Picture Books

Fall 2013 011

Note: This book list is incomplete while we transition to a new listing process.

This page lists Positive Aging picture books below - as a resource for teachers, librarians, parents, grandparents and others reading to children. We strive to ensure this list leaves out books containing negative age stereotypes.*

Much of what we think we know about growing older is myth or stereotype. Children need books that act as windows into their own future - books that help them view their own long term future with happy anticipation.

(*Many intergenerational book lists do include books with negative age stereotypes such as sick, sad, lonely, grumpy or forgetful. It's a problem when these attributes are equated with "old" either in the book, or in the mind of a child. Books such as those can be lovely and poignant, but please consider balancing them with Positive Aging picture books. Discuss portrayals of aging and remind children that older adults are even more diverse than younger people.)

Research tells us ageism is evident in pre-schoolers and taking in negative age stereotypes over a lifetime affects our health and can shorten our life.

Many books are also reviewed on the blog page. Reviews often include links to resources or articles, and ideas for talking with kids about aging.

Alphabetized list of Positive Aging Picture Books below

Click on these categories for more specialized lists:

Note: You can also click on links within book posts to see other books in the same category (age, topic, etc).
Click on a book's image or title to find the closest library with that title and also options for purchase.

A is for Aging advisor Sandra L. McGuire, Ed.D has studied the importance of aging education for many years.
Her booklist "Growing Up and Growing Older" is being incorporated into the resources on this website. Thanks to SEA Change for permission to being with portions of their original list. For further information contact Marsha Weiner at contentmaven2009@gmail.com

Read more regarding Educators on Using Picture Books to Change Attitudes to Aging.

A Little at a Time

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By: David A. Adler
Illustrated by: Paul Tong
Description: A young boy visits his grandfather in the city and asks many questions like "how did that tree get so tall" and "how did you get so smart Grandpa." He answers patiently, along with "a little at a time."
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Abuela

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By: Arthur Dorros
Illustrated by: Elisa Kleven
Description: A little girl and her grandmother fly together over New York City. (Also in a Spanish edition)
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A Chair for My Mother

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By: Vera Williams
Description: Grandparents, families, cooperation, saving, goal-setting A girl, her mother, and grandmother all contribute coins to the coin jar that will buy a new chair for mama after a fire destroys their possessions.
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A Couple of Boys have the Best Week Ever

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By: Marla Frazee
Description: Grandparents, summer activities, friends & friendship, humor James and Eamon stay with Eamon’s grandparents while in Nature Camp for the best summer ever!
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Albert the Fix-It Man

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By: Janet Lord
Illustrated by: Julie Paschkis
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Elder valued in community, neighborliness, active older man
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Amazing Grace

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By: Mary Hoffman
Illustrated by: Caroline Binch
Description: Families, grandparents, school, books & stories, dramatization, gender roles, multicultural. Publ. 1991. Grace’s grandmother helps Grace, a girl who loves stories, realize that with effort anything can be achieved.
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A River of Words

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By: Jen Bryant
Illustrated by: Melissa Sweet
Description: Biography/picture book Poets & poetry, biography, vocations, persistence Though he practiced medicine, William Carlos Williams became a recognized poet continuing well into his sixties.
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A Sick Day for Amos McGee

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By: Phillip Stead
Illustrated by: Erin Stead
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Dedication, jobs – zookeeper, animals, zoos, friends & friendship. Caldecott Medal for illustrations.
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Aunt Flossie’s Hats (& Crab Cakes later)

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By: Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard
Illustrated by: James Ransome
Description: Families, family stories, hats. When they visit their favorite relative, Sara and Susan enjoy her collection of hats and stories and share crab cakes.
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The Berenstain Bears and the Week at Grandma’s

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By: Jan Berenstain, Stan Berenstain
Description: By the end of the week a brother and sister stop worrying about what they will do at Grandma and Grandpa's and have lots of fun. Shows the similarities between young and old.
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Betsy’s Day At The Game

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By: Greg Bancroft
Illustrated by: Katherine Blackmore
Read A is for Aging Book Review
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Big Moon Tortilla

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By: Joy Cowley
Illustrated by: Dyanne Strongbow
Description: Grandparents, multicultural (Native Am.), bad days After Marta has had a bad day, her grandmother shares some comforting words of advice. Out of print
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Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child

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By: Jessie Hartland
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Non-fiction picture book biography of chef Julia Child, who had a long, productive, and happy life.
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Bottle Houses: The Creative World of Grandma Prisbrey

