Grandparents We Can Count On
With Grandparents' Day just around the corner (September 9), we've selected a few of our favorite books with grandparent heroes.
Who doesn't love a crotchety grandfather with a soft side? The Frank Show by David Mackintosh (Abrams, reviewed below) stars one of the best picture-book examples to come along in quite some time. He's right up there with Callie Vee's openly Darwinist grandfather in Jacqueline Kelly’s Newbery Honor book The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (Holt), who defends Callie Vee's insatiable curiosity during the sweltering Texas summer of 1899.
The Ultimate Guide to Grandmas and Grandpas by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Michael Emberley (HarperCollins) coaxes children to be good to their grandparents using a bit of reverse psychology and a cast of animal characters. "When you have a grandma or a grandpa, you need to scream and run away when they pretend to be a monster." Better yet, "You need to hold their hand when they cross the street." Kind Grandad in There's Going to Be a Baby by John Burningham, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (Candlewick Press) serves as confidant to the boy hero as he slowly warms to becoming a big brother. Jenny Han's multigenerational early chapter book Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream (Little, Brown) doubles as an immigrant story, as third-grader Clara Lee tells her Korean grandfather her dreams.
And let us not forget the matriarchs, like the one at the center of Richard Peck's Newbery Award–winning A Year Down Yonder and his other books starring Grandma Dowdel, sure to bring laughter to middle-grade readers. Many books by Sharon Creech also feature a heroine who's close to her grandparents, such as her Newbery Medal–winning Walk Two Moons, Heartbeat and the rollicking Granny Torelli Makes Soup, in which Granny serves up quips and advice along with her delicious dishes (all HarperCollins). --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness