30 Intergenerational Stories in Honor of Grandparents Day
Stories that feature intergenerational relationships are some of our favorite types. When older and younger people nurture friendships and share their knowledge and experiences, magic just happens! We carefully selected more than 30 of our favorite books that showcase beautiful intergenerational relationships.
We created this collection of stories in honor of Grandparents Day - an official national holiday that’s celebrated the first Sunday after Labor Day every year. President Jimmy Carter proclaimed this a national holiday in 1979, and included the excerpt below in his original speech.
“Grandparents are our continuing tie to the near-past, to the events and beliefs and experiences that so strongly affect our lives and the world around us. Whether they are our own or surrogate grandparents who fill some of the gaps in our mobile society, our senior generation also provides our society a link to our national heritage and traditions.
We all know grandparents whose values transcend passing fads and pressures, and who possess the wisdom of distilled pain and joy. Because they are usually free to love and guide and befriend the young without having to take daily responsibility for them, they can often reach out past pride and fear of failure and close the space between generations.”
If you plan on celebrating Grandparents Day in your home or classroom, here are a few ideas:
Make cards/art for a senior center and drop off/deliver (when possible, plan a field trip - it’s truly beautiful to see the joy a visit brings to both young and old!)
Create a “memory” - plan a special experience for children and the grandparents/special friends in their lives (think cooking together, learning a new song, playing a game, going on a nature walk, etc.)
Have children conduct grandparent interviews
Do a collaborative art project - check out this list for ideas!
Read special books about grandparents to children
Below, you can read about some of our book recommendations for celebrating Grandparents Day and intergenerational relationships.
You can see the complete list of recommendations on our Bookshop page.
A Grand Day
Author: Jean Reidy | Illustrator: Samantha Cotterill | Publisher: Simon and Schuster
“A million kisses! Hugs! Hooray!
Our grand day begins this way.
Whether planting a garden, having a picnic, or baking, any day spent together is sure to be grand.
Follow all kinds of family configurations as grandparents and grandchildren celebrate togetherness: baking, exploring, gardening, and all of life’s joyful moments. This rhyming, warmhearted picture book captures the unique bond between grandparents and grandchildren in every kind of family!”
Time for Bed, Old House
Author: Janet Costa Bates | Illustrator: A.G. Ford | Publisher: Candlewick
Isaac is sleeping over at Grandpop’s for the first time and is both excited to, and nervous about being away from home. Grandpop senses this in him, so when it’s almost time for bed, he asks Isaac to help him put the house to bed - quietly turning off lights, pulling down the shades, and getting it ready for a restful night of sleep.
We love the relationship between Isaac and his Grandpop, and how universal it is to feel anxious about something new - it always helps when someone you love is there to help you through it.
Author/Illustrator: Vanessa Brantley-Newton | Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
This is a sweet ode to the magic of Grandmas. In this story, Grandma Mimi’s special purse is full of all the best things and makes everything more fun - you never know what you will find inside!
The vibrant and fun illustrations and joyful story make this a special one to share with someone you love. Don’t miss some of our other favorites by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, including Becoming Vanessa and Just Like Me.
Ten Beautiful Things
Author: Molly Beth Griffin | Illustrator: Maribel Lechuga | Publisher: Charlesbridge
Ten Beautiful Things is about a grandma and her grandchild, and the quiet and touching ways they connect and uplift each other during a difficult time. They create beautiful memories and connections while taking a long road trip together.
While it’s never explicitly stated, readers get the sense that the little girl is leaving one home with her family to start a new life living with her grandma. This is a wonderful book to share with children - it encourages us to notice and appreciate the little things and highlights just how important it is for every child to have at least one person in their life who nurtures them and helps them shine.
Author: Joseph Coelho | Illustrator: Allison Colpoys | Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
“If all the world were memories, the past would be rooms I could visit, and in each room would be my grandpa.”
