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Relatives: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about relatives?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to relatives. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about relatives.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about relatives, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Spirit of Tio Fernando: A Day of the Dead Story to popular sellers like The Secret Garden to some of our favorite hidden gems like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

We hope this list of kids books about relatives can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Top 10 Books About Relatives

#1
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The Secret Garden
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.
#2
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Grandpa's Top Threes
Written by Wendy Meddour & illustrated by Daniel Egneus
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
A young boy's original game coaxes a grieving grandpa to reconnect with the world in a touching intergenerational story of love and resilience. Henry loves talking with Grandpa, but Grandpa has stopped listening. Mom says to just give him time. But Henry wants to talk to Grandpa now. So Henry tries his favorite game: Top Threes. And something amazing happens: Grandpa starts talking again. Out of a tale of favorite sandwiches and zoo animals, outings and trains, emerges a moving story about love, loss, and the wonder of grannies and grandpas.
#3
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The Frank Show
Written & 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.
#4
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The Tide
Written by Clare Helen Walsh & illustrated by Ashling Lindsay
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
A young girl loves her grandpa so much! When they spend the day at the beach, she holds his hand as they go for a walk, and they build sand castles together. But sometimes, it is difficult, because Grandpa has become forgetful. Grandpa's memories are like the tide, Mommy explains. Sometimes, they are near and full of life. Other times, they are distant and quiet. A story about families, laughter, and how we can help a loved one with dementia live well.
#5
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The Remember Balloons
Written by Jessie Oliveros & illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9
A 2019 Schneider Family Award Honor Book! What’s Happening to Grandpa meets Up in this tender, sensitive picture book that gently explains the memory loss associated with aging and diseases such as Alzheimer’s. James’s Grandpa has the best balloons because he has the best memories. He has balloons showing Dad when he was young and Grandma when they were married. Grandpa has balloons about camping and Aunt Nelle’s poor cow. Grandpa also has a silver balloon filled with the memory of a fishing trip he and James took together. But when Grandpa’s balloons begin to float away, James is heartbroken. No matter how hard he runs, James can’t catch them. One day, Grandpa lets go of the silver balloon—and he doesn’t even notice! Grandpa no longer has balloons of his own. But James has many more than before. It’s up to him to share those balloons, one by one.
#6
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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.
#7
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Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
Written by Patty Lovell & illustrated by David Catrow
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
I love Molly Lou Melon! She is a fantastic girl who, despite some differences, listens to the advice her grandmother gives her to believe in herself, be proud of herself, and just be her great self. :) Even when a boy at school bullies her multiple times, she follows her grandmother's advice and shows the bully how remarkable she is, and they turn out to be friends.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Be yourself like Molly Lou Melon no matter what a bully may do. Molly Lou Melon is short and clumsy, has buck teeth, and has a voice that sounds like a bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor. She doesn't mind. Her grandmother has always told her to walk proud, smile big, and sing loud, and she takes that advice to heart. But then Molly Lou has to start in a new school. A horrible bully picks on her on the very first day, but Molly Lou Melon knows just what to do about that.
#8
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Grandpa Green
Written & illustrated by Lane Smith
Thoughts from The Goodfather
This is such a meaningful and unique tale of family connections and family history. I love the idea of this young boy learning about his Great Grandpa Green's life: military service, meeting Grandma Green, hobbies and interests. What Grandpa Green has done to make it easier to learn about his life is also very neat. The interplay of the story and illustrations develops subtly until becoming clear in a moment of gorgeous illustration.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
A child explores the ordinary life of his extraordinary great-grandfather, as expressed in his topiary garden.
#9
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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Written by Roald Dahl & illustrated by Quentin Blake
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
From the author of The BFG and Matilda! Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!
#10
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The Big Ideas of Buster Bickles
Written & illustrated by Dave Wasson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Buster Bickles's big ideas are always getting him into trouble. But when Buster gets to test the newly invented What-if Machine, anything Buster imagines becomes reality. Packed with rivers of chocolate, robot dinosaurs, and eggs-ray vision, the world becomes Buster's creation in this fantastically creative picture book by debut author-illustrator Dave Wasson.
Table of Contents
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Books About Relatives and Grandma

