Grandma and Me: Stories About Grandmothers
Whether they call them Grandma, Nana, or Abuelita, kids love their grandmothers. By whatever name, grandmas are special to children, always ready with a hug. They often provide a link to a family's cultural heritage and native language, and they have lots of great stories to tell! These books about grandmothers from around the world celebrate all that grandmothers have to offer — and what their grandchildren offer them in return.
For more suggestions, take a look at the following:
A Gift for Gita
Gita has made friends in her adopted home, but is now faced with the possibility of returning to India where most of her relatives still live. A Gift for Gita is a touching story about the importance of friendship and stability and the meaning of "home." This is the final book in the critically acclaimed series.
A Picnic in October
Tony is not looking forward to his family's annual picnic at Liberty Island in October. Nevertheless, his grandmother insists that they maintain the tradition of celebrating her birthday with Lady Liberty. At first it doesn't seem like much fun — until Tony finally begins to understand why the Statue of Liberty means so much to his grandmother. Lovely colorful acrylic paintings bring this special tribute to life.
Rosalba imagines flying over New York City with her much loved abuela. The young girl uses a lovely mix of English and Spanish to describe their journey, moving from the busy streets of Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty. Brightly colored illustrations detail what Rosalba and her grandmother glimpse as they fly, and the rich tales of Abuela's memories. (Available in both English and Spanish).
Chavela and the Magic Bubble
Product Description: Chavela loves chomping chicle — chewing gum and blowing bubbles. One day, while out with her abuelita, she finds a mysterious kind of gum she has never seen before. She pops it in her mouth and blows a giant bubble that lifts her up into the air and carries her on a magical journey. Luscious, candy-colored paintings illustrate this fantastical story with an ecological twist. An afterword provides information on natural chewing gum, the rainforest, and sustainable farming, as well as music to a traditional Latin American folksong.
Full, Full, Full of Love
Young Jay Jay helps his loving and much loved grandmother prepare for a big family dinner.
Going Home, Coming Home/ Ve Nha, Tham Que Huong
American born Ami Chi travels to her parents' native Vietnam, to visit her grandmother. There she finds that some things don't change — like friendship — even in a strange, new land. Bilingually told and illustrated by richly colored paintings, Ami's story has resonance.
Grandma and Me at the Flea
Juan Felipe Herrera shares memories of the time he spent with his grandmother at the local flea market in this uplifting story. From the woman who sells hot chiles to the man who sells eagle belt-buckles, the flea market offers so many sights, sounds, and tastes to take in. What Juan begins to realize, though, is that the flea market is much more than a collection of tents and vendors — it is a community. Anita de Lucio-Brocks vibrant illustrations fill the pages with stunning color and detail. Bilingual text.
Grandma and the Great Gourd: A Bengali Folktale
An old woman left her small village to visit her daughter and granddaughter, telling three hungry predators to wait to eat her until she is plumped up on her way back. How the women outwit the bear, fox and tiger is satisfyingly told and handsomely illustrated in saturated color illustrations in this Indian folktale that the author recalls from her childhood.
Grandma Calls Me Beautiful
Beautiful asks Grandma to tell her their story, a story of bright eyes, swaying seaweed, and soft kapa cloth. No matter what, Grandma tells her granddaughter, she will be "Forever and for always, Beautiful." The lyrical text celebrates Hawaiian traditions and language, and watercolor illustrations evoke the lush hues of the Hawaiian islands.
It's Christmastime, and Eric has a special assignment — he has to write a report about a new painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Eric's grandmother makes a deal with him: if he will help her make traditional Puerto Rican pasteles, she will take him to the museum. Together they leave the familiar neighborhoods of Spanish Harlem and venture out to the Met, where Eric encounters a painting that changes his life. A note from author and illustrator Eric Velasquez provides some background to this quiet yet profound story from his childhood.
Product Description: Every summer, Eric goes to live with his grandmother in El Barrio (Spanish Harlem) while his parents work. Through the long hot days, Grandma fills her apartment with the blaring horns and conga drums of Bomba y Plena, salsa, and merengüe — the music she grew up with in Puerto Rico — sharing her memories and passions with Eric. Join Eric Velasquez on a magical journey through time and across cultures, as a young boy's passion for music and art is forged by a powerful bond between generations.
I Help / Niwechihaw
Product Description: Written and illustrated by members of the Tahltan and Cree nations, this sweet, simple story looks at a very special relationship. A young boy goes for a walk with his kohkom, or grandmother, listening, picking, praying, eating, just as she does. In doing so, he begins to learn the rich cultural traditions and values of his Cree heritage. Bilingual English/Cree.
Product Description: Rosalba is going on an imaginary journey to the Caribbean island where her grandmother grew up. Through her abuela's eyes, Rosalba visits with relatives who still live on la isla and sees the beautiful terrain of the island, from the lush, tropical rain forest to the bustling old city. Along the way Rosalba and her grandmother visit a busy fruit market, then cool off with a swim in the turquoise sea filled with colorful fish. Their magical trip is brought to life by Elisa Kleven's shimmering collage artwork.