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By: Melissa Eskridge Slaymaker
Illustrated by: Julie Paschkis
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Creative life, imagination and perseverance, love of color. Real life Grandma P. builds her own creative home from bottles and other found materials. Sadly out of print, but still available.
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Buffalo Storm

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By: Katherine Applegate
Illustrated by: Jan Ormerod
Description: Hallie must leave her beloved Grandmother behind when her family joins a wagon train to Oregon. A quilt gifted by Grandmother comforts her as she faces storms and other fears.
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Butterfly Kisses for Grandma and Grandpa

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By: Alayne Kay Christian
Illustrated by: Joni Stringfield
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Long distance grandparents, story and coping ideas for kids and grandparents using nature.
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Crouching Tiger

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By: Ying Chang Compestine
Illustrated by: Yan Nascimbene
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Grandpa visits from China and imparts his skills in tai chi to his young grandson and also pride in his Chinese-­American heritage.
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The Doorbell Rang

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By: Pat Hutchins
Description: Grandparents, families, sharing, math concepts, baking – cookies. Out of Print. Grandma saves the day just when it seems that there aren’t enough cookies for Victoria and Sam to share as unexpected guests drop in.
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Dream: A Tale of Wonder, Wisdom and Wishes

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By: Susan V. Bosak
Illustrated by: multiple award winning artists
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Strengths and challenges of life stages, hopes and dreams for the future no matter what age; beautifully illustrated, includes quotes and inspiration.
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Family Pictures/Cuadros de Familia

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By: Carmen Lomas Garza
Description: Non-fiction. Folk paintings and brief narratives recall the artist’s growing up in a large Hispanic family in Texas. Diversity/Multicultural – Hispanic (American), bilingual – Spanish/English, families, everyday activities, memoir
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Fancy Nancy: Bonjour Butterfly

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By: Jane O'Connor
Illustrated by: Robin Preiss Glasser
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Family,Grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary
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The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau

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By: Michelle Markel
Illustrated by: Amanda Hall
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Self-taught artist Rousseau begins painting late in life and perseveres despite poverty & criticism.
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Full, Full, Full of Love

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By: Trish Cooke
Illustrated by: Paul Howard
Description: Sunday Dinner at Grandma's house. Multi-cultural (Af. Am.) out of print
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Gabby and Grandma Go Green

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By: Monica Wellington
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Grandparents, environment, recycling, activities, crafts.
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Georgia Rises: A Day in the Life of Georgia O’Keefe

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By: Kathryn Lasky
Illustrated by: Ora Eiten
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: A day in the life of famous artist Georgia O'Keefe as an active woman in her 90's.
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Goose Moon

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By: Carolyn Arden
Illustrated by: Jim Postier
Description: Grandpa and granddaughter fish, toboggan and sit by the fire as he plays guitar. He shares a tale inspired by Native American folklore of the coming Goose Moon--a sign summer is on its way.
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Grandfather and I

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By: Helen E. Buckley
Illustrated by: Jan Ormerod
Description: Grandparents, everyday activities, families, multicultural (African Americans). In the middle of a busy family, only grandfather has lots of time to walk and look with his grandson.
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Grandfather Counts

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By: Andrea Cheng
Illustrated by: Ange Zheng
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Multi-cultural (bi-racial family: American, Chinese), grandparents, language differences.
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Grandfather’s Wrinkles

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By: Kathryn England
Illustrated by: Richard McFarland
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Grandfather explains where wrinkles come from in warm and child-friendly terms.
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Grandma in Blue with Red Hat

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By: Scott Menchin
Illustrated by: Harry Bliss
Description: When a young boy learns about what makes art special--sometimes it's beautiful, sometimes it's funny, sometimes it tells a story--he realizes that these same characteristics are what make his grandmother special, too. As a result, he finds the inspiration to create his own masterpiece that's one of a kind. (Description-- Abrams Books)
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Grandmama’s Pride

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By: Becky Birtha
Illustrated by: Colin Bootman
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Multi-cultural (Af.Am.) strong older role model, activism, human rights, racism, segregation Young African-American sisters visit their grandmother in 1950’s southern U.S. and encounter segregation. Along with many others Grandmama refuses to ride public buses in protest and they manage to effect change in the laws.
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Grandpa’s Face

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By: Eloise Greenfield
Illustrated by: Floyd Cooper
Description: Tamika sees her beloved grandfather making a mean face while he rehearses for one of his plays and becomes afraid that someday he will make that face at her. Actors, African-Americans, families, grandparents, perception, fears.
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Gus & Me

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By: Keith Richards
Illustrated by: Theodora Richards
Description: True tale by Rolling Stones musician Keith Richards about his relationship with his grandfather and introduction to music.
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Harry and Walter

