Playing by the book

Reviews of kids' books and the crazy, fun stuff they inspire us to do

Fantastic Fiction for Kids – Grandparents

Posted on | May 12, 2010 | 16 Comments

fantastic_fiction_button This week’s Fantastic Fiction for Kids is a real winner, even if I say so myself! Today’s contribution comes from Sarah, who writes at Becoming Sarah, a blog I only discovered recently but which has become one of my very top reads each day because it’s all about love, joy, fun… oh! and Sarah’s passion for kids books. Sarah’s witty, pithy, snappy writing and wonderful talent behind the camera make it her blog a delight to read. Sarah has a beautiful daughter and (she won’t mind me saying ;-) ) a handsome husband and her blog is full of observations of their life together, including weekly kids’ book giveaways every Tuesday.

So enough of me! Now over to Sarah, who has chosen Grandparents as her theme for today’s Fantastic Fiction for Kids:

 My husband and I live four houses away from my childhood home. This means that my neighbors remember every single mortifying aspect of my younger years with astonishing clarity. But it also means that my daughter is lucky enough to have two doting grandparents a stone’s throw away. With very few exceptions, my parents spend time with my daughter at least twice weekly since her birth.

My father calls it GRANDPARENTING ON STEROIDS.

Naturally, when I was asked to contribute to Fantastic Fiction for Kids, the first topic that came to mind was books that feature grandparents. I am a sucker for children’s books that highlight familial relationships in a positive and loving way. It can be difficult to find quality books about grandparents, I have come across a few amazing ones over the past year. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Abuela, by Arthur Dorros, illustrated by Elisa Kleven


Author Arthur Dorros based this book in part on the happy relationship he had with one of his grandmothers. His grandmother must have been a phenomenal woman because the book is incredible! The story is about a little girl, Rosalba, who is very close to her Abuela. They are at a park one day when Rosalba begins to speculate about flying. Pretty soon, both the girl and her grandmother are flying around in an imaginative story that is fun for all ages. The illustrations are beautiful and there are plenty of little details to entertain children. Additionally, Abuela brings in an element of multiculturalism.

What Grandmas Do Best / What Grandpas Do Best, by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger


There is an entire series of these books and we enjoy all of them. This is a flip book – after you are finished reading about grandfathers on one side, you just turn it over and will find the part about grandmothers. It is a wonderful book that demonstrates to a child that the relationship they have with each grandparent is unique and special, even if they do some of the same things. Best of all, it is instantly clear to a small child that what grandparents do best is love their grandchildren!

Grandpas Are For Finding Worms, by Harriet Ziefert


This is a wonderful, classic book about the fun things that a child can do with a grandfather. The story is simple and focuses on the bond between generations, so even if the grandfather(s) in your child’s life do(es) not, for example, dig for worms, children quickly realize that the point is just to do things together. It is illustrated with children and grandfather pairs of different ethnic backgrounds and it has flaps that children will enjoy lifting.
Mei-Mei Loves The Morning by Margaret Holloway Tsubakiyama, Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu


This is quite possibly my favorite grandparent-centric book of all time. It tells the story of mornings that Mei-Mei and her grandfather spend together. The illustrations are beautiful watercolors that lend themselves well to conversation and the relationship depicted is affectionate and sweet. My favorite part of this book is that although it has a multicultural facet, the activities that Mei-Mei and her Grandpa engage in are things that children of any culture can relate to such as eating breakfast and going to the park.
That’s What Grandparents Are For, by Arlene Uslander, illustrated by Freddie Levin


Last but not least, That’s What Grandparents Are For is a celebration of the role grandparents can play in a child’s life. It has an easy rhyme, which makes it particularly appropriate for small children as they can memorize it more quickly and you can sing it to them to capture their interest. The illustrations really complement the story as well – they are bright, colorful, expressive, and fun. The best part of this book is that it lends itself to discussions about memories – young children will love to interrupt and talk about the times they have flown a kite or gone to the zoo with a grandparent.

Wow, what a tremendous list of books don’t you think? Thanks for your suggestions Sarah – I’m looking forward to reading each and every one :-)

Here are some suggestions for music to enjoy alongside these books:

  • There’s No One Quite Like Grandma by St Winifreds School Choir (Not really my cup of tea, but it is a classic that will at least make UK parents smile!)
  • Grandma and Me by Amanda Kroll and Grandma
  • My Grandma and Grandpa Went to Sea by Eileen Quinn
  • Grandma Told Grandpa by Lightnin’ Hopkins
  • And the beautiful Always Tell Your Grandma by Rocknoceros

  • And here’s some activity suggestions:

  • Make cards to send to your grandparents (yours and your kids!) – when was the last time you sent your grandparents a card?
  • Look out some photos of your grandparents (yours or your kids) as children – my kids really loved seeing their grandparents as kids and wanted to know about their favourite toys and food.
  • Make a family tree with your kids – here’s a simple version from Activity Village, and here’s a more involved version M, J and I made last year.


  • So, a special hello with lots of love to M and J’s Grandparents, who I know always read this crazy little blog of ours! And a big thank you once again to Sarah (don’t forget to visit her wonderful blog!). And if you have a moment to share your happiest memories with your Grandparents that would be so lovely.

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    Comments

    16 Responses to “Fantastic Fiction for Kids – Grandparents”

    1. Mozi Esmes Mommy
      May 12th, 2010 @ 1:29 am

      I’ve added some of these to my wish list!

      We started a new Bulletin Board feature at Winning Readings. Each Monday is Winning Kids day, and we’d love to have you link up with any kids book-related post! http://winningreadings.blogspot.com/2010/05/little-nippers-top-10-alphabet-books.html

    2. Catherine
      May 12th, 2010 @ 4:05 am

      I haven’t read any of these books, but I’ll be looking for grandparent books now. My son’s grandparents are such a big part of their lives – I don’t know what I’d do without them. Only one grandma (of mine, of course) was alive when I grew up, so to me a strong relationship between my kids and their grandparents is important.

    3. Zoe @ Playing by the book
      May 12th, 2010 @ 6:42 am

      I agree with you catherine about wishing for a stong relationship between my kids and their grandparents! Unfortunately my kids grandparents don’t live nearby so nurturing the relationship is a little harder.

    4. Zoe
      May 12th, 2010 @ 6:45 am

      Sounds great Mozi Esme – thanks for sharing!

    5. vibha sharma
      May 12th, 2010 @ 1:28 pm

      I haven’t read any of these books but would surely look for these. The list of books looks really interesting.

    6. Zoe
      May 12th, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

      HI Vibha, What’s it like for getting US/UK published books in India? It is generally quite easy or do you have to track them down?

    7. Val
      May 12th, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

      Think I’d better get some of these books to read with my grandsons!!! Thanks for the heads-up

    8. Zoe @ Playing by the book
      May 12th, 2010 @ 4:48 pm

      Hi Val, I’m sure they’re good for reading with Great Aunts too ;-)

    9. Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com
      May 13th, 2010 @ 4:36 am

      Oh my goodness, I forgot that I was featured today! I’ll definitely have to link up tomorrow =)

      I’m so glad that you included music as well. It never occurred to me to find music that featured grandparents, but what a special way to reinforce that bond!!

    10. sathish
      May 13th, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

      Grandparents and it reminds me of Allen Say’s Grandfather’s Journey.

      And his Kamishibhai Man (although not technically a grandparents related book)

      I love Allen Say’s book.

    11. Zoe
      May 13th, 2010 @ 1:05 pm

      Hi Sathish,
      Grandfather’s Journey looks very interesting indeed – I shall try to track it down. I’m always interested in books which explore moving to or living in different cultures. Have you read The Arrival by Shaun Tan?

    12. sathish
      May 13th, 2010 @ 1:26 pm

      Zoe, The Arrival will probably remain my all-time favourite graphic novel for quite some time.

      Reviewed it some time back in Saffrontree – The Arrival

    13. Zoe
      May 13th, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

      We’re at one then Sathish. I’d love to have copies of The Arrival to give to everyone.

    14. Janelle
      May 22nd, 2010 @ 11:05 pm

      Great theme and many we haven’t read!

    15. magg, red ted art
      July 11th, 2010 @ 5:37 pm

      Oh Zoe… I just was “searching” for some grandparent books (for my Wed start post) and now don’t know which to get… I bought two of your recommendations and only stopped at the third because it was getting expensive!! ;-)

      Can’t wait for them to arrive (Abuela & What grandmas do best; Mei Mei will have to wait for Christmas) :-)

      Thank you

      Maggy x

    16. Red Ted Art's Blog » Blog Archive » start + Art = Great Start – Cork Boats, Christmas Stamps & grandparents
      February 13th, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

      [...] have no Grandparent books, but Zoe at Playing By the Book reviewed a whole bunch of fabulous sounding ones here. We have two on order and will have to wait on Mei Mei for Christmas, as it is a little more [...]

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