Grandparents and their grandchildren have a special and unique relationship. One of the more popular quotes about grandparents is by Roots author Alex Haley. It reads, “Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.”
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Funny Children’s Books About Grandparents
- Children’s Books About Grandparents for First-Time Grandparents
- Children’s Books About Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
- Children’s Books About Grandparents Who Died or Have a Terminal Illness
Buying children’s books about grandparents can be a special and meaningful way to honor their relationship. These books can be silly stories that guarantee giggles from grandparents and grandchildren. Children’s books can also sensitively deal with more complex topics, like the death or illness of a grandparent.
These books can be a lovely gift for grandchildren and grandparents alike. We’ve rounded up several titles that make perfect gifts on a wide variety of special occasions. Read on to see if your favorites have made the list.
Funny Children’s Books About Grandparents
One of the best ways to foster a love of reading is to find engaging stories. What grabs a kid’s attention more easily than some comedy? These hilarious kids’ books are great for grandparents to read aloud to their grandchildren. People of all ages can bond over these tickling tales.
1. Grandma, Grandpa, and Me by Mercer Mayer
The first book in Mayer’s iconic Little Critter series came out in 1975, while the most recent came out in 2016. These books have endured for so long largely because of their sly visual humor.
Little Critter often proves to be an unreliable narrator, and the illustrations fill in the missing details. This makes for a funny and interactive reading experience.
2. The Ultimate Guide to Grandmas & Grandpas by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Grandchildren are often excited to visit their grandparents and see what new fun activities they’ll get to do. This book teaches kids that they should also be sure to keep their grandparents entertained—and not just by providing activities for Grandparents Day.
This sweetly funny guide suggests all the things kids can do to help their grandparents feel loved and appreciated.
3. Silly Frilly Grandma Tillie by Laurie Jacobs
In this funny book, a wide cast of characters comes to babysit Chloe and Sophie.
Weirdly enough, they all seem to look an awful lot like Grandma Tillie who is supposed to be babysitting but keeps disappearing. Kids and grandparents will be delighted by Tillie’s alter egos, like Chef Silly Tillie and Tillie Vanilly.
4. How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan
In our last pick, Grandma Tillie was supposed to babysit her granddaughters. In this book, a young boy must figure out how to babysit his grandfather.
Luckily the witty narration has all kinds of good suggestions for snacks to make (anything dipped in ketchup) and activities to try (finding lizards).
Children’s Books About Grandparents for First-Time Grandparents
It’s a very special moment when you find out you’re going to be a grandparent. We’ve all seen heartwarming viral videos where tearful grandparents find out their first grandchild is on the way. It’s always sweet to commemorate an occasion like this, and books like these are perfect mementos.
5. I Already Know I Love You by Billy Crystal
Crystal is known primarily as a comedian, and this book is infused with gentle humor. But it also has a touch of sentimentality that never becomes cloying. It’s a testament to the power of a grandparent’s love.
6. Grandma Wishes and Grandpa’s Wish List by Julia Lobo
These two colorful board books are often bundled together. In each book, a grandmother or grandfather plans for the arrival of a new baby in different ways.
Grandma wishes on a star, while Grandpa dreams of the new memories he’ll create with his future grandchild. These can make awesome stocking stuffers or gifts for pregnancy reveals.
7. I Loved You Before You Were Born: A Love Letter from Grandma by Anne Bowen
In this board book, a grandmother excitedly waits for her first grandchild to be born. She anticipates the sweet baby smells and tiny fingers and toes.
This book is a great gift for a grandma-to-be. It’s something she can cherish before the baby arrives, and something she can read to them when they’re born.
8. The Little Big Book for Grandmothers by Lena Tabori
Being a new grandparent can be exciting, but also a little scary! It might be a long time since a future grandparent has been around children.
This book compiles fairy tales and poems, activities and games, and even recipes and songs. It will remind any nervous future grandmothers that they have so much to share with their soon-to-be grandchild.
Children’s Books About Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
Families don’t always look the same. A child can end up under the long-term care of their grandparents for a plethora of reasons. Some kids can find it upsetting or confusing that their caretakers aren’t necessarily conventional. These children’s books about families can help normalize this situation and help kids feel more understood.
9. Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas: Not Mommies and Daddies by Gayle Byrne
Over 4.5 million children in the United States had a grandparent as a primary caregiver. And yet there were few books featuring grandparents in parental roles.
This book follows a family where a young child lives with his grandparents. It’s a great introduction for any kid that not all families are the same.
10. Coming on Home Soon by Jacqueline Woodson
In this illustrated story, a young girl is cared for by her grandmother in the World War II era.
While the soldiers were off fighting, some women went to the workforce and sometimes had to travel far away. This book is perfect for a family where parents take temporary guardianship when parents are deployed.
11. A Grandfamily for Sullivan by Beth Winkler Tyson
Unfortunately, when children end up in the care of their grandparents, it is often the result of some kind of trauma or loss.
This book follows a cute cartoon koala who is nervous about suddenly having to live with his grandmother. The transition isn’t always easy, but along the way, the story reveals ways grandparent caregivers can soothe their new ward.
12. When Kids Have Grandparents As Parents (Volume Two) by Lauren Gould
Gould's stepdaughter was struggling to find a book about blended families that she identified with, so Gold wrote one for her.
Gold has now tackled several books about nontraditional family situations in her When Kids series. This compassionate yet matter-of-fact book reminds kids they are loved even if they can’t live with their parents.
Children’s Books About Grandparents Who Died or Have a Terminal Illness
Grandparents may often be the oldest people in a child’s life, and may also provide their first brush with illness or death. The finality of death can be very difficult for children to understand. These books for children about death can help parents explain this difficult topic.
13. Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola
Tomie dePaola was a prolific and award-winning American children’s literature author. He published over 260 books before his death in 2020 at the age of 85. In this autobiographical story, he recalled his relationship with his grandmother and great-grandmother.
At age 4, Tomie lost his great-grandmother (Nana Upstairs). As an adult, he was faced with the death of his grandmother (Nana Downstairs). Though it was written in 1973, this powerful story still resonates and shows that death is a topic we all must confront, often more than once.
14. A Place in My Heart by Annette Aubrey
In this storybook, Andrew experiences challenges that include the death of his grandfather. He and his parents share his grandfather’s favorite meal of spaghetti and tomato sauce and share their favorite memories of him.
Remembering him brings both laughter and tears to everyone in the family. It shows kids that it’s okay to remember happier times, even while they grieve.
15. Thank You, Grandpa by Lynn Plourde
This beautifully illustrated and meditative tale follows a young girl and her grandfather as they walk through the woods.
Over the years, as she grows from a toddler into girlhood, he teaches her to appreciate the gifts nature gives us, even when they’re fleeting. In the end, the girl walks alone as her grandfather has died. But because of his patience, she knows how to appreciate the time they did share.
16. Badger’s Parting Gifts by Susan Varley
Story books featuring animal characters can be a good way to introduce very young children to the concept of death.
By having anthropomorphized animals as characters instead of humans, it can help the subject feel less scary. In this book, a friendly badger nears the end of his life and shares stories with his forest friends. This book can be a great way to begin conversations about death if a grandparent has a terminal illness.
Grandparents and Grandchildren, By the Book
While people may look forward to parenthood with a mixture of excitement and apprehension, grandparents usually feel no fear. Indeed, they often look forward to being able to love and spoil a child and then hand them back to mom or dad.
A good grandparent will be someone your child can lean on and learn from as they grow up. These books make great gifts for grandparents or grandkids, as they honor a relationship that can be deeply profound.