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By: Kathy Stinson
Illustrated by: Qin Leng
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Harry (4 3/4) and Walter (92 1/2) are the best of friends, until young Harry must move away. Intergenerational friendship, neighbors, community, late life happiness, wisdom
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The Hello Goodbye Window

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By: Norton Juster
Illustrated by: Chris Raschka
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Grandparents, family, everyday adventures, multi-cultural (bi-racial family).
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Henri’s Scissors

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By: Jeanette Winter
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Non-fiction bio of artist Henri Matisse.
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Here Comes Grandma

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By: Janet Lord
Illustrated by: Julie Paschkis
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: An active long-distance grandma visits.
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The Honeybee Man

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By: Lela Nargi, Krysten Brooker
Description: Fred is an urban beekeeper who shares the fruits of his work with neighbors. Information about beekeeping and bees is included.
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Hot Hot Roti for Dadi-ji

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By: F. Zia
Illustrated by: Keri Min
Description: Grandparents, families, food, multi-cultural – India. Aneel’s active grandparents bring stories, special foods, and fun with them from India.
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I Call my Grandpa Papa; I Call my Grandma Nana

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By: Ashley Wolff
Description: Grandparents, families, schools, multicultural. Children and their teacher share the names for their lively and loved grandparents in two books. Names for grandparents from different countries are noted on end papers.
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It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw

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By: Don Tate
Illustrated by: R. Gregory Christie
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Picture book bio of the acclaimed American folk artist who only begins drawing at age 85.
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I Know a Lady

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By: Charlotte Zolotow
Illustrated by: James Stevenson
Description: Communities, neighbors, friendliness, everyday activities Out of print

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I Love Saturdays y Domingos

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By: Alma Flor Ada
Illustrated by: Elivia Savadier
Description: Grandparents, families, multicultural – Spanish-speaking A young girl enjoys the similarities and the differences between her English-speaking and Spanish-speaking grandparents.
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Jingle Dancer

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By: Cynthia Leitich Smith
Illustrated by: Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu
Description: Contemporary Native American family, inter-generational sharing of traditions Young girl represents four loving, older family members in the traditional Jingle Dance.
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Kiki’s Hats

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By: Warren Hanson
Description: Joy of giving, creating a better world, leaving a legacy Kiki, an older woman, knits thousands of hats to give away and urges others to share them also.

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Last Stop on Market Street

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By: Matt de la Peῆa, Christian Robinson
Description: Multi-cultural (Af. Am.), grandson and grandma, city living, jealousy, thankfulness, volunteerism
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Lillian’s Right to Vote

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By: Jonah Winter, Shane W. Evans
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: About the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Based on a real woman.
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Lots of Grandparents

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By: Shelly Rotner & Sheila Kelly
Description: Picture book/nonfiction Grandparents, families, everyday activities, photographs Photographs of grandparents and their grandchildren show the joy as they visit, play, and read together.
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The Magical Garden of Claude Monet

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By: Laurence Anholt
Description: Julie, daughter of French painter Berthe Morisot, visits the country garden of painter Claude Monet. Shows late life creativity and painting and gardening as lifelong activities.
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The Matchbox Diary

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By: Paul Fleischman
Illustrated by: Bagram Ibatoulline
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: A kindergartner meets her great-grandfather and gets to know him and his past via trinkets in matchboxes he has saved over his lifetime.
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Meena

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By: Sine Van Mol
Illustrated by: Carianne Wijffels
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Meena’s young neighbors believe she is a witch until their many misunderstandings are cleared up.
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Miss Moore Thought Otherwise: How Anne Carroll Moore Created Libraries for Children

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By: Jan Pinborough
Illustrated by: Debby Atwell
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Picture book bio shows us a strong single woman busting both gender and age stereotypes.
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Miss Rumphius

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By: Barbara Cooney
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Growing older, a lifetime, legacies, flowers, planting When still a little girl, Alice Rumphius decided that when she grew up she would visit faraway places, live by the sea and do something to make the world more beautiful–per her grandfather’s advice.
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Mr. Frank

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By: Irene Luxbacher
Read A is for Aging Book Review
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Mr. Putter and Tabby Toot the Horn/series

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By: Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by: Arthur Howard
Description: Easy Reader. Mr. Putter’s neighbor, Mrs. Teaberry, decides that they should join a band, but finding the right one isn’t as easy as it sounds—for them or their pets. Mr. Putter’s everyday adventures continue in other books in the series such as Mr. Putter & Tabby Paint the Porch;
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My Teacher

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By: James Ransome
Read A is for Aging Book Review
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Mr. Cornell’s Dream Boxes

