Best Children's Books About Grandparents

Books to get them excited for grandpa and grandma's house

Updated Jan. 22, 2019

For the families that live close or far from grandma or grandpa's house, we all want our kids to know who they are. Some of us have children who will never meet their grandparents. These books help spark curiosity and interest in the lives of those we love. Grandparents can share some of our fondest memories, and these books help to supplement or set in motion these memories for our little ones.

Grandma book
#1
Grandma
Written and illustrated by Jessica Shepherd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This is a fabulous book to read with little ones and help them understand aging and dementia. I love that the story shows ways we can help those relatives while explaining what's happening, and there's even a lot of helpful information in the back of the book so that you can learn more about dementia. Great book to help children with relatives going through this!

Told in diary form, Oscar relates how his grandmother becomes less able to look after herself and enters a nursing home, with information about dementia to help children discuss their feelings and adjust to the changing relationship.

Thunder Cake book
#2
Thunder Cake
Written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from Grammy

I love the unflappable Babushka in this story. She keeps the terrified child narrator busy, moving from one task to the next acquiring ingredients for the cake they are hurrying to make and gives her a reason to pay attention to the coming storm, counting between the thunder and lightning to gauge the distance of the storm. The slightly out-of-scale farm animals serve as a visual reminder that a child's perception is different than an adult's. I remember reading this to my children and enjoyed re-reading it for this review. There is something calming about Patricia Polacco's world, even though her characters have troubles, things work out for them in the end. It is all part of life.

Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

A delightful true story with Patricia Polacco's signature illustrations about a grandmother helping her granddaughter overcome her fear of thunder with a combination of distraction and real accomplishments by conquering other fears.

A loud clap of thunder booms, and rattles the windows of Grandma’s old farmhouse. “This is Thunder Cake baking weather,” calls Grandma, as she and her granddaughter hurry to gather the ingredients around the farm. A real Thunder Cake must reach the oven before the storm arrives. But the list of ingredients is long and not easy to find . . . and the storm is coming closer all the time! Reaching once again into her rich childhood experience, Patricia Polacco tells the memorable story of how her grandma–her Babushka–helped her overcome her fear of thunder when she was a little girl. Ms. Polacco’s vivid memories of her grandmother’s endearing answer to a child’s fear, accompanied by her bright folk-art illustrations, turn a frightening thunderstorm into an adventure and ultimately . . . a celebration! Whether the first clap of thunder finds you buried under the bedcovers or happily anticipating the coming storm, Thunder Cake is a story that will bring new meaning and possibility to the excitement of a thunderstorm.

Llama Llama Gram and Grandpa book
#3
Llama Llama Gram and Grandpa
Written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

This is such a fun story to get the kids excited for grandma and grandpa through a fun llama spin!

It's an exciting day for Llama Llama; he's going to visit Gram and Grandpa Llama and spend the night! His first night away from homea.and from Mama. But he makes sure to pack everything he needs. And there are so many fun things to do with Gram and Grandpa. It's not until he gets ready for bed that he realizes that he's forgotten something important. Fuzzy Llama! Fortunately, Grandpa Llama has a wonderful solution and soon Llama Llama is having sweet dreams.

How to Babysit a Grandpa book
#4
How to Babysit a Grandpa
Written by Jean Reagan and illustrated by Lee Wildish
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

When your grandad rings the doorbell, it's babysitting time! This is a hilarious and accessible picture book about a child spending time with his grandad.

A New York Times bestselling picture book—from the creators of the hilarious HOW TO… series—about a child spending time with his grandpa. Written in a how-to style, the narrator gives important tips for “babysitting” a grandpa, including what to eat for snack (anything dipped in ketchup, ice cream topped with cookies, cookies topped with ice cream) what to do on a walk (find lizards and dandelion puffs, be on the lookout for puddles and sprinklers), and how to play with a grandpa (build a pirate cave, put on a scary play). Filled with humor, energy, and warmth, this is a great gift for or from a grandparent, and perfect for lap reading when Grandpa comes to visit!

The Frank Show book
#5
The Frank Show
Written and illustrated by David Mackintosh
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.

Alma and How She Got Her Name book
#6
Alma and How She Got Her Name
Written and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
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.

Newspaper Hats book
#7
Newspaper Hats
Written by Phil Cummings and illustrated by Owen Swan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Georgie visits her Grandpa at the home where he lives, but he doesn’t always remember who she is. He does, however, remember how to make newspaper hats, and together they fold enough for all his friends. Touching moments portray the difficulties and nuances of memory loss from a child’s perspective, and an uplifting ending leaves readers with hope. A poignant and age-appropriate story about a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

A Day's Work book
#8
A Day's Work
Written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Ronald Himler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Francisco, a young Mexican American boy, tries to help his grandfather find work, he discovers that even though the old man cannot speak English, he has something even more valuable to teach Francisco.

The Little Kid's Table book
#9
The Little Kid's Table
Written by Mary Ann Riehle and illustrated by Mary Uhles
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Everyone knows that the little kids table is the place to be for any holiday or family gathering. They just know how to have fun! This silly, rhyming story follows a group of rambunctious cousins from table setting to dessert. A universal theme, The Little Kids Table will have kids--and parents!--howling with laughter.

Looking for Yesterday book
#10
Looking for Yesterday
Written and illustrated by Alison Jay
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

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.

Spot's Easter Surprise book
#11
Spot's Easter Surprise
Written and illustrated by Eric Hill
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Excited about the big Easter egg hunt at his grandparent's house, Spot and his friends search for the hidden treats, but when he sees something special in the bushes, Spot knows that it is the perfect gift for his grandparents. On board pages.

