Resources — Books (Children, Ages 3 to 8)
An old Japanese farmer from long ago is the wealthiest man in his seaside village because he has the largest rice fields. His thatched cottage is high up the mountainside, above the rest of the village. Yet he doesn’t flaunt his wealth. The 400 other villagers respect him and have nicknamed him Ojiisan (Japanese for grandfather); they often seek his advice.
The Story of the Milky Way: A Cherokee Tale
In this retelling of a Cherokee creation story, an old couple discovers that someone has stolen cornmeal from the storage basket behind their house. Cornmeal keeps the people from starving during the winter, so this is not a trivial loss. The next night, their young grandson spies to catch the thief and is astonished to see a huge, eerily glowing dog push aside the lid with its nose, eat more cornmeal and dash away.
The Old Woman Who Named Things
Now that all her friends have died, an old woman likes to name only those things that she knows will outlive her, such as her house, her car and her big red chair. However, she doesn’t name the stray dog that she feeds at her gate every day, until he doesn’t show up, and she realizes how much she misses him. She goes to find him, names him and brings him home for keeps.
Nicky, who looks about 8 or 9, thinks he will be bored and lonely when he must spend the summer alone with his grandmother in her rustic cottage in the woods. He gradually changes his mind, though, when she introduces him to rafting on the river and appreciating the wildlife that seems mysteriously attracted to the raft.
The Old Woman and the Wave
An old woman has lived all her life in a cottage with a huge wave curled over it. Her roof is covered with a cluster of umbrellas to stop the drips. The wave actually loves the old woman, but she only bellows at it, scolding it for clumsiness when it splatters her or tosses fish to her. A passing traveler suggests that the wave could carry someone a long distance, but the old woman ignores this until her dog swims to the top of the wave. When she rows her little boat up to rescue the dog, she realizes how foolish she has been and learns to ride the wave instead of resenting it.
The Orphan Boy
This Maasai tale from Africa is about a magical secret that will be ruined if found out—and the consuming curiosity to discover it anyway. An old man knows the stars so well that he notices when one is missing. That same night, a young boy appears before him, saying he’s an orphan named Kileken who has traveled very far, searching for a home. The childless old man is delighted to adopt him.
In his second Caldecott Honor book, Smith tells an intergenerational tale of a young boy traveling through the garden that is his great-grandfather’s life. The boy winds through the topiaries, picking up forgetful Grandpa Green’s dropped tools, and his memories, too. The simplicity of the child’s understanding of Grandpa Green’s multilayered life is deepened by poignant illustrations, simultaneously whimsical and realistic in black, white and many shades of green.
Aunt Flossie’s Hats (and Crab Cakes Later)
Two young African American sisters love to visit their great-great-aunt Flossie and her hundreds of hats. Each hat holds a vivid Baltimore memory—the 1904 fire, the parade at the end of World War I—and the girls are fascinated as Aunt Flossie tells the stories.
Darcy and Gran Don’t Like Babies
Young Darcy doesn’t like her new baby brother, especially the way he monopolizes her parents’ time and attention. She confides in several adults, but nobody takes her seriously—until Gran comes to visit and matter-of-factly tells Darcy that she has never liked babies either.
Gus and Grandpa series
This endearing large-print series for beginning readers celebrates the special relationship between Gus and his grandfather. In the first book, Gus turns 7 and Grandpa turns 70. Grandpa’s thick white hair and mustache are snowy white, and he wears glasses. He loves listening to opera, and he has a lively dog. He’s good with his hands and can make wooden mailboxes and delicious Christmas cookies. Grandpa has a shed full of fascinating old junk, which Gus loves, but his parents don’t.
Elzibah Swan is a very proper widow who has lived in the same Boston house all her life, with a cook and a chauffeur. She has a well-established routine: library, book club, garden club, symphony. Then, shortly after a visit from her Chicago grandchildren, she discovers a spirit of independence on her 75th birthday.
The Chicken Salad Club
Third-grader Nathaniel has a great-grandfather, Greatpaw, who is a century old. Greatpaw enjoys making chicken salad sandwiches and telling exciting stories about his past, which Nathaniel loves to hear. When Greatpaw becomes discouraged because he can’t find other storytellers his age with whom to swap stories, Nathaniel helps him find one—a 99-year-old woman named Sadie with an equally adventurous past—and the pair entertain not only each other but also Nathaniel and the rest of the neighborhood children.
The Hello, Goodbye Window
A preschool-age girl explains that she has named her grandparents’ cheery kitchen window the Hello, Goodbye Window because it’s where everyone says hello and goodbye. The window is where she first waves or knocks hello when she arrives. It’s where she, Nanna and Poppy gaze at the stars, assess the morning’s weather and first notice any visitors, from the pizza delivery person to (hypothetically) the queen of England. (Nanna says it’s a magic window, so you never know!) When her parents return to take the girl home, she’s glad to see them but also sad to say goodbye to Nanna and Poppy. The girl and her parents all stop outside the window to blow goodbye kisses.
The Old Man and His Door
This entertaining story is based on a Mexican song claiming that, to an old man, there’s no difference between la puerta (the door) and el puerco (the pig). This plump, white-haired man in his farmer’s overalls is a fine gardener who doesn’t listen carefully enough to his wife. (One can see why not; she’s rather bossy.) When she leaves for a neighbor’s barbecue, she tells him not to be late and to bring the pig. However, he’s in the middle of washing the dog, so she leaves first. Later he’s puzzled by why she wants him to bring a door, but he unscrews the front door and brings it anyway. The grinning pig watches him leave and looks happy not to be on the menu.
The Silver Century Foundation promotes a positive view of aging. The Foundation challenges entrenched and harmful stereotypes, encourages dialogue between generations, advocates planning for the second half of life, and raises awareness to educate and inspire everyone to live long, healthy, empowered lives.
"It is not by muscle, speed, or physical dexterity that great things are achieved, but by reflection, force of character, and judgment; in these qualities old age is usually not poorer, but is even richer."
Cicero (106-43 BC)