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Books with Positive Portrayals of Older Characters: for Kids 6-9 Years Old

Books introduce children to all kinds of people they might not otherwise encounter. In this collection, young readers will meet older individuals, many of them grandparents.

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

A Picnic in October

By: Eve Bunting
Illustrated by: Nancy Carpenter
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Tony is not looking forward to his family's annual picnic at Liberty Island in October. Nevertheless, his grandmother insists that they maintain the tradition of celebrating her birthday with Lady Liberty. At first it doesn't seem like much fun — until Tony finally begins to understand why the Statue of Liberty means so much to his grandmother. Lovely colorful acrylic paintings bring this special tribute to life.

Big Moon Tortilla

By: Joy Cowley
Illustrated by: Dyanne Strongbow
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When Marta ruins her homework and breaks her glasses, Grandmother soothes her with an ancient story and one of her delicious tortillas. Set on the Papago reservation in southern Arizona, watercolor illustrations bring the desert setting and characters to life.

Bremen Town Musician

By: Jacob Grimm
Illustrated by: Lizbeth Zwerger
Genre: Fiction, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This is the classic tale of four beleaguered animals—a donkey who can no longer work, a hound who can no longer hunt, a cat who’s too old to chase mice, and a rooster who’s scheduled to become dinner—who decide to run off to be musicians in the town of Bremen. But they get more than they bargained for when they stumble upon a frightful gang of robbers.

Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like

By: Joanna P. Williams
Illustrated by: Mercer Mayer
Genre: Fiction, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When a small, fat and bald old man announces he is a dragon, offering to defend the city of Wu against impending attack, everyone laughs at him but one young boy.

Family Pictures

By: Carmen Garza
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The artist recalls growing up in south Texas in this celebration of family and cultural traditions presented in vivid paintings and short prose in Spanish and English. Garza's pride in her Mexican-American heritage is evident and celebrated in this handsome book.

Fishing with Dad

By: Michael Rosen
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A young man relives the pleasure of his childhood experiences while on a fishing trip with his son and father.

Grandfather's Journey

By: Allen Say
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Say narrates the saga of his grandfather who as a young man travels to the United States in the early 20th century, marries, and returns to Japan. Watercolor portraits of people and places glimpse the contrast of cultures and parallel the lives of grandfather and grandson. It could lead to a discovery of family histories. Country of origin: Japan

Grandpa's Face

By: Eloise Greenfield
Illustrated by: Floyd Cooper
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Tamika loves everything about her grandpa, especially his expressive face. But one day, when Tamika watches Grandpa rehearsing for a play, she sees a different face, one she has never seen before.

Gugu's House

By: Catherine Stock
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Set in Zimbabwe, Kukamba leaves the city to visit her grandmother, Gugu, in her small village. Gugu has painted her home with vivid colors and patterns, and has sculpted many animals including a larger-than-life zebra. She is an artist and she shares her secrets of mixing the colors for paint. The rains come and the village is overjoyed. Kukamba is upset because the paintings and sculptures have all washed away, but Gugu shows her that nature has emerged with her own colors after the rain.

Gus and Grandpa and Show-and-Tell

By: Claudia Mills
Illustrated by: Catherine Stock
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Gus despairs of coming up with something interesting and impressive for his second grade class' show-and-tell, until he gets a great idea while visiting his Grandpa. Gus and his wise grandfather share each other's company and experiences in other books including basketball jitters and Halloween fears.

Lola and the Rent-a-Cat

By: Ceseli Josephus Jitta
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

After her husband's death, an old woman finds friendship when she rents an older cat via the Internet. A charming and quirky take on the sensitive subjects of bereavement and care of the elderly.

Miss Rumphius

By: Barbara Cooney
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Miss Rumphius leaves the world more beautiful with an unusual legacy. This gentle story can relate to not only the language arts, but to dreams, legacies, and the environment.

Miz Berlin Walks

By: Jane Yolen
Illustrated by: Floyd Cooper
Genre: Fiction, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Miz Berlin tells wonderful stories about how she caught crawdaddies the day the sky rained feathers or about the day the flood rose right to her front door as she and young Mary Alice walk together around the block.

Mr. Putter and Tabby Toot the Horn

By: Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by: Arthur Howard
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent 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 and Tabby Paints the Porch; here the help Mr. Putter gets from his animal friends makes painting his front porch a challenge.

Mrs. Katz and Tush

By: Patricia Polacco
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

In this special Passover story, Larnel Moore, a young African-American boy, and Mrs. Katz, an elderly Jewish woman, develop an unusual friendship through their mutual concern for an abandoned cat named Tush. Together they explore the common themes of suffering and triumph in each of their cultures.

My Great-Aunt Arizona

By: Gloria Houston
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Arizona Houston Hughes, an Appalachian girl who dreams of seeing the world, grows up to become a teacher who inspires generations of schoolchildren.

Mystery Bottle

By: Kristen Balouch
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A map from a mysterious bottle magically transports a Brooklyn boy to share tea and talk with his grandfather in the Middle East.

Orani: My Father's Village

By: Claire Nivola
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The author recalls childhood visits to Orani, her father's island homeland, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea where old and young alike enjoy Sardinia’s beauty and activities.

River of Words

By: Jen Bryant
Illustrated by: Melissa Sweet
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, Poetry
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Though he practiced medicine, William Carlos Williams never stopped writing poetry. This picture book biography celebrates the amazing man who found a way to earn a living and to honor his calling to be a poet.

The Patchwork Quilt

By: Valerie Flournoy
Illustrated by: Jerry Pinkney
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When Tanya's much loved grandmother becomes ill, Tanya inspires the entire family to help her finish the quilt — and the family history it reveals. This warm story is lovingly told with sensitive, beautiful watercolor illustrations.

The Piano

By: William Miller
Illustrated by: Susan Keeter
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A young girl's love for music leads her to a job in the home of an older woman who teaches her not only to play the piano but also to care for others.

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