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Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
Written by Patty Lovell & illustrated by David Catrow
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
I love Molly Lou Melon! She is a fantastic girl who, despite some differences, listens to the advice her grandmother gives her to believe in herself, be proud of herself, and just be her great self. :) Even when a boy at school bullies her multiple times, she follows her grandmother's advice and shows the bully how remarkable she is, and they turn out to be friends.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Be yourself like Molly Lou Melon no matter what a bully may do. Molly Lou Melon is short and clumsy, has buck teeth, and has a voice that sounds like a bullfrog being squeezed by a boa constrictor. She doesn't mind. Her grandmother has always told her to walk proud, smile big, and sing loud, and she takes that advice to heart. But then Molly Lou has to start in a new school. A horrible bully picks on her on the very first day, but Molly Lou Melon knows just what to do about that.
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Grandmama's Pride
Written by Becky Birtha & illustrated by Colin Bootman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
While on a trip in 1956 to visit her grandmother in the South, six-year-old Sarah Marie experiences segregation for the first time, but discovers that things have changed by the time she returns the following year.
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Ivy
Written & illustrated by Katherine Coville
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
Ivy’s grandmother is a healer—to mostly four-legged patients of the forest. Although the woodland creatures love her, the residents of Broomsweep grumble about Grandmother’s unkempt garden. When a kingdom-wide contest is announced to proclaim the tidiest town in the land, the people of Broomsweep are determined to win. That is, if they can get Ivy’s grandmother to clean up her ways. Ivy is determined to lend a hand, but the task proves more challenging when a series of unexpected refugees descends on Grandmother’s cottage. Before the week is over, an injured griffin, a dragon with a cold, and a tiny flock of temperamental pixies will cause a most untidy uproar in Broomsweep . . . and brighten Ivy’s days in ways she never could have dreamed.
Honorable Mentions
The Best Sweater book
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Baking Day at Grandma's book
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Nana in the City book
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The Giant Hug book
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  1. The Best Sweater - The Book Snob Mom -

    This story is delightfully sweet, and far better than it looks based on the cover, which is decidedly "meh". The preciousness and safety of a comfort object, be that sweater or stuffed animal, is relatable on many levels and the positive involvement of his family (particularly his mother and grandmother) as they seek to help him adapt his sweater as he grows up is wonderful.

  2. Baking Day at Grandma's - “Three bouncing little bear siblings, wrapped tight in their winter clothes, can’t wait to tromp through the snow for Baking Day at Grandma’s! In a rhyming text that begs to be sung, the bears and their grandma pour and mix and stir-with breaks for hot cocoa and dancing-to create the perfect wintry treat. Then they wrap it up in ribbons to show that sweets are even better when they’re shared. With a recipe in the back, this is a perfect family feel-good story for the fall, winter, and any holiday spent with grandparents.”

  3. Nana in the City - A young boy is frightened by how busy and noisy the city is when he goes there to visit his Nana, but she makes him a fancy red cape that keeps him from being scared as she shows him how wonderful a place it is.

  4. The Giant Hug - How do you give your granny a hug when she lives far away? Send it through the mail, of course! Owen’s hug travels across the country in a series of hilarious, sometimes awkward, always heartfelt embraces between animals of different shapes and sizes. Valeri Gorbachev’s adorable artwork pairs beautifully with Sandra Horning’s charming text, and makes for a fun, funny, and educational read-aloud. An unexpected twist at the end will delight readers and have kids asking for this book again and again.

