I am thrilled to be participating in the Picture Book 10 for 10 event for the second time. This celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning. What are the picture books that you just can not live without?
Last year I shared many of my all time favourite picture books. This year, I thought I would focus on what has become a beloved theme: picture books that feature a connection between generations – whether it is a child and a grandparent or a child and a grandparent like figure.
These stories remind us that time is a gift, memories have big meaning and wisdom shared always enhances what we know.
My top ten favourites on this theme: Connections across the generations
Mr. Zinger’s Hat written by Cary Fagan and illustrated by Dusan Petricic
A wonderful story about the power of storytelling and how it meanders this way and that between the narrator and the “creatively involved” listener. Young Leo and Mr. Zinger collectively “create” a story. And then the storytelling continues once Leo has been “bit” by the writing/narrating bug. Just lovely.
The Friend written by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Small
A beautiful friendship and love exist between little Belle and her devoted housekeeper Beatrice. Bea is little Belle’s daily companion as her parents race off here and there, too “busy” to give their child time. Reminds us that spending time with a child is everything even when doing the most mundane chores. Connection, warmth, love . . . What makes this story even more special is that it is inspired by a similar relationship in the author’s childhood. I wish I owned this book but sadly it is out of print. As always Small and Stewart create a treasured story together.
The Imaginary Garden written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher
The Imaginary Garden tells a story of grandfather and granddaughter who paint a lush garden mural when a real garden is no longer possible in Poppa’s new apartment. I used this book as inspiration for some beautiful garden art with my students.
The Frank Show, a David Mackintosh title
This title is all about a young boy who thinks his Grandad Frank is not going to be an interesting share at Show and Tell. But, watch out for the older generation! Boy do they pull out all the stops. A great book to share to highlight how wonderful it is to get to know our grandparents. (My own Dad who happens to be a “Papa Frank” loved this title and read it to my nieces :-))
Oma’s Quilt written by Paulette Bourgeois and illustrated by Stephane Jorisch
Emily’s Oma (grandmother) has to move to a retirement home and she is very reluctant to do so. What about her precious things? Her neighbours? Cooking apple strudel? Even the bowling alley at the home doesn’t change her mind (smelly shoes!) While Emily and her mother are sorting through Oma’s possessions, Emily has a wonderful idea. Why not make a memory quilt for Oma!?
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
This book has so much of what I love- adoration for a Grandfather (a Great Grandfather in this case!), nostalgia for sick days and lots of reading, gardens, and the love of family history shared between generations. Exquisite!
Mr. George Baker written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Jon J Muth
What a special story that celebrates friendship, literacy and the sentiment that it is never too late to learn something new. Young Harry waits for the school bus every morning with his friend and neighbour Mr. George Baker. Mr. Baker, a spry and charming man is a hundred years old and has never learned how to read. “That must be corrected,” says George. Lyrical. Simple. Inspirational. A book to share with new learners of every age.
The Wednesday Surprise written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Donald Carrick
Anna spends every evening with her Grandma. After dinner and dishes, Grandma and Anna work on a surprise for Dad’s birthday. The surprise is all about books and reading and it makes me cry no matter how many times I read this story. Special. Special. Special.
The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco
When Mary Ellen confesses that she is tired of reading, Grandpa leads her (and half the community!) on an adventure that involves racing over fields and country roads in search of a bee tree. Along with the reward of baking powder biscuits and sweet honey, Mary Ellen receives some of Grandpa’s wisdom:
“There is sweetness inside of that book too! Such things . . . adventure, knowledge and wisdom. But these things do not come easily. You have to pursue them.”
William’s Doll written by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by William Pene Du Bois
A classic and consistently important story that shakes up thinking that is based in stereotypes. Brothers, neighbours and Dad send William the message that wanting a doll is wrong, something for a “sissy” and certainly not for a boy. But Grandma arrives, and in her wise and quiet way manages to get William the doll he covets and give the message to Dad that William wants a doll to love, but also to “play” at being a father – learning to do all of the things he will need to do one day for his own child. More than forty years old, this book is still relevant. I used it with a class last year and it was powerful.
Last year, my list featured two more favourites on this theme. Stories that remain favourites.
(Knew I would find a way to “be creative” (a.k.a. cheat) with the 10 book guideline :-))
Not only do I love books that celebrate connections between the generations, I also love the magic that happens when books are shared during reading experiences. I shared that in this post: The Grandparent Effect
Please share if you have other titles that fit with this theme of connections across generations.
This is such an important theme, especially when families often live so far from grandparents. Oma’s Quilt is one of my favorites, too, as is The Hello Goodbye Window and Grandpa Green. Most of the other titles are new to me. Yay! One of my favorite books that would fit with your theme is Mailing May, by Michael O. Tunnell.
Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for this suggestion Catherine. I marked it on Goodreads. My public library doesn’t have it unfortunately so will check the school board. Glad to know you found both some favourites and some new titles here.
