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The Wisdom of Grandpas

Sarah's one-week-old daughter with her dad, Papa Dick. Photo: Sarah Threlkeld.

Neither of my grandfathers were present in my life, so it has been an absolute joy to watch my daughter interact with her Papa Dick and Grandpa Scott and to witness the pure love and joy that is at the core of those relationships. While I have many wonderful memories of my father, one of my favorites is of watching him wheel my then-three-year-old child around in a shopping cart in his Barcelona apartment while she giggled uncontrollably and his two dogs danced around excitedly, hoping for a ride. My dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor a few weeks later and passed away a year after that. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, that trip to Spain was the last time we were all together in person. I feel extremely fortunate to have filmed that moment, to be able to cue the video up on my phone whenever my daughter and I are missing Papa Dick.

Picture books have also helped us process our grief around his death and remind us of the special bond he had with his granddaughter. Thankfully, numerous titles celebrating intergenerational relationships have been published in the last few years, many of which center around BIPOC families, so we have a lot of books to choose from. Here is a Guide/Reviews Database booklist of some recently published picture books about grandfathers that the Horn Book recommends; for more titles, browse the subject: Family--Grandfathers.

Reminder: This Sunday, September 11, is Grandparents Day!

Sarah Threlkeld

Sarah Threlkeld is an editorial intern for The Horn Book, Inc., studying towards an MA in children’s literature and an MFA in writing for children at Simmons University. 

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