Books About Relatives and Grandpa

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The Remember Balloons
Written by Jessie Oliveros & illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9
A 2019 Schneider Family Award Honor Book! What’s Happening to Grandpa meets Up in this tender, sensitive picture book that gently explains the memory loss associated with aging and diseases such as Alzheimer’s. James’s Grandpa has the best balloons because he has the best memories. He has balloons showing Dad when he was young and Grandma when they were married. Grandpa has balloons about camping and Aunt Nelle’s poor cow. Grandpa also has a silver balloon filled with the memory of a fishing trip he and James took together. But when Grandpa’s balloons begin to float away, James is heartbroken. No matter how hard he runs, James can’t catch them. One day, Grandpa lets go of the silver balloon—and he doesn’t even notice! Grandpa no longer has balloons of his own. But James has many more than before. It’s up to him to share those balloons, one by one.
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Grandpa Green
Written & illustrated by Lane Smith
Thoughts from The Goodfather
This is such a meaningful and unique tale of family connections and family history. I love the idea of this young boy learning about his Great Grandpa Green's life: military service, meeting Grandma Green, hobbies and interests. What Grandpa Green has done to make it easier to learn about his life is also very neat. The interplay of the story and illustrations develops subtly until becoming clear in a moment of gorgeous illustration.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
A child explores the ordinary life of his extraordinary great-grandfather, as expressed in his topiary garden.
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A Day's Work
Written by Eve Bunting & 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.
Honorable Mentions
The Matchbox Diary book
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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book
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The Stars Just Up the Street book
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Big Papa and the Time Machine book
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  1. The Matchbox Diary - 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.

  2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - From the author of The BFG and Matilda! Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!

  3. The Stars Just Up the Street - A grandpa’s memories of brilliant night skies inspire a little girl to take action in a tale for budding community organizers and star lovers alike. Mabel loves stars. She counts five from her window and thirty-seven from her backyard. But her grandfather tells her that, as a child, he could see thousands. Could it be true? Mabel climbs a hill looking for more stars — only to discover that the glow from the nearby town makes them hard to see. What would it take for her neighbors to turn off their lights, just for one night, so that everyone could see the starlit sky? Sue Soltis’s tale of a young activist and Christine Davenier’s luminous illustrations will leave readers curious about the dark-sky movement — and the wonder that is waiting for them just up the street.

  4. 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.”*

Books About Relatives and Uncles

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The Big Ideas of Buster Bickles
Written & illustrated by Dave Wasson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Buster Bickles's big ideas are always getting him into trouble. But when Buster gets to test the newly invented What-if Machine, anything Buster imagines becomes reality. Packed with rivers of chocolate, robot dinosaurs, and eggs-ray vision, the world becomes Buster's creation in this fantastically creative picture book by debut author-illustrator Dave Wasson.
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Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead
Written by Judy Goldman & illustrated by Rene King Moreno and Judy Goldman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
A family celebrates Día de Muertos, a holiday for remembering those who have passed. When the monarch butterflies return to her Mexican countryside, Lupita knows that Día de Muertos, "the Day of the Dead," is near. She and her favorite uncle watch the butterflies flutter in the trees. When a butterfly lands on Lupita's hand, her uncle reminds her that she should never hurt a monarch because they are believed to be the souls of the departed. Lupita and her family get ready for the holiday. When the first of November arrives, the family will go to the cemetery to honor the memories of their loved ones. But this year is different—Lupita's uncle cannot join them. Now, Lupita learns the true meaning of the celebration.
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They Don't Make Books About Uncles
Written by Joe Jurek
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
They Don't Make Books About Uncles is an adorable story for nieces and nephews written by a real life Uncle. "They don't make books about Uncles. It's not very clear why. And that's weird, because Uncles are interesting guys. They're awesome and handsome and funny, it's true. Anything you can imagine, Uncles can do . . . " This is the story of an Uncle who takes his niece and nephew on a journey inside their favorite storybooks. They soon learn that anything they can imagine, their Uncle will do for them. And still . . . "They Don't Make Books About Uncles"
Honorable Mentions
Marc's Mission book
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Bread Pet: A Sourdough Story book
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The Train book
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Magnolia Mudd and the Super Jumptastic Launcher Deluxe book
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  1. Marc's Mission - New York Times-bestselling author Jocko Willink delivers a second powerful and empowering Way of the Warrior Kid book about finding your inner strength and being the best you can be, even in the face of adversity in Marc’s Mission.

  2. Bread Pet: A Sourdough Story - Cora promises to keep Uncle JB’s Bread Pet alive but didn’t anticipate its exponential growth! She needs to come up with a solution — and fast! This whimsical STEM story of family, creativity and community will inspire young makers to experiment and share their gifts with others. Includes sourdough starter and sourdough bread recipes.

  3. 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.

