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Family History: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about family history?

Family is important and makes us who we are. It’s the people that came before us that helped create our life and our culture as individuals, families, and society. Hodding Carter said, “There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children - one is roots, and the other, wings.” By helping our children learn about their ancestors, we’re giving them roots and wings, which is why we’ve gathered these fabulous, fun, and sweet books about family history that will inspire your children to learn more about their own heritage.

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Top 10 Books About Family History

#1
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The Frank Show
Written & illustrated by David Mackintosh
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
This is one of my favorite grandparent books! It tells the story of a little boy who has to talk about his grandfather for one full minute during a show-and-tell and is increasingly nervous and embarrassed about it because he believes his grandfather isn't nearly as interesting as any other family member. When his grandfather saves the day for him, we all learn a little something about how amazing his grandpa is, and might just be inspired to learn a little more about our own grandparents! The illustrations are marvelously expressive and add a lot to the story too!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7
This hilarious, offbeat picture book from the creator of Marshall Armstrong Is New to Our School reveals that there is more to the older generation than meets the eye. Grandpa Frank doesn’t have any interesting hobbies, unless you count complaining about how everything was better in the old days. He doesn’t speak Italian like Paolo’s mom, or play the drums like Tom’s uncle. He’s just a grandpa. So when the young narrator of this story is forced to bring Frank to school for show-and-tell, he’s sure it’s going to be a disaster. But Frank has a trick—make that a tattoo—up his sleeve! And a story to go with it. After all, the longer you’ve been around, the more time you’ve had for wild adventures.
#2
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The Matchbox Diary
Written by Paul Fleischman & illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10
Follows a girl's perusal of her great-grandfather's collection of matchboxes and small curios that document his poignant immigration journey from Italy to a new country.
#3
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Half Upon a Time
Written by James Riley
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
I love that Half Upon a time is a more modern, beautiful tangle of all of the fairy tale stories we know--or thought we knew. With a few fun twists, you won't want to put the book down! Jack and May are on the run from the Hunstman and have so many adventures along the way. I didn't want to put this book down. :)
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
In the village of Giant's Hand Jack's grandfather has been pushing him to find a princess and get married, so when a young lady falls out of the sky wearing a shirt that says "Punk Princess," and she tells Jack that her grandmother, who looks suspiciously like the long-missing Snow White, has been kidnapped, Jack decides to help her.
#4
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Mama Seeton's Whistle
Written by Jerry Spinelli & illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This is the sweetest book about a mother's love for her children! I love the sweet text and that the tradition of whistling was passed down to her children. The illustrations are lovely, too!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Without even thinking about it,Mama Seeton puckered her lips and whistled.It was not a loud whistle.Or a fancy whistle. Just a simple two-note whistle. When Mama Seeton whistles, her children run home for chocolate cake, hugs, kisses, and shared memories. But as time passes, they travel farther and farther away from the familiar sound. Can mama's whistle be heard all over the world, and bring her children home one more time? Newbery Award-winning author Jerry Spinelli's sweet lyrical text and New York Times bestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham's charming illustrations show the timeless love between a mother and her children.
#5
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Auntie Claus (Deluxe Edition)
Written & illustrated by Elise Primavera
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
A deluxe gift edition of the modern Christmas classic, featuring an access code to a printable Christmas party kit, plus downloadable audio read by Academy Award-winning actress Ellen Burstyn! Auntie Claus is just another eccentric New Yorker—or is she? Young Sophie has often wondered about her unusual great-aunt, Auntie Claus. She lives in penthouse 25C at the Bing Cherry Hotel and is so curioso! After all, Auntie Claus serves Christmas cookies all year long and her tree is always the best-decorated in the city. And then there's her annual "business trip," right around the holidays. This year Sophie is determined to get to the bottom of Auntie Claus's mysterious ways. Put on your mittens and bundle up for an adventure beyond your wildest dreams. Ho, ho, ho!
#6
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Alma and How She Got Her Name
Written & illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato
What's in a name? This book is all about a girl who thinks her name is too long until she learns the special meaning behind each part. It's a cute story about family and the importance of a name.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
What's in a name? For one little girl, her very long name tells the vibrant story of where she came from -- and who she may one day be. If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; Jose, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all -- and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names.
#7
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Andi Unexpected
Written by Amanda Flower
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This story shows how grief is manifested in different ways, but how the two sisters and their guardian bonded together and strengthened one another in their difficult times. I also loved that the mystery was about Andi's family history and linked to the great depression, both of which are great topics for readers to learn about. I loved following along in their sleuthing and detective efforts to figure out the answer to their mystery. :)
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
The first in a new middle-grade mystery series, in Andi Unexpected, twelve-year-old Andi Boggs, discovers evidence of her forgotten namesake, a missing relative, which leads her into a family mystery rooted in the Great Depression.
#8
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Always Neverland
Written by Zoe Barton
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This modern-day take on the story of Peter Pan will have readers interested from the get-go, and I love the emphasis from the "new Wendy" that women can do hard things. This sequel to Peter Pan will tell you what's happened since the first "Wendy girl" went to Neverland. With a lot of pixie dust, adventure, and fun, you'll be sure to love the time you spend with Peter, Ashley, and all the lost boys while reading this book! I loved that Ashley surprised the lost boys by doing a lot more than just making food for the boys--she's a strong female character that uses her knowledge to problem solve and help Peter Pan and all his boys!
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Move over, Wendy Darling. There's a new girl in Neverland! Swimming with mermaids, fighting off pirates, and befriending Tiger Lily is all Ashley can think about when she finds Peter Pan in her room one night. With a pinch of fairy dust and a few happy thoughts, she follows him all the way to Neverland. But Ashley's plans for adventure are thwarted when Peter and the Lost Boys expect her to be the new "Wendy girl" and help with the spring cleaning. Spring cleaning? This is not what Ashley has in mind! Will Ashley win them over?
#9
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Día de los Muertos
Written by Hannah Eliot & illustrated by Jorge R. Gutierrez
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
At the end of October each year, it’s time to celebrate an ancient tradition: Dia de los Muertos! With vibrant illustrations by Golden Globe–winning Mexican illustrator Jorge Gutierrez, this festive board book teaches that Dia de los Muertos honors ancestors and loved ones who have passed. From sugar skulls to papel picado, this is a holiday that truly commemorates the cycle of life.
#10
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A Wolf's Tale
Written & illustrated by Eva Montanari
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This darling spin-off of the three little pigs story is so fun and has a wonderful ending. Grandpa wolf tells everyone about his story, and I love the theme that being good, not bad, let's you live happily every after with your family. :) The illustrations in this book are gorgeous--I love the unique style that fits so perfectly with the story!
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
We all know the story of the Big Bad Wolf and the three little pigs ... or do we? Meet the great-great-great-great-grandson of the original Big Bad Wolf, also hot on the trail of some little pigs. Is he also up to no goodor is he trying to make friends at last? A hilarious twist on the original Three Little Pigs story, with stunning illustrations from acclaimed artist Eva Montanari.
Table of Contents
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Books About Family History and Grandpa

