The Simple Joys of Grandparenting, written by Abigail R. Gehring and introduced and illustrated by her mother, Martha M. Gehring,ð is a treasure trove of stories and nursery rhymes, as well as games, crafts and recipes to fill visits to grandparents’ house and grandchildren’s hearts with joyful forever-memories.

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Between the earth and sky above

Nothing can match a grandparent’s love

I hope you have happy memories of your grandparents, as I do. I recall Grandpa telling stories and bouncing me on his knee-horsey, and Grandma letting me help make cookies and lick the bowl when she made a cake or frosting. I remember the divine aromas in her kitchen, and our tea parties. She served tea in hand-painted china demitasse cups, and let me lift a sugar cube with silver tongs to drop gently into my cup. (I made sure I had demitasse cups and sugar tongs by the time my first grandchild arrived.)

One of my pleasantest memories is of Grandma Petersen singing a Danish song while rubbing feeling back into my numb fingers on cold days. There was often a box under the stove (which was up on legs) in which lay a mama cat and her kittens, or baby chicks, keeping warm. Grandpa let me watch when he sat on a squat three-legged stool to milk the cows, and squirted milk into cats’ mouths.

Grandma and Grandpa always seemed to have time for me, or included me in whatever they were doing. They seemed to find my tales and questions fascinating, so I always had willing listeners. They gave me the memories that warm my heart to this day.

The Simple Joys of Grandparenting is not a workbook or guide to successful grandparenting. It is a “playbook” — a tool kit for joyful grandparenting. It will assist you in sharing your own childhood memories as you create new ones for your grandchildren.

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What’s in The Simple Joys of Grandparenting:

  • It starts with Stories and Nursery Rhymes, for instance: Baa Baa Black Sheep, and The Elves and the Shoemaker. A raft of familiar traditional stories and rhymes such as these are included.
  • The next section is Crafts, such as making a simple birdhouse, and creating puppets out of socks.
  • Following is a section on Games and Activities, e.g: “Bookworm” to keep track of the books each child has read, or “Scavenger Hunt” – for both Indoors and Outdoors.
  • Next is kid-friendly Recipes, e.g: homemade marshmallows; popcorn balls, etc.
  • Then there’s the “Records” section, in which the Family Tree waits to be filled in; a Treasure Map on which to mark ancestors’ origins; and Important Dates and Facts.
  • The last section in the book is called “A Grandparents’ Journal,” which starts with “Conversation Time.” It encourages grandparents to sit down with a grandchild and talk, answering such questions as, “My earliest memory is . . .” first the grandparent and then the child. The final bit in the grandparents’ journal is “Favorite quotes from the Grandkids,” so they won’t be forgotten.
  • Sprinkled throughout the book are quotes, such as, “Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting;” and “A grandfather is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart.”

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The Simple Joys of Grandparenting is the perfect gift for a new or about-to-be grandparent. It’s also a gift for the child, since it’s a record of his or her childhood and family, so I’d get one for each grandchild. It’s that important, and that gorgeous. Initially, it’s for the very young child, but it “grows” with him or her throughout childhood.

It comes in both print and digital (eBook). I strongly urge you to get a print copy, hard cover. You will treasure it and want to pass it down in physical form. That way your grandchild will cherish it always.

The Simple Joys of Grandparenting is one of the most delightful finds I’ve come across in a very long time and I heartily recommend it for all grandparents of young children.


ð with additional illustrations by Kate Greenaway, Beatrix Potter, and others.