  4. Magnolia Mudd and the Super Jumptastic Launcher Deluxe - Magnolia Mudd’s Uncle Jamie is the very BEST grown-up. He always invents cool things with her . . . until the day he and Miss Emily announce their engagement. That’s bad enough—but even worse, Miss Emily wants Magnolia to be a FLOWER GIRL! No way is Magnolia tossing petals. But maybe Uncle Jamie’s new bride-to-be is more fun that Magnolia imagined . . .

Books About Relatives and Grandparents

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Grandma
Written & illustrated by Jessica Shepherd
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!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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.
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Thunder Cake
Written & illustrated by Patricia Polacco
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.
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.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
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.
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Llama Llama Gram and Grandpa
Written & illustrated by Anna Dewdney
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!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
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.
Honorable Mentions
The Lost House book
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Looking for Yesterday book
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How to Babysit a Grandpa book
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Grandpa's Wish List book
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  1. The Lost House - 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.

  2. 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.

  3. How to Babysit a Grandpa - 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.

  4. Grandpa's Wish List - 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.

Books About Relatives and Cousins

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The Secret Garden
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.
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My Cousin Momo
Written & illustrated by Zachariah OHora
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Momo is coming to visit, and his cousins are SO excited! But even though Momo is a flying squirrel, he won’t fly for his cousin’s friends. Plus, his games are weird. He can’t even play hide and seek right! But when Momo’s cousins give his strange ways a chance, they realize that doing things differently can be fun…almost as much fun as making a new friend.
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The Twelve Days of Christmas in Tennessee
Written by Alice Faye Duncan & illustrated by Mary Uhles
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
The Volunteer state is GREAT! When Carly visits her cousin Teddy in Tennessee for Christmas, she discovers how amazing it is. She hikes the Great Smoky Mountains, dances to bluegrass music, tastes Nashville’s famous hot chicken, and meets more than one Elvis Presley. Every day, Teddy gives her a special Tennessee gift, from 12 rockers rocking and 11 eagles nesting to a mockingbird in a tulip poplar tree.
Honorable Mentions
The Final Battle... for Now book
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The Crossroads book
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Loretta's Gift book
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Rules of the Ruff book
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  1. The Final Battle... for Now - The Huit octuplets, each of whom has now discovered her power and received her gift, finally learn where their parents are, but before they can attempt a rescue they must face the Other Eights and a very scary aunt.

  2. The Crossroads - Jaime and Ángela discover what it means to be living as undocumented immigrants in the United States in this timely sequel to the Pura Belpré Honor Book The Only Road. After crossing Mexico into the United States, Jaime Rivera thinks the worst is over. Starting a new school can’t be that bad. Except it is, and not just because he can barely speak English. While his cousin Ángela fits in quickly, with new friends and after-school activities, Jaime struggles with even the idea of calling this strange place “home.” His real home is with his parents, abuela, and the rest of the family; not here where cacti and cattle outnumber people, where he can no longer be himself—a boy from Guatemala. When bad news arrives from his parents back home, feelings of helplessness and guilt gnaw at Jaime. Gang violence in Guatemala means he can’t return home, but he’s not sure if he wants to stay either. The US is not the great place everyone said it would be, especially if you’re sin papeles—undocumented—like Jaime. When things look bleak, hope arrives from unexpected places: a quiet boy on the bus, a music teacher, an old ranch hand. With his sketchbook always close by, Jaime uses his drawings to show what it means to be a true citizen. Powerful and moving, this touching sequel to The Only Road explores overcoming homesickness, finding ways to connect despite a language barrier, and discovering what it means to start over in a new place that alternates between being wonderful and completely unwelcoming.

  3. Loretta's Gift - Meet a little girl named Loretta who tries to find the perfect gift for her new baby cousin in this sweet picture book by bestselling author Pat Zietlow Miller! Loretta and her parents are so excited that Aunt Esme and Uncle Jax are having a baby! When Gabe arrives, Loretta thinks he is the best baby on the block! Everyone showers him with gifts, but Loretta doesn’t know what to give. Can she think of the perfect gift for her baby cousin?

  4. Rules of the Ruff - Jessie, twelve, copes with what promised to be a long, boring summer with relatives by becoming apprentice to Wes, a grouchy neighborhood dog walker, who is facing new competition.