Last Stop on Market Street
Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don't own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn't he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them. Winner 2016 Newbery Award.
Little Mamá Forgets
Product description: Every morning, Lucy tiptoes into her grandmother's room to wake her with a gentle tickle. Little Mamá always remembers to tickle Lucy right back! But Lucy knows there are things her abuelita sometimes forgets — like the way to the park or how to tie her shoes. Still, there's much that Little Mamá remembers and shares: how to skip and dance, stories from Mexico, and plenty of hugs and kisses.
Looking for Bongo
Where could Bongo be? Help a young boy find his beloved toy — and figure out how he got lost to begin with. The boy knows Bongo was right there with him this morning—but suddenly, Bongo is missing. He asks his whole family if they've seen the stuffed toy. "Yo no sé," says abuela, "I don't know." When he finally finds Bongo, the boy is thrilled — and he sets a trap to catch the Bongo thief. Eric Velasquez's detailed, expressive illustrations follow the boy's investigation throughout his home, giving a glimpse at a warm, multi-generational family.
Product Description: Amalia's best friend Martha is moving away, and Amalia is feeling sad and angry. And yet, even when life seems unfair, the loving, wise words of Amalia's abuelita have a way of making everything a little bit brighter. But when another loss racks Amalia's life, nothing makes sense anymore. In her sorrow, will Amalia realize just how special she is, even when the ones she loves are no longer near?
Mango, Abuela, and Me
Mia's abuela has left her sunny house with parrots and palm trees to live with Mia and her parents in the city. The night she arrives, Mia tries to share her favorite book with Abuela before they go to sleep and discovers that Abuela can't read the words inside. So while they cook, Mia helps Abuela learn English ("Dough. Masa"), and Mia learns some Spanish too, but it’s still hard for Abuela to learn the words she needs to tell Mia all her stories.
My Grandma/Mi Abuelita
It is time to visit Grandma! First a taxi, then an airplane, one more bus — and there she is! This book for young readers uses very simple bilingual text to follow the journey from home to Grandma's front yard, telling the story with colorful illustrations. Children will enjoy poring over the detailed artwork, and readers will feel a glow when everyone is finally juntos — together.
My Nana and Me
A joyful story celebrating the love between a granddaughter and her grandmother. This delightful picture books follows a young girl and her grandmother through a day of tea parties, dancing, hide and seek, pat-a-cake, bath time, story time, and bedtime. At the end of the story the little girl discovers why she is so extra special.
Our Grandparents: A Global Album
The joy shared between grandparents and grandchildren is presented in photographs and brief text following an introduction by Desmond Tutu.
Thank You, Omu!
Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu's delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself? Debut author-illustrator Oge Mora brings to life a heartwarming story of sharing and community in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu's stew, with an extra serving of love.
The Day Gogo Went to Vote
When Thembi's family learns that South Africa will hold elections, her 100-year-old grandmother announces that she too will vote now that she has the opportunity. This story of quiet determination pays tribute to the people of South Africa and the privilege of casting a ballot. Pastel sketches convey the joy and warmth of the bond between Thembi and Gogo.
The Empanadas That Abuela Made
Product description: Baking is always a treat, particularly when you throw family and fun into the mix. In this whimsical look at the making of empanadas, popular children's author Gonzales Bertrand serves up the festive fun of a family's effort to concoct the delicious pastries with humorous cooks and family: Abuela, Abuelo, the cousins, aunts, uncles, and even the family dog join the parade of fluttering flour and swirling sugar. Alex Pardo de Lange fills the pages with offbeat illustrations of blankets of dough and dancing rolling pins. Bilingual text.
The Falling Flowers
Grandmother has a surprise for Mayumie — is it a visit to the zoo, a museum, or the big city? When they finally reach their destination, Mayumie understands what makes visiting a cherry blossom grove so special: the beautiful pink flowers only bloom once a year! Readers will be enchanted by the magic of the story and the illustrations that capture the stunning colors of the cherry blossom trees. An author's note provides historical details, as well as information on the cherry blossom trees in Washington, DC.
The Key Collection
Product Description: Xiao Jimmy's Grandma Ni Ni is his favorite person in all the world. Ni Ni cooks delicious jiao zi, teaches Jimmy Chinese characters, and always has wonderful stories and fascinating objects — like the key collection — to share with him. So when Jimmy learns that Ni Ni must move far away to California, he feels he is losing his best friend. In time, however, Jimmy discovers there are ways to bridge distance, and to make new friends in the process.
The Most Beautiful Place in the World
Now that Juan's mother has left him with his grandmother, he shines shoes to earn a living. More than anything else, though, 7-year old Juan wants to learn to read and go to school. Guatemala comes alive through the daily lives of Juan and his grandmother and the detailed black/white illustrations.
In a quietly perceptive story that includes a handful of key words translated into a Cree dialect, a child accompanies his grandmother into an airy, late summer forest to pick wild blueberries. Throughout their excursion, Clarence and his grandmother observe woodland animals, including a spider ("kokom-minakesis") spinning its web, a fox ("makesis"), and birds ("pinesisak").
See more great related resources and videos in our Multicultural Literature section!