For all our U.S. readers, Grandparents Day is quickly approaching! So I thought I’d share some fantastic picture book titles for all the parents and grandparents looking for the perfect gift or story for the occasion.
As always, these titles all feature inclusive characters and themes (think racial and cultural diversity, LGBTQ+ representation, diverse family structures, disability representation, and more), falling into a range of genres in both fiction and nonfiction categories.
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Something About Grandma by Tania de Regil
“On a first solo visit to her grandmother’s home outside Mexico City, a young girl discovers what makes Grandma so special in this enchanting and personal picture book.
At Grandma’s house, where Julia is staying without her parents for the first time, the breeze is sweet like jasmine. Mornings begin with sugared bread, and the most magnificent hot chocolate cures all homesickness. There’s something about this place . . . and about Grandma. Like how she can tell when Julia has been quietly picking limes from the garden. Or that she can see the future—and knows when Julia is about to fall off her bike. Or how she can journey back in time through the stories she tells. In the room where Julia’s mother grew up, her grandmother holds her in a warm embrace—an embrace that Julia will pass on to her family when her parents arrive with her new baby brother. With Tania de Regil’s heartfelt illustrations, incorporating poems by her great-grandfather that were handwritten by her grandmother, Something About Grandma offers a tender and playful exploration of the magic of intergenerational love and wisdom.”
All from a Walnut by Ammi-Joan Paquette, Illustrated by Felicita Sala
“A moving, multigenerational story about love, family roots, and the cycle of life
When Emilia finds a walnut one morning, Grandpa tells her the story behind it: of his journey across the ocean to a new home, with only one small bag and a nut in his pocket.
“I planted my little tree in good brown soil, so it would grow strong here forever.”
“In this house? In this yard?”
“Shall we go see?”
Step by step, Grandpa teaches Emilia how to cultivate her own seed. But as her little nut grows, Grandpa begins to slow down—until one sad day, Emilia has to say goodbye. Emilia’s sapling looks as droopy as she feels . . . but she knows just what to do.”
Tofu Takes Time by Helen H. Wu, Illustrated by Julie Jarema
“Homemade tofu is good, and good things take time.
CLICK CLACK WHIRRRR . . . Lin and her grandma, NaiNai, are making tofu from scratch! When NaiNai goes through each step, from blending soybeans with water to molding curd into shape, Lin gradually becomes impatient. But she soon discovers that making tofu not only takes time, but also takes the whole universe! It takes the seed from soil and sunshine, the cloth from thread and fiber, weight and space, books of words and pictures. And most of all, it takes spending lovely time with her beloved grandmother.
In this charming tale by Helen H. Wu, readers will marvel at how patience brings a whole universe together in a simple dish made by a modern Chinese American family. Perfect for fans of Fry Bread, Drawn Together and Thank You, Omu.“
One, Two Grandma Loves You by Shelly Becker, Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
“From acclaimed creators Shelly Becker and Dan Yaccarino comes this joyful picture book about a girl and her grandmother as they plan the perfect visit together
One, two, Grandma loves you.
Three, four, visit more.
Five, six, precious pics.
Seven, eight, mark the date.
A young girl and her grandmother count up to their next visit and then do all of their favorite things together in this joyful rhyming picture book.”
Grandad’s Camper by Harry Woodgate
“Discover a wonderful grandfather-granddaughter relationship, as a little girl hatches the perfect plan to get her Grandad adventuring again.
Gramps and Grandad were adventurers. They would surf, climb mountains, and tour the country in their amazing camper. Gramps just made everything extra special. But after Gramps died, granddad hasn’t felt like traveling anymore. So, their amazing granddaughter comes up with a clever plan to fix up the old camper and get Grandad excited to explore again.
This beautiful picture book honors love and reminds us not only to remember those we have lost, but to celebrate them.”
When Lola Visits by Michelle Sterling, Illustrated Aaron Asis
“For one young girl, summer is the season of no school, of days spent at the pool, and of picking golden limes off the trees. But summer doesn’t start until her lola—her grandmother from the Philippines—comes for her annual visit.
Summer is special. For her lola fills the house with the aroma of mango jam, funny stories of baking mishaps, and her quiet sweet singing in Tagalog. And in turn, her granddaughter brings Lola to the beach, to view fireworks at the park, and to catch fish at their lake.
When Lola visits, the whole family gathers to cook and eat and share in their happiness of another season spent together. Yet as summer transitions to fall, her lola must return home—but not without a surprise for her granddaughter to preserve their special summer a bit longer.”
Brand-New Bubbe by Sarah Aronson, Illustrated Ariel Landy
“Jillian isn’t so sure she needs a third grandma now that her stepdad is joining the family, but can her brand-new Bubbe win her over?
