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Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  1,625 ratings  ·  130 reviews
Tommy is four years old, and he loves visiting the home of his grandmother, Nana Downstairs, and his great-grandmother, Nana Upstairs. But one day Tommy's mother tells him Nana Upstairs won't be there anymore, and Tommy must struggle with saying good-bye to someone he loves. Updated with new, full-color illustrations, this classic story will continue to win the hearts of r ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published April 3rd 2000 by Puffin (first published January 1st 1973)
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Best Picture Books
189th out of 1,307 books — 972 voters
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Best Books About Death & Dying For Kids
2nd out of 12 books — 15 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,225)
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Skylar Burris
This is a touching story of a boy who visits his nana downstairs (his grandmother) and his nana upstairs (his great-grandmother) every Sunday, only to have both nanas "go upstairs" by the end of the story. I hadn't pre-read it before reading it to my daughter, and so I hadn't anticipated I would be crying by the end of a short children's book. I am glad to have stumbled on it, however, because I think it's an important book to read my daughter to help her in preparation for a future in which she ...more
Momm
This is one of my favorite children's books. I cry at the end every time I read it. It's a nice image to think of Nana's spirit in a shooting star...
Josiah
There is nothing in literature like the books that Tomie dePaola has written about his family when he was growing up. Speaking for myself in all sincerity, his picture-book family histories have welcomed me into the life he has led as warmly as if I were a part of the family. I feel as if I know Tom, and Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, and all the rest of Tomie's wonderful family as well as if they were my kin, too, and that is truly a special feeling that is hard to fully put into words.

Th
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Morgan
I recently checked this out from the library for my best friend's son, who is 2. It's a sentimental book for me, because my grandmother was Nana, and the edition I got from the library was the same we'd bought my Nana years ago. I always remember it being at her house...I read the first page of the book, which reads, "When Tommy was a little boy, he had a grandmother and a great-grandmother. He loved both of them very much" and started crying! I was very choked up for a while, and while I haven' ...more
Kirei
Oct 17, 2008 Kirei rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: preschoolers to elementary
Shelves: younger-kids
This is a really nice book for kids about death. Tommy visits his granparents house and spends time with his great-grandmother (Nana Upstairs). Then she dies, and her mother says he can't see her anymore. Later at night, he looks out the window and sees a falling star. His mother says it is a kiss from Nana Upstairs.
The last page shows Tommy as a man and says that his grandmother (Nana Downstairs) died. He sees a falling star and knows that now she is also "Nana Upstairs".
I like this book beca
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Sara Andrews
“Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs” will leave you in tears in the end. This story is illustrated and written by Tomie de Paola. His words and subject matter stem right from his heart and touching our own. This story is a wonderful story to share, in the classroom or at home, when one loses a beloved grandparent.

Tomie de Paola created this story based on his own life experience. The setting takes place when de Paola was four years old. Every Sunday was spent at his grandparents house. Every t
...more
Luann
This one makes me cry every time. A great one for helping children deal with the loss of a family member. You can read even more about Nana Upstairs (and a funny story about the mints) in dePaola's book 26 Fairmount Avenue.
Dolly
Dec 14, 2013 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderful story about the interaction between multiple generations in a family and the closeness a boy has with his Nanas. Our girls' grandmother lives with us it is heartwarming to see that the memories Tomie has of his Nanas is dear to him. I hope that our girls will have similarly fond memories.
Linda
Drawing on reflections of his own childhood, Tomie de Paola's Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs is a beautiful story of the circle of life; I feel that it is written in a way to help a child deal with the loss of people whom he loves.
Samantha
THIS BOOK IS SO STINKING SAD!!! but we read it over and over and over and over again when i was little. it's more sad now then it was then, though.
Katie Beck
I enjoyed reading this book as a child and now as an adult. I think that this is a good book to read to children to explain the human aging process.
Mrsmook
Jul 28, 2008 Mrsmook added it
Shelves: a-step-up
not your everyday read aloud! deals with aging and death of elderly relatives in a very respectful manner
Jasmine Burk
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joey Cardoza
This book is not to be recommended lightly to those with little ones. It is not a happy story but a story about death and loss. Choosing when to prepare your child for death is a very personal choice. When the time comes however, I recommend this book as a starting point in preparing your child for the loss of a loved one, a pet perhaps, or to prepare your child for processing death and loss in general. Every child fears the loss of their grandparents when they realize they may be the first to g ...more
Robin Gaphni
Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola is a picture book for preschoolers that deals with death in a gentle and age appropriate way. Recommended for young children who are dealing with the death of a grandparent or other family member, it's also a good book to have on hand when children start asking questions about death.