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The Frank Show
Written & illustrated by David Mackintosh
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
This is one of my favorite grandparent books! It tells the story of a little boy who has to talk about his grandfather for one full minute during a show-and-tell and is increasingly nervous and embarrassed about it because he believes his grandfather isn't nearly as interesting as any other family member. When his grandfather saves the day for him, we all learn a little something about how amazing his grandpa is, and might just be inspired to learn a little more about our own grandparents! The illustrations are marvelously expressive and add a lot to the story too!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7
This hilarious, offbeat picture book from the creator of Marshall Armstrong Is New to Our School reveals that there is more to the older generation than meets the eye. Grandpa Frank doesn’t have any interesting hobbies, unless you count complaining about how everything was better in the old days. He doesn’t speak Italian like Paolo’s mom, or play the drums like Tom’s uncle. He’s just a grandpa. So when the young narrator of this story is forced to bring Frank to school for show-and-tell, he’s sure it’s going to be a disaster. But Frank has a trick—make that a tattoo—up his sleeve! And a story to go with it. After all, the longer you’ve been around, the more time you’ve had for wild adventures.
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The Matchbox Diary
Written by Paul Fleischman & illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10
Follows a girl's perusal of her great-grandfather's collection of matchboxes and small curios that document his poignant immigration journey from Italy to a new country.
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The Great Henry Hopendower
Written by Justin Roberts & illustrated by Deborah Hocking
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
For fans of Grandpa Green, a young boy remembers his much-loved grandpa in this touching story about family, memory and everyday magic. Henry wakes up one bright morning ready to take on the day and find magic! After all, he is the Great Henry Hopendower—an aspiring young magician who learned everything he knows from the very best, his grandpa. Henry has so many favorite memories of his grandfather, including his house with its wobbly cuckoo clock and his famous leaning tower of pancakes that tipped but never toppled. And then there was the day his grandpa gave him a red checkered suit and shared the secret to being a magician: magic is everywhere, you just have to see it. So with Grandpa’s words as his guide, Henry sets off to do the truly impossible. This heartwarming story is a celebration of the magic that surrounds us all and the people we love most.
Honorable Mentions
Looking for Yesterday book
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Fancy Nancy: My Family History book
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Big Papa and the Time Machine book
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When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox book
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  1. Looking for Yesterday - If yesterday was the best day ever, wouldn’t it be great to find a way to repeat it? A whimsical tale about happiness with sure appeal for science-minded kids — and wise grandparents — everywhere. What could beat yesterday’s perfect day at the fair? Maybe nothing, one boy thinks, and he wishes he could go back and do it again. So he puts all his scientific knowledge to work, from stars to time machines to wormholes (is it possible he could find one in his garden?). He thinks that maybe Grandad could help him. But Grandad, in sharing some memories from his own past, reminds him that every new day brings the chance of a new adventure. With quirky illustrations imparting a sense of wonder, Alison Jay takes a fanciful look at being content in the here and now.

