Everybody grab a grandparent or grandchild and head to the Ashland Library the week of Sept. 1 to 6 to celebrate Grandparents Day with storytimes, crafts, letter writing and some very sweet books.
“We want to encourage grandparents and kids to come together, enjoy the activities and each other,” said Amy Blossom library manager at the Ashland Library. She also adds that we should feel free to play fast and loose with the term “grandparent,” as many of us have adopted grandparent figures. “We're using the term, 'grand-others' to describe all those wonderful people who take the place of grandparents,” said Blossom.
When my husband and I moved to Ashland, we left our parents in other states. Our new neighbors, Bill and Connie, quickly became the grandparent figures we all longed for, sharing stories and baking cookies with our kids, giving us truly helpful advice and, yes, babysitting. There aren't enough days in a year to express our gratitude.
Blossom admits to having a personal interest in this year's celebrations. “I've become a grandmother recently, and it is so much fun,” she said. “At the library, we want to celebrate these relationships and celebrate families,” she added.
Although most of the action happens on Saturday, the children's library will have craft and letter-writing materials available throughout the week. The crafts will include simple projects such as creating small booklets within which grandparents and grandchildren can learn about one another, sharing information about their interests, foods and activities. Children can also draw pictures or write letters to grandparents.
“The idea is to spur conversations between grandparents and children,” said Blossom.
On Saturday at 1:30 p.m., volunteers will help visitors of all ages make crafts. From 2 to 3 p.m., writer, teacher, and grandma Carol-Jo Petit will lead a letter-writing workshop for all ages.
“Carol-Jo is a great teacher and she'll get kids excited about letter writing,” said Blossom. The library will supply everything needed, including envelopes and stamps. Pettit will offer a workshop on Sept. 15, at 5:30 p.m. at the Medford branch library as well.
“Last year, the Jackson County libraries held a similar celebration and it was a lot of fun honoring the people who enrich our lives and our children's lives so much,” said Blossom. “And grandchildren — wow, grandchildren are amazing,” she added.
The library will also have a display of books for all ages featuring and honoring grandparents. The children's library has a list of popular books for grandparents and kids to read together. Here are a few picks for young readers:
“I Love You, Grandpa” by Vivian French. When Grandpa cat visits the kittens for the weekend, he and young Stanley bond with snuggles and songs after the older kittens leave Grandpa all tired out. This is a sweet story with adorable illustrations.
“Thunder Cake,” by Patricia Polacco. A grandmother helps her granddaughter overcome her fear of thunder by baking a special cake while a storm threatens. The book has lovely illustrations, and a yummy recipe at the end.
“Sweet Dreams = Dulces Suenos,” by Pat Mora. Written in both Spanish and English, this book is like a lullaby with its repetitive text and simple story of a grandmother tucking in the children at bed time.
“Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion,” by Mo Willems. Beloved toy, Knuffle Bunny goes on an international adventure when Trixie and her family fly to Holland to see Oma and Opa. This is a heart warming story about growing up and letting go.
The Ashland Library is at 410 Siskiyou Blvd. For more information about Grandparents Day activities, call 541-774-6980.
Angela Decker is a freelance writer in Ashland and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.