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By: Jeanette Winter
Description: Read about more Positive Aging picture books by the author.
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Mrs. Katz and Tush

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By: Patricia Polacco
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Friends & friendship, community, caring for others, cats & kittens, multi-cultural (African-Am. & Jewish). A lifelong and caring friendship between young Larnel and his neighbor Mrs. Katz. Many books by Patricia Polacco feature Positive Aging and intergenerational relationships–such as Chicken Sunday and The Bee Tree.
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Mr. George Baker

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By: Amy Hest
Illustrated by: Jon J. Muth
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Intergenerational friends, multi-cultural (Af. Am.), long life and marriage of many decades, literacy and continued learning. At 100 years old, Mr. Baker is learning to read and rides the school bus with his very young friend Harry.
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My Abuelita

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By: Tony Johnston
Illustrated by: Yuyi Morales
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Grandparent raising her grandchild, multi-cultural, late life work. A young boy lives with his grandmother who is preparing for her mysterious job.
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My Hippie Grandmother

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By: Reeve Lindbergh
Illustrated by: Abby Carter
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Contemporary grandmother, intergenerational fun, farmer’s market, music, activism. No aprons here. A young girl enjoys time with her unconventional grandmother who gardens in jeans, pickets city hall and drives a purple bus. Only hints of her youth in the ‘60’s. Sadly, out of print.
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My Name is Georgia: A Portrait

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By: Jeanette Winter
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Author/illustrator Jeanette Winter shows us the life of painter Georgia O'Keefe as she follows her dream from Wisconsin to art studies in Chicago and New York, and finally to her beloved New Mexico. Georgia lived to the age of 98. (Sadly out of print, but still available)
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Nana in the City

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By: Lauren Castillo
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Young boy visits Nana’s home in the big city and is initially frightened.
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Nelson Mandela

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By: Kadir Nelson
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Bio, apartheid, multi-cultural (South Africa), late life work, respect for elders, wisdom
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Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

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By: Nelson Mandela, Abridged by Chris van Wyck
Illustrated by: Paddy Bouma
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Official picture book version of Nelson Mandela’s autobiography. Activism, apartheid, late life work, multi-cultural (South Africa), respect for elders, wisdom.
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Nonna’s Birthday Surprise

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By: Lidia Bastianich
Illustrated by: Renee Graef
Description: Nonna Lidia helps her grandchildren prepare a birthday dinner for their great-grandmother Nonna Mima. She tells them about her childhood home with the animals, fruits and vegetables.
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Nonna Tell Me a Story: Lidia’s Egg-citing Farm Adventure

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By: Lidia Bastianich
Illustrated by: Renee Graef
Description: Nonna Lidia has her grandkids for a sleepover and she shares stories of her childhood on the farm with her own grandparents, the children's great-grandparents. The kids feed chickens, collect eggs and learn about an organic farm. Recipes included.
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North Woods Girl

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By: Aimee Bissonette
Illustrated by: Claudia McGehee
Read A is for Aging Book Review
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On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein

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By: Jennifer Berne
Illustrated by: Vladimir Radunsky
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Non-fiction picture book bio of Albert Einstein.
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Our Grandparents: A Global Album

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By: Maya Ajmera, Sheila Kinkade, Cynthia Pon
Description: Grandparents, multicultural, families, everyday activities, photographs The joy shared between grandparents and grandchildren is presented in photographs and brief text following an introduction by Desmond Tutu.
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Papa Chagall, Tell us a Story

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By: Laurence Anholt
Description: Famed Russian painter Marc Chagall shares historical tales of his rags to riches past, including WW II, with his twin grandchildren. art, history, intergenerational
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Paris Hop

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By: Margie Blumberg
Illustrated by: Renee Andriani
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: A grandmother and granddaughter have travel adventures in Paris.
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The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton

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By: Don Tate
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: George Moses Horton taught himself to read while a slave and became the first African American to be published in the South. A is for Aging book review coming soon!
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Rock, Brock and the Savings Shock

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By: Sheila Bair
Illustrated by: Barry Gott
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Twins Rock and Brock learn the value of saving money from their grandfather. Additional information at the end of the book teaches about savings and lifelong financial security.
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Rosie Revere, Engineer

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By: Andrea Beaty
Illustrated by: David Roberts
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Young Rosie faces setbacks in her dream to be an engineer, but her Great-Great Aunt Rose encourages her creativity and persistence.
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Seaside Dream

