"Young people need something stable to hang on to — a culture connection, a sense of their own past, a hope for their own future. Most of all, they need what grandparents can give them." - Jay Kesler

In honour of Grandparents' Day (and elders everywhere the other 364 days a year) we’re sharing a few of our favourite kids’ books that show the power of bonds between young and old. From handing down mother tongues to breathing life into family stories, recipes, and traditions, grandparents are often the heart of a family, a common thread tying multiple generations together - and that’s always something worth celebrating.


Book CoveR: Grandpa's Green
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith

A boy explores the richness of his great-grandfather’s life and legacy through the beautiful memories kept in a garden he created.

He was a boy on a farm and a kid with chickenpox. 

He was a soldier, and a husband, and a gardener, and most of all, an artist.


Book Cover: The Lines on Nana's Face

The Lines On Nana’s Face by Simona Ciraolo

A grandmother explains how each wrinkle on her face has a story, sharing important memories with her granddaughter that include her own birth.

“Do you mind them, Nana?” I ask. 

“Not at all,” she says. “You see, it is in these lines that I keep all my memories!”


Book Cover: Dancing in Thatha's Footsteps
Dancing In Thathta’s Footsteps by Srividhya Venkat & Kavita Ramchandran

This moving picture book follows an Indian-American family and a young boy discovering a passion for bharatanatyam - a traditional dance form - alongside his grandfather.

Why don’t you come in and watch?’ asked Thatha. Varun didn’t want to and he was sure he’d be bored…when he heard the tap-tapping of feet and the ting-tinging of cymbals, he grew curious.


Book Cover: Hundred Years of Happiness
Hundred Years of Happiness by Thanhhà Lai, Nguyen Quang & Kim Lien

Alongside her grandfather, a girl helps her grandmother remember her story by nurturing the vines of a fruit found in a Vietnamese dish - one that also holds a very special place in her family’s history.

“Ông slices a sun, exposing crimson gooey pockets protecting the seeds. Then An and Ông smoosh the squash’s red flesh against glutinous rice, adding a dash of sugar and sprinkles of coconut. Bà surprises them and joins in.”


Book Cover: Grandpa's Stories

Grandpa’s Stories by Joseph Coelho & Allison Colpoys

Grieving the loss of her beloved grandfather, a girl takes comfort in a notebook he gave her, where she records his stories so she can honour his memory and carry them with her forever.

If all the world were memories, the past would be rooms I could visit, and in each room would be my grandpa … If all the world were stories, I could make my grandpa better just by listening, listening to every tale he has to tell.


Book Cover: Grandmother's Dreamcatcher

Grandmother’s Dreamcatcher by Becky Ray McCain & Stacey Schuett 

A girl with recurring nightmares goes to stay with her Chippewa grandmother. With her guidance, she learns about dreamcatchers and they craft one together.

“Come on, child,” Grandmother says. “We have a dreamcatcher to make just for you.”


Book Cover: Where are you from?
Where Are You From? By Yamile Saied Méndez & Jaime Kim 

In this lyrical story, a girl discovers the beauty of her heritage when her abuelo helps answer a question she’s heard a lot from others: Where am I from? 

You’re from hurricanes and dark storms, and a tiny singing frog that calls the island people home when the sun goes to sleep....


What's a special memory you have with a grandparent or elder? Share in the comments below!

Leave a comment