  2. Fancy Nancy: My Family History - When Nancy has to write a report on her ancestors for school, she can’t help exaggerating a little—at first. After all, what’s wrong with making her family history sound fancier? But Nancy goes too far and has to deal with truth and consequences! Readers will sympathize with Nancy’s quandary in this engaging Fancy Nancy I Can Read story.

  3. Big Papa and the Time Machine - Discover the true meaning of being brave in this tender and whimsical picture book from Daniel Bernstrom (One Day in the Eucalytus, Eucalyptus Tree) and Shane Evans (Chocolate Me!) that follows a grandfather and grandson who travel through time in a beloved 1952 Ford. A little boy who lives with his grandpa isn’t reprimanded for being afraid to go to school one day. Instead, Big Papa takes him away in his time machine—a 1952 Ford—back to all of the times when he, himself, was scared of something life was handing him. Full of heartfelt moments and thrilling magical realism, Big Papa and the Time Machine speaks to the African American experience in a touching dialogue between two family members from different generations, and emerges as a voice that shares history and asks questions about one family’s experience in 20th-century black America. *“Wasn’t you scared?” “Oh, I was scared,” Big Papa said. “Sometimes you gotta walk with giants if you ever gonna know what you made of. That’s called being brave.”*

  4. When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox - In this delightful story, by the same author who wrote When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree, a boy is disappointed with his grandfather’s gift—until he learns he can use it to build exactly what he wanted with his own two hands, and a little help from grandpa, of course! You asked for a special house for your dolls; but instead Grandpa gives you a toolbox! What do you do? Launching it into outer space is a bad idea. So is feeding it to a T. rex! Instead, be patient, pay attention, and you might find that you’re pretty handy. And just maybe, with grandpa’s help, you’ll get that dollhouse after all. This clever story celebrates kindness, hard work, and community, as well as variety in gender expression: the male main character proudly engages in activities that might be considered typically girl (playing with dolls) and typically boy (building with tools).

Want to see books about grandpa?

