Grandpa Green Written and Illustrated by Lane Smith

One of this month’s staff picks is an American Library Association Youth Media Award winner for this year.  “Grandpa Green” illustrated and written by Lane Smith, and published by Roaring Brook Press, is also a Randolf Caldecott Award winning book for being a most distinguished illustrated children’s book. It’s also the recipient of  the New York Times Best Illustrated Book award, as well as the Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book award. 
There are at least a half dozen more awards, as well. As an author, Smith isn’t what you’d typically think of when you conjure images of a kids writer, since we like to think of them as people who write children’s books that have a sense of purity, or innocence. Usually his writing style is kidlit satire. 
Take his infamous, “It’s a Book” story, which the author himself refers to as, “a book about a book, a pirate-loving monkey, a jackass of a jackass” on the Curious Pages blog about deliciously “inappropriate” books for kids. Contrast the usual Smith fare with “Grandpa Green” and its apparent that it doesn’t fall into the clever-but-a-bit-snarky-around-the-edges category. With so many accolades behind “Grandpa Green” it can be easy to lose the essence of the story itself. 
But, children won’t.
And, that’s a good thing considering our reasoning behind choosing “Grandpa Green” since we firmly believe every kid, and grandparent needs to spend a few minutes musing over its ethereal pages. Using a soothing neutral green palate, this little gem of a children’s book spins the tale of Grandpa Green, through the eyes of his grandson. It’s beautiful tale has the pastoral essence of “The Secret Garden” woven with a touch of “The Giving Tree.”
It touches on aging, love and the connection of family relationships over generations without being overly sentimental. The tale is enrapturing and is a high mark for Smith in terms of writing the quintessential “what is it all about” books. Smith is one of those rarely gifted tale-tellers who can teach without being pedantic, and can reach audiences with subtle humor that doesn’t beat them over the head to make a point. “Grandpa Green” is a lovely book and any children’s library just isn’t complete without it.