Grandma's Stories

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

Illustrated by: Alice Priestley
Age Level: 6-9

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

Illustrated by: Nancy Carpenter
Age Level: 6-9

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.

Chavela and the Magic Bubble

Illustrated by: Magaly Morales
Age Level: 6-9

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.

Going Home, Coming Home/ Ve Nha, Tham Que Huong

Illustrated by: Ann Phong
Age Level: 6-9

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

Illustrated by: Anita De Lucio-Brock
Age Level: 6-9

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 Calls Me Beautiful

Illustrated by: Barbara Lavallee
Age Level: 3-6

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.

Grandma's Gift

Age Level: 6-9

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.

Grandma's Records

Age Level: 6-9

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.

Isla

Illustrated by: Ms. Elisa Kleven
Age Level: 3-6

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

Illustrated by: Christian Robinson
Age Level: 6-9

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

Illustrated by: Stacey Dressen-McQueen
Age Level: 3-6

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.

Love, Amalia

By: Pat Mora
Age Level: 9-12

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.

The Day Gogo Went to Vote

Illustrated by: Sharon Wilson
Age Level: 6-9

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

Illustrated by: Alex Pardo DeLange
Age Level: 3-6

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

Illustrated by: Henry Cole
Age Level: 9-12

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

Illustrated by: Yangsook Choi
Age Level: 6-9

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

Illustrated by: Thomas Allen
Age Level: 6-9

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.