This is a beautiful story for any child or person who has grieved the loss of a beloved person in their life. Grandpa’s Stories is written from the perspective of a small child and details the special relationship she has with her grandfather. When he passes on, she discovers ways to honor and celebrate him every day.
The Keeper of Wild Words
Author: Brooke Smith | Illustrator: Madeline Kloepper | Publisher: Chronicle Books
This is a wondrous intergenerational story about a grandmother and her granddaughter who enjoy spending time in nature. While exploring together outside, Grandma shares some of her favorite words, like wren, monarch and brook - words that will only be remembered and tended to if people know them. She shares her wisdom with her young granddaughter in hopes of instilling the same love and appreciation for nature.
Each word is accompanied by new learning and thoughtful and detailed illustrations that children will cherish. It also includes a call for readers to become their own “keepers of wild words.”
Author/Illustrator: Harry Woodgate | Publisher: little bee books
This important story was created to fulfill a need in the children’s book publishing world - increasing representation of older LGBTQIA+ characters. It is also a beautiful intergenerational story about a grandfather and his granddaughter. Grandad loves to tell her about all the adventures he and Gramps went on, and in doing so, she notices how much he misses him. She tenderly reminds him that they can still honor Gramps with their own adventures.
On the Trapline
Author: David A. Robertson | Illustrator: Julie Flett | Publisher: Tundra Books
This is a powerful intergenerational story that explores the relationship between grandfather and grandson and the interconnectedness they share with the land. It showcases the beauty of living on a trapline and the hardships that came after when friends and family were forced into schools that would not allow them to speak Cree. This book reminds us that it’s never too late to return home.
Where Three Oceans Meet
Author: Rajani LaRocca | Illustrator: Archana Shreenivasan | Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
“Sejal, Mommy, and Pati travel together to the southern tip of India. Along the way, they share meals, visit markets, and catch up with old friends.
For Pati, the trip retraces spaces she knows well. For Mommy, it’s a return to the place she grew up.
For Sejal, it’s a discovery of new sights and sounds. The family finds their way to Kanyakumari, where three oceans meet, and delight in making it to the end of the earth together.
This own voices picture book celebrates the beauty of India and the enduring love of family.”
What Will You Be?
Author: Yamile Saied Mendez | Illustrator: Kate Alizadeh | Publisher: HarperCollins
What Will You Be? is a quintessential book about the age-old question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” In this story, a young girl allows herself to consider what is possible for her future, and luckily, has her abuela to help.
With the loving guidance of her abuela, the young child is able to dream up a future with limitless possibilities. This book is a wonderful celebration of growth, curiosity, love and family.
A Song of Frutas
Author: Margarita Engle | Illustrator: Sara Palacios | Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
“When we visit mi abuelo, I help him sell
frutas, singing the names of each fruit
as we walk, our footsteps like drumbeats,
our hands like maracas, shaking…
The little girl loves visiting her grandfather in Cuba and singing his special songs to sell all kinds of fruit: mango, limón, naranja, piña, and more! Even when they’re apart, grandfather and granddaughter can share rhymes between their countries like un abrazo—a hug—made of words carried on letters that soar across the distance like songbirds.”
The Whole World Inside Nans Soup
Author: Hunter Liguore | Illustrator: Vikki Zhang | Publisher: Yeehoo Press
“A rumination on our ability to recognize our interconnectedness with all people, that in order to eat a single meal, it takes the whole world to make it. There's something special bubbling in Nanni's big metal pot. And it smells delicious! What ingredients might be inside? When Nanni lifts the lid on her soup, she reveals the whole world inside: from the seeds that grew into vegetables, to the gardeners who lovingly tended to the plants, to the sun, moon, and stars that shone its light above them. And, of course, no meal is complete without a recipe passed down generations of family, topped and finished with Nanni's love.
In this tender tale by award-winning author Hunter Liguore and artist Vikki Zhang, readers will marvel at how a community and world can come together to put on an unforgettable meal between a granddaughter and her Nanni. Perfect for fans of Good People Everywhere, Thank You, Omu and Fry Bread.”