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Grandma's Window

NEW August 4, 2023

By Janet Halfmann

Illustrated by Christy Tortland

Brandylane Publishers

Ages 5-9, Fiction Picture Book: hardcover & softcover

Buy at Bookshop, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers

Press Kit at Brandylane Publishing






The Story

Grandma's Window is a celebration of kindness and empathy between the young and the elderly.

Every day on the bus to school new student Mateo stares out the window, wishing he had a friend to talk with . . . until he spots something surprising in an apartment window—an older woman smiling and waving to the bus!

For the next few weeks, Mateo and the other kids wave to the smiling lady they lovingly nickname "Grandma," and she always waves back. But one day, Grandma is missing from her window, and she's not there the next day, either. The kids work together to find Grandma and make sure she's safe and happy.

Grandma's Window is a story of friendship and kindness that shows, no matter how young or old you are, the best way to find joy is to give it to others.

My Inspiration

I got the inspiration for this story from a real-life news story about kids and their special "waving grandma" in Washington State. The grandma waved to the kids on the school bus every day for five years, and they waved back. When the elderly woman had to spend time in a rehab center, the kids and their bus driver planned something special for her. They took a big photo of the bus with all the kids waving so she'd have something to look at while she recovered. On the day she returned home, the kids and bus driver greeted her with a WELCOME HOME sign, plus lots of cheerng and horn honking!

Educational Connections

empathy, compassion, caring, kindness, new school, loneliness




"This heart-warming story shows what can happen when people of any age reach out to each other. Spirits are lifted, people are included, stories are shared. The simple act of waving at someone who waves back sets off a chain of caring among age-mates and generations. The goodwill and creativity young Mateo uses to connect his schoolmates to Grandma will inspire readers and their families."

--Jane Heitman Healy, retired librarian

"Grandma's Window shines a light on the ageless ache of feeling lonely and the power of kind reactions like empathy and concern. Connections cross window glass and distance, bridged by caring children and helpful adults. Entertaining and uplifting."

--Sandy Brehl, children's author, reviewer, and retired elementary teacher

"This heartfelt story shares the reality of loneliness in the aging community. It also shows how a simple act of kindness can change the perspective of a child. Readers can view this story as a call to action to offer friendship and kindness to anyone they see alone."

--Kristi Bernard, writer, and book reviewer at Kristi's Book Nook

"Mateo is lonely as he looks out the bus window. He notices Grandma waving each day and he waves back! Can a simple gesture such as waving out the window help him make new friends? What happens when Grandma is no long waving at her window? Mateo discovers how smiling faces and waving hands can change a life. The illustrations portray a diverse community of school friends who help an elderly person feel less lonely. This important intergenerational story will inspire young people to care for others."

--Susan Apps-Bodily, retired elementary educator and author of One Room Schools and Seeds in Soil: Planting a Garden and Finding Your Roots

"This charming story show how small kind acts can build goodwill and friendship throughout a community."

--Rochelle Melander, author of Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World through Writing.


"This is a touching tale which shows how a small act of friendliness can lead to so much more. . . .The tale makes a nice read-aloud and is a great way to lead into a trip to a retirement home. The story flows well and connects with readers on a personal level. The illustrations have an original color tone, and this works nicely with the story as well. It's a well-done read with a warming message."

-Bookworm for Kids

"Based on a true story of kids and their special "waving grandma" who waved to them for five years, the story ends happily with the kids finding a new way to not only visit Grandma but help her make friends too. The illustrations by Christy Tortland of a diverse group of children have muted, natural colors with many different skin tones. This is a sweet story of a child who "pays forward" a kindness shown to him."


"This is a great story with a meaningful theme. The story teaches children about empathy, caring, compassion, and giving. I believe this story will have a lasting impact on children and how they treat the elderly. It shows that everyone in society, young and old, is important. And if we just take care of each other, our society will work seamlessly. Children and adults alike will enjoy this book. The illustrations support the narrative beautifully."

--Laura Willingham, award-winning author/illustrator

"A delightful story about friendship and kindness that spans generations. Love the community building theme. . . .Lovely and meaningful."

--Valerie Biel Johnson, award-winning author

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