Books About Relatives and Aunts

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Miss Rumphius
Written & illustrated by Barbara Cooney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
A beloved classic is lovelier than ever! Barbara Cooney’s story of Alice Rumphius, who longed to travel the world, live in a house by the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful, has a timeless quality that resonates with each new generation. The countless lupines that bloom along the coast of Maine are the legacy of the real Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady, who scattered lupine seeds everywhere she went. Miss Rumphius received the American Book Award in the year of publication. To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of two-time Caldecott winner Barbara Cooney’s best-loved book, Viking has reoriginated the illustrations, going back to the original art to ensure state-of-the-art reproduction of Cooney’s exquisite artwork. The art for Miss Rumphius has a permanent home in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.
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Circus Mirandus
Written by Cassie Beasley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Even though his awful Great-Aunt Gertrudis doesn’t approve, Micah believes in the stories his dying Grandpa Ephraim tells him of the magical Circus Mirandus: the invisible tiger guarding the gates, the beautiful flying birdwoman, and the magician more powerful than any other—the Man Who Bends Light. Finally, Grandpa Ephraim offers proof. The Circus is real. And the Lightbender owes Ephraim a miracle. With his friend Jenny Mendoza in tow, Micah sets out to find the Circus and the man he believes will save his grandfather. The only problem is, the Lightbender doesn’t want to keep his promise. And now it’s up to Micah to get the miracle he came for.
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Smelly Bill
Written & illustrated by Daniel Postgate
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Bill the dog loves smelly things, like muddy ponds and rubbish bins. Will the arrival of Great Aunt Bleach put an end to his smelly ways, or will Bill live to stink another day?
Honorable Mentions
A Home for Goddesses and Dogs book
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Hope (Picture Books) book
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Our Gracie Aunt book
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Lost in Hollywood book
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  1. A Home for Goddesses and Dogs - A unique masterpiece about loss, love, and the world’s best bad dog, from award-winning author Leslie Connor, author of the National Book Award finalist The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle. It’s a life-altering New Year for thirteen-year-old Lydia when she uproots to a Connecticut farm to live with her aunt following her mother’s death. Aunt Brat and her jovial wife, Eileen, and their ancient live-in landlord, Elloroy, are welcoming―and a little quirky. Lydia’s struggle for a sense of belonging in her new family is highlighted when the women adopt a big yellow dog just days after the girl’s arrival. Wasn’t one rescue enough? Lydia is not a dog person―and this one is trouble! He is mistrustful and slinky. He pees in the house, escapes into the woods, and barks at things unseen. His new owners begin to guess about his unknown past. Meanwhile, Lydia doesn’t want to be difficult―and she does not mean to keep secrets―but there are things she’s not telling… Like why the box of “paper stuff” she keeps under her bed is so important… And why that hole in the wall behind a poster in her room is getting bigger… And why something she took from the big yellow dog just might be the key to unraveling his mysterious past―but at what cost? Award-winning author Leslie Connor crafts a story that sings about loss and love and finding joy in new friendships and a loving family, along with the world’s best bad dog. This uplifting story about recovery features strong female characters, an adorable dog, and the girl who comes to love him.

  2. Hope (Picture Books) - During a visit with her great-aunt, a young girl learns the story behind her name and learns to feel proud of her biracial heritage

  3. Our Gracie Aunt - Johsnon and his sister, Beebee, seem to be all alone in the world. Their mama has gone away many times before, but something tells them that this time she won’t be coming back. Then a social worker comes and takes them to meet their Aunt Gracie. Beebee barely remembers her, and Mama never even told Johnson about her. They wonder where she’s been all this time—and why she would want to take care of them. Warily, though, the children begin to trust Aunt Gracie. And in the process, they come to a better understanding of what it means to be a family.

  4. Lost in Hollywood - When Ginger Carlson’s aunt finds herself in financial trouble, Ginger’s entire family and her best friend head to Hollywood to help find the missing money.