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By: Janet Costa Bates
Illustrated by: Lambert Davis
Description: Cora's Grandma is lonely for her homeland of Cape Verde Islands. Cora wants a birthday gift for her that will remind her of her homeland and make her happy.
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She Sang Promise: the Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader

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By: Jan Godown Annino
Illustrated by: Lisa Desimini
Description: Bio celebrating Betty Mae Jumper, who in 1967 became the 1st woman elected a Seminole Tribal leader. Shares her later life and Seminole life and customs.
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Shoebox Sam

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By: Mary Bridgid Barrett
Illustrated by: Frank Morrison
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Shoebox Sam is an older man who lives above his shop--he has paying customers, but also gives away shoes, socks and food. Delia and Jesse visit on Saturdays to help, and learn about giving and sharing.
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Silly Frilly Grandma Tillie

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By: Laurie Jacobs
Illustrated by: Anne Jewett
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Gelett Burgess award winner for multi-generational family. Creativity highlighted.
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Sitti’s Secrets

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By: Naomi Shibab Nye
Illustrated by: Nancy Carpenter
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Young Mona lives in America with her parents and her grandmother, her Sitti, lives far away in the Mid East. Mona cannot speak her grandmother’s language and Sitti cannot speak hers, but their connection grows loving and strong Multi-cultural (Am., Palestinian), language differences, appearances
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Song and Dance Man

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By: Karen Ackerman
Description: Grandparents, families, Caldecott Medalist Three children spend the day in their grandfather’s attic, enjoying his tap dancing and memories of vaudeville in this Caldecott Medal winning book. Out of print.
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Take Me Out to the Ball Game

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By: Maryann Kovalski
Description: Grandparents, baseball, family outings In this familiar sing-along, Grandma has as much fun as her sports-loving granddaughters at a big league baseball stadium.
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Tapicero Tap Tap

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By: Waribe' Aska
Description: Grandpa is called Tapicero Tap Tap due to the tap tap of this hammer as he builds furniture in his shop. He shares youthful dreams of travel--unrealized, with his grandsons. And also his satisfaction with community, fiestas and bullfights.
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The Teacher Who Would Not Retire

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By: Sheila Sustrin, Letty Sustrin
Illustrated by: Thomas H. Bone III
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: First in a series about a dedicated teacher; forced, but active retirement; ongoing involvement with first grade classroom and kids. The School Rules force Mrs. Belle into reluctant retirement, but rather than stay home and rest she dons creative disguises to slip back into the school. A is for Aging book review below includes 3 sequels in the series.
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The Thanksgiving Door

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By: Debby Atwell
Description: New immigrants from Eastern Europe prepare their first Thanksgiving dinner in America. They welcome two strangers to their private celebration when they show up at the door to their cafe.
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These Hands

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By: Margaret H. Mason
Illustrated by: Floyd Cooper
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Activism, stories, skills, racism, legacy. An African-American grandfather teaches skills to his young grandson while sharing anecdotes of his past. He tells of not being allowed to touch the bread dough or bake the bread at the Wonder Bread factory because of his skin color.
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Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything

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By: Maira Kalman
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: Non-fiction picture book bio of Thomas Jefferson.
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Tia’s Tamales

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By: Ana Baca
Illustrated by: Noel Chilton
Description: Grandmother, Abuelita, tells Luz the story of how her great-grandfather learned to make tamales. The message "sometimes you have to make something out of nothing" is shared. Tamale recipe included. Text in English & Spanish.
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Time to Pray

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By: Maha Addasi
Illustrated by: Ned Gannon
Description: Yasmin visits Grandmother in the Middle East and is awakened by the muezzin at the Mosque calling the faithful to prayer. Grandmother teaches her the five prayers Muslims perform daily & gives her a special gift when she leaves.
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Tortillas and Lullabies/Tortillas y Cancioncitas

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By: Lynn Reiser
Description: Traditions are passed on through four generations in this celebration of food, family, and affection. Diversity/multi-cultural, Families, traditions – intergenerational, family stories, bilingual – Spanish/English
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Under the Same Sun

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By: Sharon Robinson
Illustrated by: A.G. Ford
Description: The daughter of baseball great Jackie Robinson shares an inspirational story about her family. Auntie Sharon and Grandmother Bibi have come to visit the family in Tanzania -- all the way from America! They tell stories and fill gaps from the years spent apart, enjoy a breathtaking safari in Serengeti National Park, and learn about their ancestors at the ruins of an old slave port. (Descrip from publisher)
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The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps

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By: Jeanette Winters
Illustrated by: Jeanette Winters
Read A is for Aging Book Review
Description: NF picture book bio of Jane Goodall, famed primatologist and activist. Older role model, activism, environment.
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