Books About Family History and African Americans

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The Granddaughter Necklace
Written by Sharon Dennis Wyeth & illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
A mother shares with her daughter stories of the generations of women in their family as each individual has passed along the tales and a glittering necklace to her own daughter. Includes notes on the author's exploration of her ancestry.
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The Length of a String
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14
Imani is adopted, and she’s ready to search for her birth parents. But when she discovers the diary her Jewish great-grandmother wrote chronicling her escape from Holocaust-era Europe, Imani begins to see family in a new way. Imani knows exactly what she wants as her big bat mitzvah gift: to find her birth parents. She loves her family and her Jewish community in Baltimore, but she has always wondered where she came from, especially since she’s black and almost everyone she knows is white. Then her mom’s grandmother–Imani’s great-grandma Anna–passes away, and Imani discovers an old journal among her books. It’s Anna’s diary from 1941, the year she was twelve and fled Nazi-occupied Luxembourg alone, sent by her parents to seek refuge in Brooklyn, New York. Anna’s diary records her journey to America and her new life with an adoptive family of her own. And as Imani reads the diary, she begins to see her family, and her place in it, in a whole new way.
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This Is the Rope
Written by Jacqueline Woodson & illustrated by James Ransome
Thoughts from Lemony Snickers
This is a unique story about one woman's family. Author Jacqueline Woodson, a Newbery Honor-winning author uses a commonplace object--a rope--to tell symbolically of one family's migration from the South to New York City, where they built a successful life. The rope features in small, ordinary moments while the family's story moves quickly through the years. It's used to tie down objects when moving, hang clothes to dry, and skip rope with new friends, among other things. This book feels like reading a small biography of another person's family.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
A rope passed down through the generations frames an African-American family's story as they journey north to New York City from the rural south during the time of the Great Migration. Full color.
Honorable Mentions
Aunt Flossie's Hats (and Crab Cakes Later) book
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Grandad Mandela book
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Going Down Home with Daddy book
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Grandma's Purse book
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  1. Aunt Flossie's Hats (and Crab Cakes Later) - Sara and Susan share tea, cookies, crab cakes, and stories about hats when they visit their favorite relative, Aunt Flossie.

  2. Grandad Mandela - Two great-grandchildren ask their grandmother 15 questions about the man they remember as Grandad, and the world remembers as Nelson Mandela, the global icon of peace and forgiveness who spent 27 years in prison. They learn that he was a freedom fighter who put down his weapons for the sake of peace, and who then became the President of South Africa and a Nobel Peace Prize-winner, and realise that they can continue his legacy in the world today. Seen through a child’s perspective, and authored jointly by his great-grandchildren and daughter, this amazing story is told as never before to celebrate what would have been Nelson’s Mandela 100th birthday.

  3. Going Down Home with Daddy - “On reunion morning, we rise before the sun. Daddy hums as he packs our car with suitcases and a cooler full of snacks. He says there’s nothing like going down home.” Down home is Granny’s house. Down home is where Lil’ Alan and his parents and sister will join great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Down home is where Lil’ Alan will hear stories of the ancestors and visit the land that has meant so much to all of them. And down home is where all of the children will find their special way to pay tribute to family history. All the kids have to decide on what tribute to share, but what will Lil’ Alan do? In this rich and moving celebration of history, culture, and ritual, Kelly Starling Lyons’ eloquent text explores the power of family traditions. Stunning illustrations by Coretta Scott King Honor-winner Daniel Minter reveal the motion and connections in a large, multigenerational family.

  4. Grandma's Purse - Spend the day with a grandma and granddaughter in this charming picture book about the magic found in their favorite accessory, perfect for readers who love How to Babysit a Grandma! When Grandma Mimi comes to visit, she always brings warm hugs, sweet treats…and her purse. You never know what she’ll have in there—fancy jewelry, tokens from around the world, or something special just for her granddaughter. It might look like a normal bag from the outside, but Mimi and her granddaughter know that it’s pure magic! In this adorable, energetic ode to visits from grandma, beloved picture book creator Vanessa Brantley Newton shows how an ordinary day can become extraordinary.