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Epilogue

9 books that are just too good to leave off of our relatives list.
Ocean Meets Sky book
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Arctic White book
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Newspaper Hats book
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Mayday book
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  1. Ocean Meets Sky - It’s a good day for sailing. Finn lives by the sea and the sea lives by him. Every time he looks out his window it’s a constant reminder of the stories his grandfather told him about the place where the ocean meets the sky. Where whales and jellyfish soar and birds and castles float. Finn’s grandfather is gone now but Finn knows the perfect way to honor him. He’ll build his own ship and sail out to find this magical place himself! And when he arrives, maybe, just maybe, he’ll find something he didn’t know he was looking for.

  2. Arctic White - When you live in the arctic in winter, everything is a shade of white. A young girl looks around her home in the arctic and sees only white, white, white . . . but one day her grandfather takes her out on a journey across the tundra. And at the end of their cold walk, the dark opens up to show the Northern Lights dancing across the sky—blue, green, and purple.

  3. Newspaper Hats - 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.

  4. Mayday - In the tradition of Counting By 7s and The Thing About Jellyfish, a heartwarming coming-of-age story about grief, family, friendship, and the importance of finding your voice Wayne Kovok lives in a world of After. After his uncle in the army was killed overseas. After Wayne and his mother survived a plane crash while coming back from the funeral. After he lost his voice. Wayne has always used his love of facts to communicate (“Did you know more people die each year from shaking a vending machine than from shark attacks?”). Without his voice, how will he wow the prettiest girl in school? How will he stand up to his drill-sergeant grandfather? And how will he share his hopes with his deadbeat dad? It’s not until Wayne loses his voice completely that he realizes how much he doesn’t say. Filled with Karen Harrington’s signature heart and humor, Mayday tackles an unforgettable journey of family and friendship.

Our Favorite Day book
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On Noah's Ark book
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Going Down Home with Daddy book
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When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox book
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  1. Our Favorite Day - Charmingly detailed illustrations help tell a touching tale of the bond between grandparent and grandchild in a quiet yet powerful debut. “Thursdays are my favorite days.” “Mine, too.” Every morning Papa follows his normal routine. He drinks his tea, waters his plants, tidies up, and takes the bus into town. Papa enjoys his daily tasks, but there’s one day each week that is extra special. That’s the day he might visit the craft store, get two orders of dumplings to go, and possibly pick some flowers he sees along the path. With its spare text and wonderfully warm watercolor and cut-paper illustrations just begging to be pored over, Joowon Oh’s tale of the singular love between a grandfather and granddaughter will nestle within the heart of every reader.

  2. On Noah's Ark - Jan Brett’s intricate illustrations against a beautiful papyrus background make a stunning picture book of a favorite story-this time featuring Noah’s granddaughter. As the floodwaters rise, she helps take the animals onto the ark and get them settled down. But it’s not easy when giraffes are sleeping next to pandas and lions are curled up with turkeys. Finally the gentle rocking of the ark lulls them all to sleep until the waters recede and Grandpa Noah, his family, and all the animals leave the ark. This simple telling, combined with extraordinary illustrations of every animal imaginable, makes On Noah’s Ark perfect for young and old.

  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. 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).

A Stopwatch from Grampa book
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  1. A Stopwatch from Grampa - “When summer started, I got Grampa’s stopwatch,” a small child says. “I don’t want his stopwatch. I want him.” Grampa used to time everything. A race to the end of the street and back: 24 seconds. Eating bubblegum ice cream: 1 minute, 58 seconds. But now, Grampa’s gone. “There are no more Grampa minutes, Grampa seconds,” the child says. “Time just stops.” As the seasons come and go, the stopwatch becomes a cherished symbol of remembrance, and the child uses it to carry on Grampa’s favorite pastimes and traditions. Loretta Garbutt uses subtlety and sensitivity to explore the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) in this moving picture book story of loss. It features a gender-neutral main character (no first name or pronouns are given) making the story universally relatable. This is a perfect choice for fostering discussions with children about their emotions, particularly the feeling of loss. It also offers a poignant representation of an intergenerational relationship between a grandfather and grandchild. Carmen Mok’s expressive and thoughtful illustrations employ a limited color palette to convey the character’s emotional trajectory. There are curriculum applications here in social-emotional development as well as character education lessons in caring and resilience.

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