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Recommendations for when Grandpa passes away

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Jenn Bertman
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One of my best friends recently lost her father. It was unexpected and heartbreaking. She has two little boys, 3 and 7, and I was thinking I could send them some picture books. Books that deal with loss or grief would be nice, but I'd like the gift to be uplifting. My friend is Indian, in case you know of books that include that culture. I had been intending to send her and another Indian friend with young children the title HOT, HOT ROTI FOR DADA-JI, but as that's about making roti with grandpa I'm afraid that would hit too sad of a note now.

I welcome any recommendations you might have for me. Thanks in advance!
#1 - July 25, 2013, 09:25 AM
BOOK SCAVENGER, Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt 
THE UNBREAKABLE CODE, April 2017
UNLOCK THE ROCK, 2018
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I love Nana Upstairs Nana Downstairs but I fear that might not be quite the kind of uplifting you're after – do you mean you want a book that deals with grief/losing someone but in an uplifting way? The Nana book is kind of sweet and sad at the same time.

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith is wonderful, a nice way to remember a grandparent, the things they did/enjoyed. But again, it does focus on a grandparent.

What about books about missing people, simply? The Invisible String springs to mind.

I'm sure others will come up with better recommendations!
#2 - July 25, 2013, 10:21 AM

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I think Oliver Jeffers' THE HEART AND THE BOTTLE is about losing a grandparent, but it is very subtle.  From Amazon:

 A little girl delights in the boundless discoveries of the world around her with an older gentleman, likely her grandfather. But then the man’s chair is empty, and the girl puts her heart in a bottle to help with the hurt. As she grows older, she loses her sense of wonderment, and it isn’t until she meets another young girl that she finds a way to free her heart again. This book showcases some absolutely captivating artwork. The way in which Jeffers employs pictures in word balloons to convey the limberness of imagination is brilliant: the man points to the sky to talk about constellations, while the girl sees stars as inflamed bumblebees. But what begins promisingly runs into trouble, and it’s not clear who the message is directed toward: children just opening their eyes to the world, or parents who have lost their sense of curiosity? Even if children don’t glean much from the abstractions and subtleties of the narrative, they’re nevertheless in for a treat with the unforgettable visuals of imagination at play. Preschool-Grade 1. --Ian Chipman
#3 - July 25, 2013, 12:05 PM
You're never too old to become younger. - Mae West

Jenn Bertman
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Yeah, I'm not really sure what I'm meaning by uplifting either. I guess I'm just wanting to send something to help ease their pain a bit and, having not been in their position, I don't want to inadvertantly make it worse by sending books that hit too close to home right now. But maybe that's what people need or want at a time like this?

I guess in addition to book recommendations, I'd also be interested in if anyone has lost a parent while raising young children, and if it helped or hurt your grief to read books about those things.

But these titles all sound great that you've recommended so far. I'll look into them!
#4 - July 25, 2013, 01:09 PM
BOOK SCAVENGER, Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt 
THE UNBREAKABLE CODE, April 2017
UNLOCK THE ROCK, 2018
jenniferchamblissbertman.com

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I hesitated to recommend this one, because I wasn't sure if was what you're looking for, not being uplifting, but actually dealing with the loss of a beloved grandfather. (I discovered the book when covering an event of the author's, but haven't read it.) It's gotten some awards/recognitions, but just wanted to throw it into the mix, in case it fits your needs.

ZAYDE COMES TO LIVE by Sheri Sinykin:

http://www.amazon.com/Zayde-Comes-Live-Sheri-Sinykin/dp/1561456314
#5 - July 25, 2013, 03:25 PM
« Last Edit: July 25, 2013, 03:27 PM by JennaWren »

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It's not out for a few more weeks (August 6), but Pat Zietlow Miller's SOPHIE'S SQUASH would be an excellent one--it's not about losing a grandparent, but it is about saying goodbye to someone you love and letting them go. So far it's garnered four starred reviews from Booklist, SLJ, PW, and Kirkus, and is for ages 3 to 7. Highly recommend this one.

http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780307978967
#6 - July 25, 2013, 03:38 PM
FLYING THE DRAGON (Charlesbridge, 2012)
A LONG PITCH HOME (Charlesbridge, 2016)

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A gift of picture books is a lovely idea. How about books that are about separation (not death.) Sometimes glancing off a topic is the best way to approach it...Wish I had some examples (Corduroy?) but I'm terrible at remembering titles.
#7 - July 25, 2013, 07:03 PM

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A gift of picture books is a lovely idea. How about books that are about separation (not death.) Sometimes glancing off a topic is the best way to approach it...Wish I had some examples (Corduroy?) but I'm terrible at remembering titles.


Salina's Penguin and Pinecone fits that bill. No one dies but Penguin and Pinecone can't live in the same part of the world. It is a wonderful book for anyone really... Only problem is Penguin does have a grandpa.

Thinking about it, I would probably love it if someone sent me books to make the family laugh, if I were in the same situation. I would be wary of reading a book before bed that might make my kids worry or think about being sad or even missing someone. A few months down the line I wouldn't be so worried but soon after I would try to keep things upbeat. But it is difficult to know what you or your kids would need in that situation!
#8 - July 25, 2013, 08:56 PM

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Something that might be perfect: Uma Krishnaswami's Remembering Grandpa. It's about a little girl who sets out to collect happy memories of her grandfather when her grandmother has a 'bad case of sadness.'
Uma herself is Indian, but the characters are bunnies. It's very sweet and uplifting.
#9 - July 26, 2013, 09:14 AM
SPACE EXPLORERS (Rourke, 2019)
OCEAN EXPLORERS (Rourke, 2019)
GRAVITY IN ACTION (Rourke, 2019)
www.annettegulati.com

I agree with Annette on Remembering Grandpa (Hi Annette!). Here's another book I would highly recommend--The Mountains of Tibet by Mordicai Gerstein.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Mountains-Tibet-Mordicai-Gerstein/dp/0064432114
#10 - July 26, 2013, 09:57 AM
Red Turban White Horse (Scholastic India)
Starcursed (Red Turtle/Rupa India)

http://www.nandinibajpai.com

I actually came across this pinterest board yesterday, perhaps you will find something there that will be fitting: http://pinterest.com/kinderbookboard/picture-books-about-death-and-grieving/
#11 - July 26, 2013, 04:06 PM
UNICORN AND YETI: SPARKLY NEW FRIENDS, A GOOD TEAM, & FRIENDS ROCK! Coming 2019 from Scholastic Acorn

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Maybe "The Lion King" would be appropriate.
#12 - July 26, 2013, 04:32 PM
ANTIQUE PIANO & OTHER SOUR NOTES
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