Passing on a Legacy: 4 Stories Featuring Child-Grandparent Relationships

Storytelling plays an integral part in history, specifically Black History. It is the way by which African Americans, from the the days of slavery, passed on their history from generation to generation. One of the ways by which African Americans did this was through music. 

One of the things I love about our book selections this month is the discovery of a common thread that runs in 3 out of the 4 books. I just love when a theme develops organically based on the book selections!  At the center of the stories in these books is a special grandparent-grandchild relationship. Each of these books explores the passage of legacy through music – Our Nest Jr. book tells a lovely story of this special familial relationship within the context of jazz and our Nest book does the same within the context of blues. Lastly, our Soar book takes a different approach – it showcases this relationship while weaving in hip-hop culture and outer space in an interesting manner. While our Hatch book does not have a grandparent-grandchild relationship at its center, it is storytelling at its best – a little bit of history in the form of beautiful images and lyrical text for the youngest amongst us.

Sign up for our February Box to get a little bit of this story telling magic!

In the meantime, here are 4 more stories featuring the beauty of child to grandparent relationships.

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, Christian Robinson (Illustrator)

Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.

This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the wonderful perspective only grandparent and grandchild can share, and comes to life through Matt de la Pena’s vibrant text and Christian Robinson’s radiant illustrations.

Great for Hatch readers.

When Grandmama Singsby Margaree King Mitchell, James Ransome (Illustrator)

When Grandmama Coles gets a big chance, Belle gets one, too. Belle’s going to spend the summer touring the South with Grandmama and a swing jazz band! Belle’s never been outside Pecan Flats, Mississippi, and she can’t wait to go on the road with Grandmama, helping her read signs and menus and hearing her sing. There are so many new things to see on their travels through the Deep South. But some things aren’t new. Everything is segregated, just like at home. But Grandmama stands up for what’s right. And when she sings, Belle knows that Grandmama’s song can bring everyone together.

 From Margaree King Mitchell and James E. Ransome, the award-winning author and artist of Uncle Jed’s Barbershop, comes this new picture-book collaboration about the gift of love, the beauty of music, and its power to bring people together—even in the segregated South.

Perfect for Nest Jr. readers.

As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds

When two brothers decide to prove how brave they are, everything backfires—literally—in this “pitch-perfect contemporary novel” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) by the winner of the Coretta Scott King – John Steptoe Award.

Genie’s summer is full of surprises. The first is that he and his big brother, Ernie, are leaving Brooklyn for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents all the way in Virginia—in the COUNTRY! The second surprise comes when Genie figures out that their grandfather is blind. Thunderstruck, Genie peppers Grandpop with questions about how he hides it so well (besides wearing way cool Ray-Bans).

How does he match his clothes? Know where to walk? Cook with a gas stove? Pour a glass of sweet tea without spilling it? Genie thinks Grandpop must be the bravest guy he’s ever known, but he starts to notice that his grandfather never leaves the house—as in NEVER. And when he finds the secret room that Grandpop is always disappearing into—a room so full of songbirds and plants that it’s almost as if it’s been pulled inside-out—he begins to wonder if his grandfather is really so brave after all.

Then Ernie lets him down in the bravery department. It’s his fourteenth birthday, and, Grandpop says to become a man, you have to learn how to shoot a gun. Genie thinks that is AWESOME until he realizes Ernie has no interest in learning how to shoot. None. Nada. Dumbfounded by Ernie’s reluctance, Genie is left to wonder—is bravery and becoming a man only about proving something, or is it just as important to own up to what you won’t do?

Great for Nest readers.

Black, White, Other: In Search of Nina Armstrongby Joan Steinau Lester

As a biracial teen, Nina is accustomed to a life of varied hues—mocha-colored skin, ringed brown hair streaked with red, a darker brother, a black father, a white mother. When her parents decide to divorce, the rainbow of Nina’s existence is reduced to a much starker reality. Shifting definitions and relationships are playing out all around her, and new boxes and lines seem to be getting drawn every day. Between the fractures within her family and the racial tensions splintering her hometown, Nina feels caught in a perpetual battle. Feeling stranded in the nowhere land between racial boundaries, and struggling for personal independence and identity, Nina turns to the story of her great-great-grandmother’s escape from slavery. Is there direction in the tale of her ancestor? Can Nina build her own compass when landmarks from her childhood stop guiding the way?

Excellent for more advanced Soar readers.