A Nervous Night book
#12
A Nervous Night
Written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

I love that Katie is going through something most of us face! It can be hard for our little ones to be away from us, but this story helps everyone see that it's not anything that can't be overcome.

Katie is nervous about a sleepover at her grandparents' house.

I Really Want to See You, Grandma book
#13
I Really Want to See You, Grandma
Written and illustrated by Taro Gomi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Yumi and her grandmother have the same great idea: They want to see each other. So they each head out to do just that, only to completely miss each other along the way! No problem—they'll just head back home and wait for the other to return. The trouble is that they have the same great idea—again—resulting in the ultimate missed connection! Will this duo ever find each other? Leave it to bestselling author-illustrator Taro Gomi to spin an action-packed story that sweetly, and humorously, celebrates the powerful grandparent-child bond.

The Lost House book
#14
The Lost House
Written and illustrated by B. B. Cronin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Fall into this award-winning seek-and-find book with its richly timeless style and get swept up in a treasure hunt through Grandad’s wild house! The children want to go to the park with Grandad, but they can’t leave until they find his lost socks…and his shoes…and even his teeth! Will they ever get out of Grandad’s busy house? With a trove of wonders to discover on every page, this seek and find book will enchant young and old alike as they search for Grandad’s lost objects. Oversized dimensions, a textured paper-over-board die-cut cover, eye-popping color, and elaborately complex spreads on every page make this book a collector’s item and a must-have.

Grandma Wishes book
#15
Grandma Wishes
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

Encourages together-time Reinforces the concept of unconditional love Introduces language patterns & rhyming Do you know there is a special star on which new grandmothers wish? This story lets grandchildren know how special they are to their grandparents. This beautiful keepsake board book makes a lovely gift for new grandmothers and grandchildren.

Grandpa's Wish List book
#16
Grandpa's Wish List
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

Strengthens bonds & emotional security Reinforces use of language patterns Encourages understanding of unconditional love Grandpa Badger has so many wishes for his new grandbaby! With gorgeous artwork and a loving message, this keepsake board book makes the perfect gift for new grandfathers and their grandchildren.

Anna, Grandpa, and the Big Storm book
#17
Anna, Grandpa, and the Big Storm
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Anna's grandfather is bored with city life until he and Anna are stranded on the Third Avenue elevated subway train during the blizzard of 1888.

Indian Shoes book
#18
Indian Shoes
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

This is a fun story for our little ones that are growing up too fast. A grandfather tells his grandson stories of his culture and upbringing, bonding the two and helping our protagonist find out who he is. Smith has given us a very real book with applicable themes and sentiments.

What do Indian shoes look like, anyway? Like beautiful beaded moccasins...or hightops with bright orange shoelaces? Ray Halfmoon prefers hightops, but he gladly trades them for a nice pair of moccasins for his Grampa. After all, it's Grampa Halfmoon who's always there to help Ray get in and out of scrapes -- like the time they are forced to get creative after a homemade haircut makes Ray's head look like a lawn-mowing accident. This collection of interrelated stories is heartwarming and laugh-out-loud funny.

Time for a Trip book
#19
Time for a Trip
Written by Phillis Gershator and illustrated by David Walker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

What time is it? It's TIME FOR A TRIP! Little Bunny's all packed and ready to go--and imagining the many ways his family might travel. Will they board a bus or a choo-choo train? Sail on a ferry or blast off on a plane? In the end, everyone piles in the car and they visit the best place of all: Gramps and Granny's house! What fun.

Sleepy Time Olie book
#20
Sleepy Time Olie
Written and illustrated by William Joyce
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Olie must find a way to turn Pappy’s frown upside down—all before bedtime—in this classic picture book-turned-beloved-TV-show from the brilliant mind that brought you The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. It’s bedtime in the Rolie Polie world, but where oh where is Pappy? He’s fallen down and bonked his head and can’t unfrown! Olie can’t go to sleep without a bedtime story from Pappy, but can Olie cheer him up in time? Olie’s super silly ray should do the trick! A most unusual bedtime book and a lovely ode to the importance of grandparents.

Grandad Mandela book
#21
Grandad Mandela
Written and illustrated by Zazi Mandela, Ziwelene Mandela, Zindzi Mandela
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

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.

Oscar the Guardian Cat book
#22
Oscar the Guardian Cat
Written by Chiara Valentina Segré and illustrated by Paolo Domeniconi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Inspired by the true story of Oscar, a special cat who watches over the residents of Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island. Oscar the Guardian Cat lives at Hope House along with Nurse Dolores, Dr. Goodhelp, and the grandparents of many children who come to visit. The story is told from Oscar's perspective as he watches over his friends during their most important journey. This is a unique and touching picture book that can be used to help talk to children about their grandparents' final journey, not as something tragic, but as a moment of reconciliation and understanding. Chiara Valentina Segré has a PhD in molecular oncology and works in science communications. She has published several picture books and novels for children. She lives in Milan, Italy. Paolo Domeniconi studied art and worked for several years in advertising before focusing on children's book illustration. He lives in Spilamberto, Italy.

It's Good to Have a Grandpa book
#23
It's Good to Have a Grandpa
Written by Maryann Macdonald and illustrated by Priscilla Burris
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Children and grandfathers love playing together, eating together--just being together. Every time is a special time, for both. This book captures the special moments without sentimentality, but with warmth and love.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.