Books About Family History and Social Themes

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Auntie Claus (Deluxe Edition)
Written & illustrated by Elise Primavera
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
A deluxe gift edition of the modern Christmas classic, featuring an access code to a printable Christmas party kit, plus downloadable audio read by Academy Award-winning actress Ellen Burstyn! Auntie Claus is just another eccentric New Yorker—or is she? Young Sophie has often wondered about her unusual great-aunt, Auntie Claus. She lives in penthouse 25C at the Bing Cherry Hotel and is so curioso! After all, Auntie Claus serves Christmas cookies all year long and her tree is always the best-decorated in the city. And then there's her annual "business trip," right around the holidays. This year Sophie is determined to get to the bottom of Auntie Claus's mysterious ways. Put on your mittens and bundle up for an adventure beyond your wildest dreams. Ho, ho, ho!
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Alma and How She Got Her Name
Written & illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato
What's in a name? This book is all about a girl who thinks her name is too long until she learns the special meaning behind each part. It's a cute story about family and the importance of a name.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
What's in a name? For one little girl, her very long name tells the vibrant story of where she came from -- and who she may one day be. If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; Jose, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all -- and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell. In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names.
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Freedom Soup
Written by Tami Charles & illustrated by Jacqueline Alcantara
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9
**Join the celebration in the kitchen as a family makes their traditional New Year’s soup — and shares the story of how Haitian independence came to be.** *The shake-shake of maracas vibrates down to my toes. Ti Gran’s feet tap-tap to the rhythm.* Every year, Haitians all over the world ring in the new year by eating a special soup, a tradition dating back to the Haitian Revolution. This year, Ti Gran is teaching Belle how to make the soup — Freedom Soup — just like she was taught when she was a little girl. Together, they dance and clap as they prepare the holiday feast, and Ti Gran tells Belle about the history of the soup, the history of Belle’s family, and the history of Haiti, where Belle’s family is from. In this celebration of cultural traditions passed from one generation to the next, Jacqueline Alcántara’s lush illustrations bring to life both Belle’s story and the story of the Haitian Revolution. Tami Charles’s lyrical text, as accessible as it is sensory, makes for a tale that readers will enjoy to the last drop.
Honorable Mentions
Some Places More Than Others book
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Nowhere Boy book
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Just Right Family book
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Grandpa's Stories book
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  1. Some Places More Than Others - All Amara wants for her birthday is to visit her father’s family in New York City—Harlem, to be exact. She can’t wait to finally meet her Grandpa Earl and cousins in person, and to stay in the brownstone where her father grew up. Maybe this will help her understand her family—and herself—in new way. But New York City is not exactly what Amara thought it would be. It’s crowded, with confusing subways, suffocating sidewalks, and her father is too busy with work to spend time with her and too angry to spend time with Grandpa Earl. As she explores, asks questions, and learns more and more about Harlem and about her father and his family history, she realizes how, in some ways more than others, she connects with him, her home, and her family.

  2. Nowhere Boy - A timely, poignant tale of family, sacrifice and the friendship between a young Syrian refugee and an American boy living in Brussels.

  3. Just Right Family - Meili, who is six years old and adopted from China, learns that her parents are going to adopt a baby from Haiti. She’s not happy. Why do they need a new baby? Their family is just right as it is. As Meili learns more about her new sibling and the importance of being a big sister, will she realize that a new addition can be just right for their family too?

  4. Grandpa's Stories - One young girl reflects on a year with her beloved grandpa. She remembers the fields and parks they explored in the springtime and the old toys they fixed up in the summer. She remembers the handmade gifts they exchanged in the fall and the stories Grandpa told by the fi re each winter. But this year, the girl must say good-bye to Grandpa. In the face of her grief, she is determined to find a way to honor him. She decides to record her Grandpa stories in the notebook he made for her and carry Grandpa with her as she grows. An honest and relatable depiction of loss, Grandpa’s Stories celebrates life and the ways in which love lives on.

Books About Family History and Family Life

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Mama Seeton's Whistle
Written by Jerry Spinelli & illustrated by LeUyen Pham
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This is the sweetest book about a mother's love for her children! I love the sweet text and that the tradition of whistling was passed down to her children. The illustrations are lovely, too!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Without even thinking about it,Mama Seeton puckered her lips and whistled.It was not a loud whistle.Or a fancy whistle. Just a simple two-note whistle. When Mama Seeton whistles, her children run home for chocolate cake, hugs, kisses, and shared memories. But as time passes, they travel farther and farther away from the familiar sound. Can mama's whistle be heard all over the world, and bring her children home one more time? Newbery Award-winning author Jerry Spinelli's sweet lyrical text and New York Times bestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham's charming illustrations show the timeless love between a mother and her children.
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Homeplace
Written by Anne Shelby & illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
A grandmother and grandchild trace their family history.
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The Broken Ornament
Written & illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
When a beloved ornament breaks, will it ruin the holidays or save them? New York Times bestselling author and Caldecott Honor–winning illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi offers a brand-new Christmas story that is sure to be a holiday classic. Jack wants this to be the best Christmas ever, and he knows just how to make it happen… More! More lights, more presents, more cookies, more treats. More. More. More! So, when Jack breaks a dusty old ornament, he’s not sure why his mom is so upset. They can always get more ornaments, so what’s the big deal? Turns out the ornament was an heirloom, precious for more reasons than one. And Jack has a lot to learn about the true meaning Christmas. A fairy emerges from the shattered ornament. She has the power to make the most magical Christmasy things happen. Suddenly trees are sprouting, reindeer are flying, and snowmen are snowball fighting. All of it is so perfect, or it would be if she could fix Mom’s ornament. But she can’t. So it’s up to Jack to make some Christmas magic of his own.
Honorable Mentions
Grandpa Cacao book
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Beyond the Green book
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  1. Grandpa Cacao - This beautifully illustrated story connects past and present as a girl bakes a chocolate cake with her father and learns about her grandfather harvesting cacao beans in West Africa. Chocolate is the perfect treat, everywhere! As a little girl and her father bake her birthday cake together, Daddy tells the story of her Grandpa Cacao, a farmer from the Ivory Coast in West Africa. In a land where elephants roam and the air is hot and damp, Grandpa Cacao worked in his village to harvest cacao, the most important ingredient in chocolate. “Chocolate is a gift to you from Grandpa Cacao,” Daddy says. “We can only enjoy chocolate treats thanks to farmers like him.” Once the cake is baked, it’s ready to eat, but this isn’t her only birthday present. There’s a special surprise waiting at the front door . . .

