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Children's Fiction Death & Dying

Granny Left Me a Rocket Ship

by (author) Heather Smith

illustrated by Ashley Barron

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2023
Death & Dying, Multigenerational, Imagination & Play
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2023
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
  • Reading age: 4 to 7


From award-winning author Heather Smith, a heartwarming, moving story about loss - and remembering.

When Granny dies, a young child and their family have a hole in their hearts. They find it helps them fill it to remember her through the things she left behind. To the father, she left a tuba, and to the mother, a locket. To the sister, she left a microscope, and to the brother, a record collection. To the main character, though, Granny left something different: a world of adventure, that they visit with their memories. Through imaginative play with items that belonged to Granny, the child travels near and far. And Granny is right beside them, along for the ride.

Using spare prose, award-winning author Heather Smith's beautiful story about loss, grief and memories presents an honest yet optimistic view of how to joyfully remember loved ones after they're gone. Ashley Barron's layered cut-paper collage illustrations bring fun to the story, while colorfully capturing the feel of a child's imagination in flight. This book provides a gentle, thoughtful entryway into a conversation with children - or adults - about losing a loved one, and how to hold them close. It's a wonderful resource for focusing on social-emotional learning, and an excellent representation for a character education lesson on resilience.

About the authors

Heather Smith's profile page

ASHLEY BARRON’s vibrant cut-paper collage illustrations appear in more than twelve picture books, including Chaiwala! by Priti Maheshwari, My City Speaks by Darren Lebeuf (winner of the Schneider Family Book Award), City Baby by Laurie Elmquist (a Bank Street Best Book of the Year) and Pretty Tricky by Etta Kaner (a Kirkus Best Picture Book and an Outstanding Science Trade Book). Ashley lives with her partner and three cats in Toronto, Ontario.

Ashley Barron's profile page

Editorial Reviews

This reassuring approach to loss and healing offers an ideal conversation starter about keeping memories alive and the everlasting connections with those we love.—Quill & Quire

Heartbreaking---but uplifting.—Kirkus Reviews (praise for Ebb and Flow)

... a powerful and poetic story of emotional endurance.—School Library Journal, starred review (praise for Ebb and Flow)

... one of the year's best books.—Quill & Quire, starred review (praise for Ebb and Flow)

... a wonderful resource to start a conversation about grief and the importance of preserving our memories of deceased loved ones.—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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