Although we might not be happy to be back in a national lockdown, it does give us a great excuse to find out about Spanish author and illustrator Marta Altés, and her lovely book My Grandpa. Watch a reading of the story and then enjoy some creative activities. You can sign up to our newsletter at the bottom of the page, or follow us on twitter @ChildrensBkShow. Our activities should appeal to all kinds of readers, writers and artists, so everyone can get involved.
Book of the Week: My Grandpa
A beautiful story about the very special relationship between a child and his grandfather. This unique look at old age through the eyes of a young bear is big-hearted, poignant and beautifully observed.
Find out what inspired Marta to write My Grandpa, as well as how she went about writing the story and drawing the pictures here.
Author in focus
Marta Altés is a Spanish award-winning creator of many picture books. She studied graphic design in Barcelona and then an MA in Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art where she now teaches. Her picture book My Grandpa won the Jack Ezra Keats New Illustrator Honour in the USA. Marta has also won the Read it Again! Award and three Kate Greenaway Medal nominations. Her latest book is New in Town and is published by Macmillan Children’s Books.
Watch a reading of My Grandpa
Send a hug in an envelope
In Marta’s story, Grandpa feels unhappy when he is alone, until his grandchild visits him, which cheers him up, especially when he gets a hug.
During the Lockdown, we understand how difficult it is to not be able to see or hug loved ones such as grandparents, and we know that they really miss seeing and hugging us too! We hope that life will soon return to normal but, in the meantime, send a hug in an envelope to someone you love, and brighten their day!
You will need:
2 A4 sheets of card or paper – any colour
Take one sheet of paper/card and fold the two edges inwards, so they meet in the middle.
Take the other sheet and fold it in half. Place your hand on the paper and draw around it.
With the paper still folded, cut around the outline of your hand. You should now have two paper hands.
Open the folded card and stick one hand on each side. Draw yourself in the middle (or use a photograph), then draw really long arms to join up to the paper hands.
Finally, write a special message or poem to accompany your hug.
Travel the world!
Together, Grandpa and Grandchild travel the world, all from the comfort of their own living room! Plan your own virtual journey using a world map. Find out some basic facts about each country. Use these questions to direct your research.
What language is spoken?
What is their national flag?
What foods are typically eaten?
How do you say ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’?
What currency is used?
Do they wear a traditional costume?
Which famous landmarks do they have?
Are there any cultural traditions followed?
Before you embark on your virtual journey, pack a bag with the essential items you might need in each country. Choose a different country for each room in your house and decorate with drawings and photos from your research.
‘Fly’ or ‘sail’, between each room and describe what you see there. Remember to say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye' to the (imaginary) people you meet. Maybe you could sample some of the national dishes while you are there?
Looking for other books about grandparents?
Here is a list of some of our favourite books that focus on grandparents:
Harris Finds His Feet by Catherine Rayner
Where Is Grandma? by Peter Schossow
The Exiles by Hilary McKay
My Two Grannies written by Floella Benjamin and illustrated by Margaret Chamberlain
My Two Grandads written by Floella Benjamin and illustrated by Margaret Chamberlain
Grandpa’s Angel by Jutta Bauer
Can You Whistle, Johanna? written by Ulf Stark and illustrated by Anna Höglund
The Runaways written by Ulf Stark and illustrated by Anna Höglund
Up The Mountain by Marianne Dubuc
Azzi In Between by Sarah Garland
Last Stop On Market Street written by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson
Grandad’s Secret Giant by David Litchfield
We’d love to see your hugs in an envelope and pictures of your travels around the world. To send us your work to display in our gallery use the link below, or upload to twitter with the hashtag #BookshowAtHome.