  2. Beyond the Green - “After twelve-year-old Britta’s family fostered Chipeta, a Native American baby, for four years, Chipeta’s birth mother has the right to take her back. In 1979 Utah, Britta can’t imagine life without her beloved little sister, and so she grows determined to do whatever she can to keep her sister and to eventually understand how complicated and important family is—in all its forms”—

Books About Family History and Names

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Andi Unexpected
Written by Amanda Flower
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This story shows how grief is manifested in different ways, but how the two sisters and their guardian bonded together and strengthened one another in their difficult times. I also loved that the mystery was about Andi's family history and linked to the great depression, both of which are great topics for readers to learn about. I loved following along in their sleuthing and detective efforts to figure out the answer to their mystery. :)
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
The first in a new middle-grade mystery series, in Andi Unexpected, twelve-year-old Andi Boggs, discovers evidence of her forgotten namesake, a missing relative, which leads her into a family mystery rooted in the Great Depression.
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Brian Wildsmith's Animal Gallery
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
<b>Discover a troop of kangaroos, an ambush of tigers, a rafter of turkeys, and a flotilla of swordfish in this glorious introduction to the animal kingdom from internationally acclaimed artist Brian Wildsmith. </b> <p/>A lion yawns lazily in the grass. Curious giraffes crane their long necks. Step into this rich world of animals from an extraordinary illustrator whose work influenced generations of younger artists. Each animal's essence is strikingly captured, from the playfulness of otters to a noisy gathering of parrots, while panoramic pictures give a real sense of the animals' habitats. Collective nouns -- some familiar, others wonderfully surprising -- are used to describe each group of animals. Brian Wildsmith's stunning illustrations will inspire a love of nature and a respect for animals from the earliest age.
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Larry Bendeco Johannes Von Sloop
Written by Larry V & illustrated by Mark K
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
It's all in a name-or so they say. Join cake-baking brothers Bob and Larry Bendeco Johannes Von Sloop as they learn whether fancy and formal, or simple and friendly, lead to a better and happier bakery. A fun update to the classic Chinese tale of Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo, this story will continue to entertain children for this and many generations to come.
Honorable Mentions
A Crash of Rhinos book
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There Is a Tribe of Kids book
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Chrysanthemum book
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Use Your Words, Sophie book
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  1. A Crash of Rhinos - Introduces in rhyming text the collective names used for various animal groups.

  2. There Is a Tribe of Kids - If Lane Smith’s Caldecott Honor Book Grandpa Green was an homage to aging and the end of life, There Is a Tribe of Kids is a meditation on childhood and life’s beginning. Smith’s vibrant sponge-paint illustrations and use of unusual collective nouns such as smack and unkindness bring the book to life. Whimsical, expressive, and perfectly paced, this story plays with language as much as it embodies imagination, and was awarded the 2017 Kate Greenaway Medal.

  3. Chrysanthemum - She was a perfect baby, and she had a perfect name. Chrysanthemum. When she was old enough to appreciate it, Chrysanthemum loved her name. And then she started school. “I’m named after my grandmother,” said Victoria. “You’re named after a flower.” Chrysanthemum wilted. Life at school didn’t improve. In fact, it got worse. Then the students were introduced to their music teacher, Mrs. Twinkle. Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle. And suddenly, Chrysanthemum blossomed….

  4. Use Your Words, Sophie - Preferring to speak in nonsense languages to tell her parents how she feels, little Sophie is challenged to use her words but prefers to communicate with a baby sister who understands her better. By the award-winning creator of the Max & Ruby series.