I LOVE the theme for this list, Carrie. I know just a few of the titles. I’ll be adding quite a few of these to our home library as my daughter gets older and can appreciate these stories.
I can see the Hello Goodbye Window being one she would like quite soon. I shared it with my two when they were just little. So bright and colourful and celebrates the connection with grandparents in the best of ways!
You’ve added quite a few to my list Carrie-thank you. I can’t wait to find some of them. Also, I looked up The Friend on Amazon & it is available from the used bookstores, FYI. The Hello Goodbye Window is a favorite & I actually have a window like that now where Ingrid can play with me when she arrives! Thanks for your excellent summary reviews-so helpful!
I am going to have to purchase it used Linda – writing this post renewed my urge to own this title. How delightful that you have a window like that. My son used to open up the door multiple times when he was little and shout “Hello World! What have you got for me today?!” We love that book!
I think yours is the most dangerous list I’ve seen so far–really want to purchase the whole list! Thanks for introducing me to some new titles and inspiring me to reread others. This really is a lovely theme for a list.
Thank you so much Elisabeth. I am honoured to take the dangerous title! This theme is very dear to my heart.
Great grandparents books! Thank you.
Here’s my list: Top Ten Edgy Picture Books.
Thanks for reading. Just peeked at your post – oh how I love Beware of the Frog! Some of my students read this title endlessly!
This was a great idea. My absolute best memories are from hanging out with my grandparents. There are many titles here I love — and several I need to check out!
Thanks Cathy. I think the grandparent relationship is extremely special. So lucky my children have all 4 grandparents very involved in their lives.
This is a beautiful and original theme. Grandparents are not frequently featured in picture books. Great idea.
Thanks so much for visiting. You’re right – not in picture books often. But when they are and it is done well . . . very special!
Love, love, love this list. I think everyone softens and opens up when thinking of their grandparents. Even the toughest nuts crack. Many of my students’ grandparents are their life lines when their parent’s life is overwhelming. This makes me think it would be a great starting place for personal narrative writing work. Grandparents can provide the sweet simple things in life–times when we slow down and just be.
Thanks for such a thoughtful comment. I think grandparent relationships have huge value as well – that’s why these books are so important to me. Great idea for narrative pieces. Would be fascinating to see what was shared. And yes, agree – the gift of time is huge.
I love this theme…I have so many wonderful memories with my grandparents. Lots of new books to add to my to read list! Thanks for sharing!
My pleasure I am so pleased that you found some new titles on this list!
What a great list! I just got The Bee Tree from the library and am looking forward to reading it. And of course, I absolutely adored The Frank Show. 🙂
Thanks Beth! The Bee Tree is just a lot of good fun and then it hits you with a fabulous book message! What could be better!?
I knew when I saw your tweet last night @2am that it would be a treat to visit your post today-I was right! I like thinking about books that connect the generations-great idea! I will share this with other teachers to be savored when we celebrate grandparents day! Thanks for sharing!
So sweet – thank you. I am glad it didn’t disappoint. I have been collecting these titles and this was the perfect opportunity to share. Love #pb10for10
What a wonderful theme! Connecting the generations is so important to children! I’m looking forward to reading Mr. George Baker! Thanks for the ideas!
So pleased you found some inspiration. Happy Reading!
What a great theme and a wonderful collection of books and, as always, some new titles for me! I love the quilt book cover, too! Hello- Good-bye Windows is one of my favorites! DO you know My Grandpa by Marta Altas? It might be a great addition to your list. Also How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan for a few laughs! Thanks for your great suggestions, friend!
I knew you would have titles for me! Thank you! Happy you discovered some new possibilities.This is quite the book sharing day! Lots to love and lots of new to encounter.
Back to add a few favorites:
Lucky Pennies and Hot Chocolate
The Sunsets of Miss Olivia Wiggins
A Day’s Work
Saturdays and Teacakes
How sweet of you to come back and suggest these! Must have been a crazy day for you! I am heading to goodreads now to check out your suggestions!
Hi mommy I loved your picture book ten for ten the imaginary garden is amazing!!!
It is! A very special story about two of my favourite things – gardens and grandparents!
If you want a copy of the book, The Friend, go to Abebooks.com. They have many copies and other hard to find books as well. I spend LOTS of money at this site. Thanks for a great list of books!
I will check this out – thanks for the suggestion. I spend lots of money on books generally but haven’t ventured into the out of print searches/purchasing yet. Glad that you find this site reliable. And thanks for visiting!
what a great list of books! there were a number on here that I had never heard of and definitely want to introduce to my girls. I love stories that show how important generations are!
Me too! I hope you all enjoy some of these titles together!
Pingback: for the love of grandma and a good museum | Books My Kids Read
Pingback: Monday December 30th, 2013 | There's a Book for That