25 Books from 25 Years: Grandfather Counts

Lee_Low_25th_Anniversary_Poster_2_LEE & LOW BOOKS celebrates its 25th anniversary this year and to recognize how far the company has come, we are featuring one title a week to see how it is being used in classrooms today!

Today we’re featuring Grandfather Counts by Andrea Cheng and illustrated by Ange Zheng, released in 2003 by LEE & LOW BOOKS:

Grandfather Counts

About the Book: Grandfather Counts is a moving intergenerational story about the universal love between grandparent and grandchild, a love that bridges linguistic and cultural differences. In Grandfather Counts, Helen is excited to welcome her Gong Gong (grandfather), who comes from China to live with her family. But when she realizes that Gong Gong speaks only Chinese, Helen finds a special way to communicate.

Awards and Honors:

  • Reading Rainbow Selection, PBS Kids
  • Choices, Cooperative Children’s Book Center
  • Honor Book Award, Society ofSchool Librarians International
  • Parents’ Choice Noteworthy Product, Parents’ Choice Foundation

In the Author’s Own Words:

“Intergenerational stories come easily to me.  When I was a child, three of my grandparents lived either in our house or within walking distance.  I spent a lot of time with my paternal grandmother, and I think she is the model for many of the grandmothers in my stories.  When my husband and I had children, I could not imagine raising them far from their grandparents, so we moved from Ithaca, New York to Cincinnati where my parents were living.  My father died in 1997, but our children see my mother almost every day, and they spent a lot of time running back and forth between her house and ours when they were younger. Contact between generations is very important to me and seems to find its way into most of my stories.”
–(from an interview with Paper Tigers)

Note: Andrea Cheng passed away in late 2015. We remember her here.

Resources for Teaching With Grandfather Counts:

Book Activity:
Use Grandfather Counts as an opportunity to celebrate the range of languages that students may speak at home. Ask students who are fluent in other languages to share with the class how to count in their languages.

Encourage older students to gather oral histories from grandparents or other relatives for an oral history project.

Did you know?
If you look at the illustrations, you’ll notice that Grandfather Counts features a biracial main character. See all of our books featuring biracial and multiracial main characters.

Purchase Grandfather Counts here.

Other Recommended Picture Books Celebrating Grandparents:

A Morning With Grandpa

A Morning with Grandpa by Sylvia Liu, illus. by Christina Forshay

Seaside Dream

Seaside Dream by Janet Costa Bates, illus. by Lambert Davis

Sunday Shopping

Sunday Shopping by Sally Derby, illus. by Shadra Strickland

Have you used Grandfather Counts? Let us know!

Celebrate with us! Check out our 25 Years Anniversary Collection.

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