My Picture Book 10 for 10 for 2013

Connections across the generations. Picture Book 10 for 10 There's a Book for that

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?

pb 10 for 10

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.

Mr Zinger's Hat: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

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 Friend: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

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 Imaginary Garden: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

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 :-))

The Frank Show: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

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!?

Oma's Quilt: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

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!

Grandpa Green: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

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.

Mr. George Baker: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

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 Wednesday Surprise: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

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.”

The Bee Tree: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

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.

William's Doll: A Connection Between Generations There's a Book for That

Last year, my list featured two more favourites on this theme. Stories that remain favourites.

Connections across the generations. Picture Book 10 for 10 There's a Book for that

(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.

Happy Reading!

36 thoughts on “My Picture Book 10 for 10 for 2013

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. Carrie,
    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!


  6. 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.

  7. Carrie,
    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!

  8. 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!

  9. If you want a copy of the book, The Friend, go to 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!

  10. 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!

  11. Pingback: for the love of grandma and a good museum | Books My Kids Read

  12. Pingback: Monday December 30th, 2013 | There's a Book for That

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