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Where is Grandpa?_

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Author: T.A. Barron
Illustrator: Chris Soentpiet
Editor: Patricia Lee Gauch

Gr PreK-3/Ages 4+
32 pages/picture book
8.77" X 11.37"

ISBN # 0-399-23037-8
$15.99 US
$22.99 CAN

ISBN # 0-698-11904-5
paperback by Puffin Books
$6.99 US

$9.99 CAN

Philomel Books imprint of:
Penguin Putnam Books
345 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
(800) 526-0275

here is Grandpa? This question haunts a young boy on the day his grandpa dies. Grandpa had been so richly present in so many places--at the tree house, at the waterfall, at the door ready to carve pumpkins. It's hard to imagine life without him. Yet now he seems very far away indeed.

As the boy remembers Grandpa with his family, he discovers a surprising answer: Grandpa, perhaps, is closer to home than anyone ever realized. In this deeply moving tale, the poetic words of T. A. Barron and the luminous illustrations of Chris K. Soentpiet remind us all that a family's sorrow can be shared--and that even in the greatest loss, love can still be found.

  • Oppenheim Toy Portfolio: Gold Award Winner 2000
  • Maryland Children's Book Award Nominee 2001
  • Texas Bluebonnet Award-Nominee 2000

Experiencing the beauty of Aspen, Colorado for the first time gave me so much inspiration for the illustrations.  I wanted to capture the clean air, the sound of the wind, the trees and the river over the rocks.  The story of WHERE IS GRANDPA is very poignant and it tells of a boy who recalls spending time with his beloved grandfather. It is written by TA Barron and the subject of death is not an easy subject to write about however the author does it with such sensitivity and warmth which helps the readers feel at peace with their own personal loss. -Chris Soentpiet

T.A. Barron grew up in Colorado ranch country, traveled widely as a Rhodes Scholar, managed a successful venture capital business in New York, and then changed careers to become a full-time writer and conservationist. His passion for the wonders of nature, his deep concern for humanity and our fragile planet, and his belief in the heroic potential of every person, radiate through his books—many of which are international bestsellers.


"Here is a poignant, touching, and spiritually evocative tale. I heartily recommend it to families everywhere."
(-Robert Coles, M.D.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Children of Crisis and The Spiritual Life of Children)

"Barron makes a heartfelt tribute to a deceased loved one in his picture-book debut, which is given stirring visual expression in Soentpiet's dazzling, crystal-clear mountain landscapes."- (Kirkus Reviews)

Barron's (The Lost Years of Merlin) debut picture book, which the flap copy describes as autobiographical, offers a humanist response to death and grieving. On the day that Grandpa dies, a boy listens as his sister, brother and parents share memories of this generous, dynamic man. But he can't bring himself to join in, despite his own fond memories of spending time with Grandpa in the tree house Grandpa had built overlooking the Rockies. At last, the boy asks, "Can anybody tell me... Where is Grandpa now?" Fumbling for a definition of heaven, the father concludes, "Maybe you could say that heaven is any place where people who love each other have shared some time together." Kids may need some help fleshing out this concept, even as the child recalls the wonderful spots he and Grandpa had visited together. Thinking of his grandfather "in all of those places" frees the boy to return to them and, presumably, to carry on with a life that Grandpa has greatly enriched. Depicting stagily lit daytime scenes, electrically hued sunsets and starry nights, Soentpiet's (More Than Anything Else) watercolor tableaux amplify--and perhaps exaggerate--both the natural theater of the majestic mountain setting and the human drama of Barron's graceful story. A useful springboard for dialogue between bereaved adults and children. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
-(Publishers Weekly)

"The universality of the response to the child's query of 'Where Is Grandpa?' makes this book appropriate for people of all belief systems. The staff within our hospice program has found this to be a most valuable aid in helping children understand and find peace in the loss of a loved one. I only wish that such a book had been available when my children were struggling with the death of their dear grandmother."
-(Connie Holden, Executive Director Hospice of Boulder County)

The day Grandpa dies, the two brothers and sister try to help their father face his father's death. The mother begins by remembering the day she met him, and how comfortable she was with him. The older children take turns talking about Grandpa, remembering the good times, until it's the young narrator's turn. He doesn't really feel like talking, and claims not to remember the wonderful things he and Grandpa did together. What he wants to know is, "Where is Grandpa now?" The father says "heaven," but that's not quite enough for the child. He needs a more detailed explanation, and somehow the father manages to overcome his own grief and give a lovely description of "any place where people who love each other have shared some time together." The child lists all the places he and Grandpa have been, and concludes that yes, that's a good idea. The father and son almost smile, and begin to heal. A touching story, with beautiful illustrations, appropriate for any family. No religious restrictions apply. A gentle way to help a family remember a dearly loved grandfather.
Children's Literature)




Theme: WHERE IS GRANDPA can be used to introduce your students to multigenerational families, parents who have lost their parents or losing a grandparent. Pre-reading: Show the students the cover of the book, read the title, author and illustrators name. Ask them what they think the book will be about.

Reading: As you read and show the illustrations have the students look closely at the drawings. What details can they find in the pictures? Have them look closely at the expressions on the faces for the characters -- how do they change during the story. Ask the students how they think the characters are feeling. Can they tell by the illustrations? Connecting Generations: Want to get closer to another generation? Kids can interview grandparents or "grand friends" 50 or older about their hopes and goals in life-how they pursued them and overcame obstacles-or how their dreams changed as they got older.

Interview: Talk with someone who lost a loved one -write their story of how they spent time together.

Literature: Read a book about grief and grandparents. SAD ISN'T BAD by Michaelene Mundy, WHAT ON EARTH DO YOU DO WHEN SOMEONE DIES by Trevor Romain, My GRANDMA'S ANGELS by Leah Beck. Look for other books by T.A. Barron and and Chris Soentpiet. If you really enjoyed WHERE IS GRANDPA write a review and post it on-line at or so others can enjoy your reading experience.


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