When Jillian joins Bubbe for some mom-mandated matzo ball soup making, she realizes she has room in her heart (and stomach!) for one more grandmother. But how can she convince Noni and Gram she still loves them just as much? A super soup celebration, of course! Chaos in the kitchen leads to matzo ball soup, spicy gazpacho, meatball soup, and a trio of grandmas united in their love for their family.
Complete with all three soup recipes, Brand-New Bubbe captures the warmth of blended family and honors the joys of cooking with the ones you love.”
Kiyoshi’s Walk by Mark Karlins, Nicole Wong
“Where do poems come from? This beautiful picture book about a young aspiring poet and his grandfather shows that the answer lies all around us–if we take the time to look.
After Kiyoshi watches his grandfather, Eto, compose his delicate haiku, he wonders out loud: “Where do poems come from?” His grandfather answers by taking him on a walk through their city, where they see a cat perched on a hill of oranges; hear the fluttering of wings; imagine what’s behind a tall wall; and discuss their walk, with each incident inspiring a wonderful new haiku from Eto. As Kiyoshi discovers that poems come from the way the world outside of us meets the world within each of us, he also finds the courage to write a haiku of his own.
This lovely book will speak to any reader who treasures poetry, city life, grandparents, or the beauty of the everyday.”
I’ll Go and Come Back by Rajani LaRocca, Illustrated Sara Palacios
“A tender, beautifully illustrated story about a girl in America and her grandmother in India, whose love stretches between languages and cultures—and across the world.
When Jyoti visits her grandmother halfway around the world, she is overwhelmed by the differences between India and home. At first she feels lonely and out of place, but soon, despite a language barrier, she and Sita Pati are able to understand each other. They form a bond—looking at books together, making designs with colored sand, shopping at the market, playing games, eating chapatis, and sipping warm milk with saffron to bring sweet dreams. When it’s time to part, Jyoti doesn’t want to leave, but then she remembers that in Tamil, people don’t say goodbye, they say “I’ll go and come back.” Sure enough, the two reunite the next summer when Pati visits Jyoti in America, and it’s Jyoti’s turn to make her grandmother feel welcome. Can they create some special memories that will last until the next time they see each other?”
Soul Food Sunday by Winsome Bingham, Illustrated by C. G. Esperanza
“Granny teaches her grandson to cook the family meal in this loving celebration of food, traditions, and gathering together at the table.
On Sundays, everyone gathers at Granny’s for Soul Food.
But today, I don’t go to the backyard or the great room.
I follow Granny instead.
“You’re a big boy now,” Granny says. “Time for you to learn.”
At Granny’s, Sunday isn’t Sunday without a big family gathering over a lovingly prepared meal. Old enough now, our narrator is finally invited to help cook the dishes for the first time: He joins Granny in grating the cheese, cleaning the greens, and priming the meat for Roscoe Ray’s grill. But just when Granny says they’re finished, her grandson makes his own contribution, sweetening this Sunday gathering—and the many more to come.
Evocatively written and vividly illustrated, this mouthwatering story is a warm celebration of tradition and coming together at a table filled with love and delicious food.”
Grandpa Grumps by Katrina Moore, Illustrated by Xindi Yan
“Daisy’s Yeh-Yeh is visiting from China, and try as she might, Daisy can’t get her grumpy grandpa to smile!
Daisy’s Yeh-Yeh is visiting for the first time from China, and Daisy is so excited to meet him! She has big plans for all the fun they’ll have together, like tea parties and snow angels, but when Yeh-Yeh arrives, Daisy finds him less jolly than she imagined. Throughout the week, she tries all sorts of things to get him past his grumpiness. Will she be able to make him smile before he goes home?
Kids will love this funny and heartwarming story about overcoming cultural differences and connecting across generations!”
Abuelita and I Make Flan by Adriana Hernández Bergstrom
“Anita loves to bake with her abuela, especially when they are using her grandmother’s special recipes for Cuban desserts like flan!
Anita is making flan for Abuelo’s birthday, but when she accidentally breaks Abuelita’s treasured flan serving plate from Cuba, she struggles with what to do. Anita knows it’s right to tell the truth, but what if Abuelita gets upset? Worried that she has already ruined the day, Anita tries to be the best helper. After cooking the flan, they need a serving dish! Anita comes up with a wonderful solution.
Complete with a glossary of Spanish terms and a traditional recipe for flan, Abuelita and I Make Flan is a delicious celebration of food, culture, and family.”
Holding On by Sophia N. Lee, Illustrated by Isabel Roxas
“A young girl in the Philippines uses music to connect with her grandmother as her memory fades in this warm and moving picture book perfect for fans of Pixar’s Coco.
