There are many relationships I’ve treasured through my life, and high on that list lives the bond I had with my grandparents. I was a late baby, and all my grandparents were elderly or gone by the time I came along, so I always felt I missed many special years of growing up with them, while I appreciated the time I did have. I’m so grateful that our own daughter, now grown, got to spend many wonderful hours with her grandparents.
On hunting down a title I know I’ve recently read that features a grandparent, I stumbled upon an eye-opening article written by the author of one such book here. Who knew that the comfortable role of grandparents I grew up with in my family dynamic and in the books I read as a middle grade kid has changed so drastically?
The following booklist is by no means comprehensive, and it’s quite diverse in style, content and approach to grandparents. Some of these books were childhood favorites that I read and re-read, like Heidi, by Johanna Spyri.
Our daughter introduced me to A Long Way from Chicago, by Richard Peck, when she was in 4th grade. That grandma has such a strong voice.
The Hello, Goodbye Window, by Norton Juster and illustrated by Chris Raschka, may be a picture book but it is also an homage to grandparents and their relationship with grandchildren. It also proves how cool they can be. Students of all ages loved this vibrant book in my library.
Another book that features a “cool” grandparent is our own MUF member, Barbara Dee’s Trauma Queen.
Fablehaven, by Brandon Mull, proves that we aren’t always right when it comes to thinking we’re going to be spending a boring summer at the grandparents’ house…
I’m eager to read the tender story many are talking about in Love, Aubrey, by Suzanne M. LaFleur.
Who wouldn’t love The Summer Book Tove Jannson?
Another book I read countless times was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl. The relationship Charlie had with his grandparents has stuck with me since I read it at 10 years old.
Seven Stories Up, by Laurel Snyder, a magical book featuring a beloved grandmother, is a lovely journey into this relationship.
A grandmother is not the character I think of when I remember the powerful The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne, but one of many blog posts I read about grandparents in books mentioned this relationship in particular. I think it’s time for a re-read.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, by Ian Fleming, was another childhood favorite of mine, one I read when sick in bed, feeling blue, or otherwise at loose ends. Do you remember them saving the grandfather? I remember more about the quirky things. Guess it’s time for a re-read of this one, too.
We’ve got talented members her at The Mixed Up Files! Two of our own Rosanne Parry’s novels, Heart of a Shepherd and Written in Stone, feature grandparents in prominent roles.
It’s fantastic when a grandparent works to solve the problem, as in Granny Torrelli Makes Soup, by Sharon Creech, illustrated by Chris Raschka.
I was captivated by the description of Bird, by Crystal Chan, and can’t wait to read this story about a girl whose grandfather does not speak since he is blamed for a family tragedy.
And what about a grandparent you’ve never met, but your mom refuses to talk about it? Brendan Buckley’s Universe and Everything in It, by Sundee T. Frazier was a real hit with my students.
And last but not least, there are too many wonderful reads to list individually here, so I’ll send you over to Cynthia Leitich Smith’s blog for this list of books featuring grandparents (you should just all read her blog regularly).
I’ve had this post on my mind for a long time without writing it, partly because I was afraid of missing some stand-out titles featuring grandparents. Do you have any to add?