year as so many of our families reach out across households to keep in touch when we can’t touch. Sharing books across generations can provide emotional comfort, whether you hold story time in the relative safety of outdoors or through video chats across the miles. If you are lucky enough to have a grandmother and/or grandfather at home with you, you might want to honor Grandparents’ Day by asking them to tell you and your children a family story of their own.
To prime the pump of storytelling, here are some published ones to get your homegrown story hour started:
I’ll Be the Water, by Alec Aspinwall and illustrated by Nicole Wong, is new from Tilbury House. Right now you can download a NetGalley advance copy. This is a picture book that crosses generations to tell the story of life changes and family memories, its golden palette of images as comforting as Grandpa’s assurances:
“Think of it this way,” Grandpa says. “Today, you and I are like two fish swimming together in this lake. When I die, things will be different. I won’t be a fish anymore, but I’ll become something even better. My love will be like the water in the lake. You might think I’m not with you, but we’ll be closer than ever because you’ll be surrounded by my love.”
Award-winning children’s author Meg Medina’s Mango, Abuela, and Me can be enjoyed in its fullest with Live Oak Media’s read-along version in which narrators Alisa, Rosi, and Brian Amador share this sweet story of “connecting across a generational and language divide.” As Live Oak Media reliably does, there is a musical bed, as well as well delivered Spanish, to support the telling of a grandmother and grandchild who don’t share a common spoken language. The illustrations by Angela Dominguez, packaged with the read-along recording, further enhance this presentation.
Lapsitting readers can explore Tiger Tales Books’ Pancakes with Grandma, a board book illustrated by Seb Braun with flaps to lift—and a simple pancake recipe for the ambitious adult willing to head to the kitchen with the toddler in the lead.
While making pancakes is a great way to share an activity with a grandparent, Inhabit Media’s Fishing with Grandma, written by Susan Avingaq and Maren Vsetula and illustrated by Charlene Chua, shows picture book readers of all ages a customary alternative activity for families in an Inuit community.
Sometimes geographic distance, as well as the current need for social distance, makes a visit with a grandparent an undertaking of travel and crossing cultures. Cassava Republic’s alphabet book A Fun ABC, by Sade Fedipe and Shedrach Ayalomeh,, takes readers along with Adanah as she goes to visit her grandfather in Modakeke, Nigeria. Beautifully painted scenes and a rhyming text invite lots of exploration and sharing possibilities for other words that begin with each letter featured on its own page spread.
Independent readers who enjoy solving puzzles and have a sense of humor, too, can discover Floris Books’ junior detective series by David Macphail. The titles in “Top-secret Grandad and Me” series include young Jay Patel, son of a disappeared magician, who joins forces with his departed grandfather, a ghost, to solve local mysteries. Yes, these are every bit as much fun as the set up!
However you’re celebrating Grandparents’ Day, pack along a book. And remember to ask for family stories, too!