Books, Brightly, and Grandparents of Children's Literature

In celebration of Grandparents Day — which is this Sunday, Sept. 10 — I'd like to share with you a grand resource for grandparents that I just recently learned of.

Brightly is a resource for parents, grandparents, and other folks dedicated to raising lifelong readers. The award-winning website, a partnership with Penguin Random House, launched in 2014 and features, as the Brightly site states, "book recommendations from all publishers for every age and stage, reading tips and insights, seasonal inspirations, author essays, contests, gift guides, and more."

Brightly has some pretty great content specifically for grandparents, including the following piece, which I've received permission to share with you in part. Enjoy! And be sure to click for the complete article as well as others, all celebrating grandparents. For Grandparents Day and every day!

By Tom Burns

Grandparents aren’t just solid sources of extra dollars, hearty hugs, and embarrassing stories about your parents. They also make amazing characters in children’s stories. There’s a long history of literary grandparents — passing down wisdom, sharing adventures, being eaten by wolves — so, to celebrate the vital role they play in children’s literature, here are a few of our very favorite grandparents from some of our very favorite kids' books.

1. Grandpa Joe (from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl)

All of Charlie Bucket’s grandparents are pretty fantastic, but due credit must go to Grandpa Joe for dragging himself out of bed and going with young Charlie on an adventure of a lifetime to Willy Wonka's candy paradise. A great example of a grandparent acting as a guardian and a friend.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


2. Grannie (of Red Riding Hood retold by James Marshall)

Red Riding’s poor Grannie might be the most famous grandparent in children’s literature (and one of the first recorded victims of identity theft). Fortunately, Red was able to see past the wolf’s deception, but her grandmother’s fate depends on what version of the tale you read. If you prefer your grandmothers undigested, you’ll love this bold, clever take on the classic tale told from the creator of The Stupids and Miss Nelson Is Missing.

Red Riding Hood


3. Hippie Grandmother (from My Hippie Grandmother by Reeve Lindbergh)

This “crunchy” grandma is a wonderful reminder that not all grandparents grew up during the Great Depression. Grandparents come from wide variety of backgrounds and time periods, so it’s fun to celebrate a grandmother who “hasn’t cut her hair at all / Since nineteen sixty-nine.”

My Hippie Grandmother


4. Uncle Alp (of Heidi by Johanna Spyri)

This children’s classic, originally published in 1881, actually has a surprisingly progressive attitude towards grandparents. Throughout Spryi’s text, grandparents act as confidants and caregivers, and the transformation of Heidi’s grandpa, Uncle Alp, from a gruff hermit to a loving parent figure is the emotional core of the book



There's more! Click over to Brightly for the full article including four more memorable grandparents of children's literature.

While you're there, be sure to check out other Brightly articles for grandparents, such as 7 FAVORITE BOOKS TO READ WITH GRANDPARENTS and 4 WAYS TO HELP GRANDPARENTS START THEIR OWN READING TRADITIONS WITH THEIR GRANDKIDS.

 Happy reading and Happy Grandparents Day!