There is always singing in Lola’s house. Sammy Davis Jr. in the morning, Dean Martin in the afternoon, and all throughout the evening, old Tagalog love songs from Nora Aunor, Basil Valdez, and more. Lola always says: “If you want to hold on, you gotta sing your songs.”
Her granddaughter tucks these sounds and Lola’s wisdom deep within her heart. And when Lola starts slipping into silence and stillness, she helps Lola hold on, piece by piece, with the joy and music that Lola taught her.”
A Plan For Pops by Heather Smith, Illustrated Brooke Kerrigan
“Lou spends every Saturday with Grandad and Pops. They walk to the library hand in hand, like a chain of paper dolls. Grandad reads books about science and design, Pops listens to rock and roll, and Lou bounces from lap to lap. But everything changes one Saturday. Pops has a fall. That night there is terrible news: Pops will need to use a wheelchair, not just for now, but for always. Unable to cope with his new circumstances, he becomes withdrawn and shuts himself in his room. Hearing Grandad trying to cheer up Pops inspires Lou to make a plan. Using skills learned from Grandad, and with a little help from their neighbors, Lou comes up with a plan for Pops.”
Amah Faraway by Margaret Chiu Greanias, Illustrated Tracy Subisak
“A delightful story of a child’s visit to a grandmother and home far away, and of how families connect and love across distance, language, and cultures.
Kylie is nervous about visiting her grandmother-her Amah-who lives SO FAR AWAY.
When she and Mama finally go to Taipei, Kylie is shy with Amah. Even though they have spent time together in video chats, those aren’t the same as real life. And in Taiwan, Kylie is at first uncomfortable with the less-familiar language, customs, culture, and food. However, after she is invited by Amah-Lái kàn kàn! Come see!-to play and splash in the hot springs (which aren’t that different from the pools at home), Kylie begins to see this place through her grandmother’s eyes and sees a new side of the things that used to scare her. Soon, Kylie is leading her Amah-Come see! Lái kàn kàn!-back through all her favorite parts of this place and having SO MUCH FUN! And when it is time to go home, the video chats will be extra special until they can visit faraway again.”
Punky Aloha by Shar Tuiasoa
“Meet Punky Aloha: a girl who uses the power of saying “aloha” to experience exciting and unexpected adventures!
Punky loves to do a lot of things—except meeting new friends. She doesn’t feel brave enough.
So when her grandmother asks her to go out and grab butter for her famous banana bread, Punky hesitates. But with the help of her grandmother’s magical sunglasses, and with a lot of aloha in her heart, Punky sets off on a BIG adventure for the very first time.
Will she be able to get the butter for grandma?
Punky Aloha is a Polynesian girl who carries her culture in her heart and in everything she does. Kids will love to follow this fun character all over the island of O’ahu.”
Over the Shop by Jonarno Lawson, Illustrated by Qin Leng
“In a beautifully detailed wordless picture book, a tumbledown building becomes home sweet home for a found family.
A lonely little girl and her grandparent need to fill the run-down apartment in their building. But taking over the quarters above their store will mean major renovations for the new occupants, and none of the potential renters can envision the possibilities of the space—until one special couple shows up. With their ingenuity, the little girl’s big heart, and heaps of hard work, the desperate fixer-upper begins to change in lovely and surprising ways. In this bustling wordless picture book, JonArno Lawson’s touching story and Qin Leng’s gentle illustrations capture all angles of the building’s transformation, as well as the evolving perspectives of the girl and her grandparent. A warm and subtly nuanced tale, Over the Shop throws open the doors to what it means to accept people for who they are and to fill your home with love and joy.”
Nana, Nenek & Nina by Liza Ferneyhough
“Nina loves visiting her two faraway grandmas—one in Malaysia and one in England. Spot the similarities and differences between their homes in this cozy and beautifully illustrated picture book!
Nina lives in San Francisco with her parents, and she loves visiting her two grandmas across the world. Follow Nina as her two trips unfold side by side: Young readers will love poring over the details of what is the same and what is different at Nana’s home in England and at Nenek’s home in Malaysia. In each place, Nina wears different clothes, plays different games, and eats different food. But so much about visiting Nana and Nenek is the same, from warm hugs at the airport to beach days and bedtime snuggles. Nina is equally at home across the world in Malaysia or England, and both of her grandmas love her to California and back.”
Bindu’s Bindis by Supriya Kelkar, Illustrated by Parvati Pillai
“A companion to Kelkar’s The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh, this picture book features a little girl named Bindu whose bindis connect her to family and help her find courage to compete in the school talent show.
