Like many families, our family has now been touched by the Covid-19 pandemic and last week we lost my grandfather (Papa) to this horrib...

Talking about Loss: Grandad's Island

Saturday, May 09, 2020 BookBairn 2 Comments

Like many families, our family has now been touched by the Covid-19 pandemic and last week we lost my grandfather (Papa) to this horrible disease. It has been a tremendously difficult time not only due to the grief that comes when you lose a beloved family member but also through all the lockdown measures that make the grieving process more difficult - more than anything I just want to be with my mum and give her a hug. But, as with all things, we find a new way in this unprecedented and tumultuous time. 

One of the things that has been comforting has been finding a way to talk to the bairns about what has happened and why mummy is sad by reading the book Grandad's Island by Benji Davis. It tells the story of Syd who regularly visits his grandad and spends lots of time with him. One day he finds his grandad in the attic, where Syd has never been before, and underneath a sheet, Grandad reveals a big metal door. Suddenly Syd finds himself on board a very tall ship above the ocean of rooftops all around and they set off on a voyage together. On the horizon they discover an island which the explore high and low, convert an old shack and see new wonders at every turn. It is so wonderful that Syd wishes that they could stay forever. And that is when Grandad tells Syd that he does, in fact, intend on staying. And Syd sails the ship home alone. When Syd goes to Grandad's house the next day, he discovers the house is the same as it has always been but that Grandad is no longer there. But he has left a message for Syd.

The illustrations are bright and colourful and packed full of clues and connections that eager eyes will spot as you read. Grandad's Island is so magically brought to life that you can see why Syd, and Grandad, want to stay there forever. 

This is a truly tender and comforting book that shows how those who are special to us never really go away. That those who are dear to us remain near to us. And that it's ok to be sad, to feel lost, to find the journey difficult but to remember that our love for each other will never change no matter how far away our loved ones may seem. This is a heartbreakingly beautiful book and it's message is a gift to give to children, giving them comfort through loss.

Take care and stay safe.



  1. This looks like a great book on a very difficult subject. Hug time will come again.

  2. I'm sorry to hear about your loss.This sounds like a nice book to help explain loss to young children.