Books About Family History and Culture

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Día de los Muertos
Written by Hannah Eliot & illustrated by Jorge R. Gutierrez
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
At the end of October each year, it’s time to celebrate an ancient tradition: Dia de los Muertos! With vibrant illustrations by Golden Globe–winning Mexican illustrator Jorge Gutierrez, this festive board book teaches that Dia de los Muertos honors ancestors and loved ones who have passed. From sugar skulls to papel picado, this is a holiday that truly commemorates the cycle of life.
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A Bowl Full of Peace: A True Story
Written by Caren Stelson & illustrated by Akira Kusaka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-11
<p>In this deeply moving nonfiction picture book, award-winning author Caren Stelson brings Sachiko Yasui's story of surviving the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and her message of peace to a young audience.<br /> <br /> Sachiko's family home was about half a mile from where the atomic bomb fell on August 9, 1945. Her family experienced devastating loss. When they returned to the rubble where their home once stood, her father miraculously found their serving bowl fully intact. This delicate, green, leaf-shaped bowl--which once held their daily meals--now holds memories of the past and serves as a vessel of hope, peace, and new traditions for Sachiko and the surviving members of her family.</p>
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The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come
Written by Sue Macy & illustrated by Stacy Innerst
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
“Stunning.”​ —Kirkus Reviews (starred review) “Inspired...[a] journalistic, propulsive narrative.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) From New York Times Best Illustrated Book artist Stacy Innerst and author Sue Macy comes a story of one man’s heroic effort to save the world’s Yiddish books. Over the last forty years, Aaron Lansky has jumped into dumpsters, rummaged around musty basements, and crawled through cramped attics. He did all of this in pursuit of a particular kind of treasure, and he’s found plenty. Lansky’s treasure was any book written Yiddish, the language of generations of European Jews. When he started looking for Yiddish books, experts estimated there might be about 70,000 still in existence. Since then, the MacArthur Genius Grant recipient has collected close to 1.5 million books, and he’s finding more every day. Told in a folkloric voice reminiscent of Patricia Polacco, this story celebrates the power of an individual to preserve history and culture, while exploring timely themes of identity and immigration.
Honorable Mentions
The Train book
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The Vegetable Museum book
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The Thundermaker book
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The Great Big Book of Families book
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  1. The Train - Ashley meets her great-uncle by the old train tracks near their reserve in Nova Scotia. When she sees his sadness, he shares with her the history of those tracks. Uncle tells her that, during his childhood, the train would bring their community supplies, but there came a day when the train took away with it something much more important. One day he and the other children from the reserve were taken aboard and transported to a residential school, where their lives were changed forever. Ashley promises to wait with her uncle as he sits by the tracks, waiting for what was taken from their people to come back to them.

  2. The Vegetable Museum - Thirteen-year-old Chloë left her whole life back in Montreal, including her mom and her best friend. Now she’s stuck in Victoria with her dad and her estranged grandfather, Uli, who recently had a stroke. When Chloë agrees to help Uli look after his garden, she’s determined to find out why he and her dad didn’t speak to each other for years. For decades Uli has collected seeds from people in the community, distinct varieties that have been handed down through generations. The result is a garden full of unusual and endangered produce, from pink broccoli to blue kale to purple potatoes. But Chloë learns that the garden will soon be destroyed to make way for a new apartment complex. And the seed collection is missing! Chloë must somehow find a way to save her grandfather’s legacy

  3. The Thundermaker - The Thundermaker is based on Mi’kmaw artist Alan Syliboy’s spectacular mixed-media exhibit of the same name. In the book, Big Thunder teaches his son, Little Thunder, about the important responsibility he has in making thunder for his people. Little Thunder learns about his Mi’kmaw identity through his father’s teachings and his mother’s traditional stories. Syliboy’s spectacular, vibrant artwork brings the story of Little Thunder to vivid life.

  4. The Great Big Book of Families - This fun and fascinating treasury features all kinds of families and their lives together. Each spread showcases one aspect of home life-from houses and holidays, to schools and pets, to feelings and family trees. Ros Asquith’s humorous illustrations perfectly complement a charming text from the acclaimed Mary Hoffman; kids will love poring over these pages again and again. A celebration of the diverse fabric of kith and kin the world over, The Great Big Book of Families is a great big treat for every family to share.

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