This charming picture book is about a little girl who loves her bindis (and the many creative shapes they come in!). The bindis are also a connection to her Nani who lives in India. When Nani comes to visit Bindu and brings the bindis to her, it is just in time to wear something new to the school talent show. Bindu and Nani work together to shine their brightest and embrace their sparkle, even when they stand out from the crowd.”
Grandpa Across the Ocean by Hyewon Yum
“Though separated by language, age, and an ocean, a child and grandparent find common ground in this warm, witty picture book
Grandpa lives on the other side of the ocean.
He takes naps all the time. He eats different foods. He speaks an unfamiliar language. His house is the most boring place on Earth!
Or is it? A little time together just might reveal that Grandpa is also a great singer, an energetic sandcastle builder, and a troublemaker . . . just like his grandson!
With her signature warmth and humor, award-winning author-illustrator Hyewon Yum shares the challenges and joys of having a relative who lives far away—proving that even from across the ocean, the grandparent-grandchild relationship is a very special one.”
I Dream of Popo by Livia Blackburne, Illustrated by Julia Kuo
“From New York Times bestselling author Livia Blackburne and illustrator Julia Kuo, here is I Dream of Popo. This delicate, emotionally rich picture book celebrates a special connection that crosses time zones and oceans as Popo and her granddaughter hold each other in their hearts forever.
I dream with Popo as she rocks me in her arms.
I wave at Popo before I board my flight.
I talk to Popo from across the sea.
I tell Popo about my adventures.
When a young girl and her family emigrate from Taiwan to America, she leaves behind her beloved popo, her grandmother. She misses her popo every day, but even if their visits are fleeting, their love is ever true and strong.”
On The Trapline by David A. Robertson
“A picture book celebrating Indigenous culture and traditions. The Governor General Award–winning team behind When We Were Alone shares a story that honors our connections to our past and our grandfathers and fathers.
A boy and Moshom, his grandpa, take a trip together to visit a place of great meaning to Moshom. A trapline is where people hunt and live off the land, and it was where Moshom grew up. As they embark on their northern journey, the child repeatedly asks his grandfather, “Is this your trapline?” Along the way, the boy finds himself imagining what life was like two generations ago — a life that appears to be both different from and similar to his life now. This is a heartfelt story about memory, imagination and intergenerational connection that perfectly captures the experience of a young child’s wonder as he is introduced to places and stories that hold meaning for his family.”
Hundred Years of Happiness by Thanhhà Lai, Illustrated by Nguyen Quang and Kim Lien
On a first solo visit to her grandmother’s home outside Mexico City, a young girl discovers what makes Grandma so special in this enchanting and personal picture book.
“At Grandma’s house, where Julia is staying without her parents for the first time, the breeze is sweet like jasmine. Mornings begin with sugared bread, and the most magnificent hot chocolate cures all homesickness. There’s something about this place . . . and about Grandma. Like how she can tell when Julia has been quietly picking limes from the garden. Or that she can see the future—and knows when Julia is about to fall off her bike. Or how she can journey back in time through the stories she tells. In the room where Julia’s mother grew up, her grandmother holds her in a warm embrace—an embrace that Julia will pass on to her family when her parents arrive with her new baby brother. With Tania de Regil’s heartfelt illustrations, incorporating poems by her great-grandfather that were handwritten by her grandmother, Something About Grandma offers a tender and playful exploration of the magic of intergenerational love and wisdom.”
Bird House by Blanca Gómez
“A grandmother and grandchild nurse an injured bird together in this touching story about caring for all creatures, the wonder of nature, and letting go.
On a snowy day, a grandmother and grandchild find an injured bird. They take it home and care for it until it can fly around the living room. It is fantastic—just like everything at Abuela’s house! But a fantastic moment is also bittersweet, for the little bird’s recovery means that it’s time to let it fly free. Drawing inspiration from a formative childhood experience, Blanca Gómez crafts a deceptively simple story that is morally and emotionally resonant and is brimming with love, wonder, and a deep respect for the natural world.”
We Wait for the Sun by Katie McCabe and Dovey Johnson Roundtree, Illustrated by Raissa Figueroa
“A beautiful and uplifting non-fiction picture book from Katie McCabe and trailblazing civil rights lawyer and activist Dovey Johnson Roundtree, We Wait for the Sun.
In the hour before dawn, Dovey Mae and Grandma Rachel step into the cool, damp night on a secret mission: to find the sweetest, ripest blackberries that grow deep in the woods.
But the nighttime holds a thousand sounds―and a thousand shadows―and Dovey Mae is frightened of the dark. But with the fierce and fearless Grandma Rachel at her side, the woods turn magical, and berry picking becomes an enchanting adventure that ends with the beauty and power of the sunrise.”
What are your favorite picture books about grandparents? Be sure to share in the comments below!