Little Tomie goes to his grandparent's house every Sunday. There he visits his grandmother who is usually downstairs in the kitchen (Nana Downstairs), as well as his
...more
Todd Burleson
This is the second book of my author study on Tommy dePaola.

Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs is one of my absolute favorite dePaola books. I have used this book several times in my classroom when a grandparent has died. I actually even used it with my own children at the passing of their great grandparent. dePaola's gentle sharing of this tale of his grandparents and great grandparents is the perfect tool to get students talking about their relations. It both makes me smile and tear up to read abo
...more
Maria Wong
Author Study Book:

Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola is one of my most favorite books written by dePaola. Tomie dePaola incorporates many of his own childhood experiences in his stories, such as the Art Lesson. Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs is about his great grandmother and grandmother. His mother and grandmother help take care of his ailing great grandmother. His older brother is frightened by her appearance and makes comments. Despite that, the young Tomie cared for his gr
...more
Mikejencostanzo
The illustrations and the text combine to make this a very sweet book. It is told showing a very young child's perspective on life. Life is very simple. Each Sunday is the same. Tommy visits his grandparents. Relationships are simple. One grandmother stays upstairs (great-grandmother); one stays downstairs (grandmother). Their names communicate this reality. The logic is simple. And the questions are simple. What's "died?" This book will resonate with young children.

Adults too, can be touched an
...more
Margaret
Oct 03, 2012 Margaret rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Margaret by: Sonlight P3/4
We found this one as a recommendation from Sonlight P3/4 and coming in I have already expressed my opinions in former reviews of how I'm not crazy about Tomie dePaola's illustrations, but I'm just not sure what it is. I like them, but I do not love them. However, I really like this book. This is a great personal experience put to page that can open a discussion for the passing on of a loved one (just open, not given in detail in the book so parents and adults can guide it as they seem appropriat ...more
Taylor Brady
This is a true story from the author of his memory as a little boy who visits his nana downstairs (grandmother) and his nana upstairs (great-grandmother) every Sunday. The book recounts some of the precious memories the author has of both nana's and emotions that he felt when they had passed away. After both passed away he saw a shooting star and considered it a kiss from nana. Sweet and yet real story of losing someone dear to you, however I felt that it ended quite abruptly.
Jasmine Springs
Tomie dePaola is a famous artist/author of childrens books, Mr. Paola uses his own childhood experiences to create his story which really brings his stories to life. He narrarates from what his point of view was as a child. In Nana Upstairs and Nana downstairs Mr. dePaoladescribes his relationship with his grandmother and great-grandmother. The audience is able to clearly identify what he is feelings about each of them. One of Tommy's grandmothers dies in the story and Tommy had a very different ...more
Ginny Marie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jorie Turner
Dec 02, 2007 Jorie Turner rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: grades k-2
Summary: This is the true story of Tomie de Paola’s youth spent as his grandparent’s house. The characters name is Tommy and he has a grandmother and a great-grandmother. His grandmother spends a lot of time downstairs by the black stove and she is known as Nana Downstairs. His great-grandmother has to stay in bed upstairs so he calls her Nana Upstairs. The book is about Tommy and his Nana’s adventures together. They do a lot of funny things together, but in the end Nana Upstairs dies, and Tommy ...more
Patricia
This tender story brought tears to my eyes. It is the autobiographical story of Tomie dePaola's young childhood and his relationship with both his grandmother (his mother's mother, Nana Downstairs) and his great-grandmother (her mother, Nana Upstairs). Nana Upstairs lived with her daughter and Tomie and his family would visit them weekly. What a tender relationship he had with these two dear nanas.
Sheeba Virani
When a child in the classroom is suddenly faced with the situation of death of a loved one this is a wonderful book to read. Children often find it difficult to understand death and this book helps them realize the fact that when anyone dies it means they are not there anymore. It also provides children with words to express their feelings in such situations.

Extension
Ask children to think about one member of the family or a friend of the family or an acquaintance that may have passed away. Discu
...more
Megan Piero
Although this book is very sweet. It is also a little sad. This is a book based on the authors childhood when he would go visit his grandmother and great grandmother every Sunday. Because his great grandmother was 94, she only stayed upstairs which is why he called her nana upstairs. His grandmother lived in the bottom part of the house which is why she was nana downstairs. The boy recalls fon memories of his time spent with both of them. As the story moves on both of his nana's pass away and he ...more
Farah
Buku ini menjadikan Tomie de Paola sebagai salah satu pengarang favorit gue.
Buku ini simpel. Sesimpel ilustrasinya yang indah dan dipenuhi oleh warna-warna lembut.
Ceritanya tentang kenangan Tomie kecil kepada kedua neneknya. Nenek buyut yang ngga bisa kemana-mana lagi karena udah terlalu tua, yang dipanggil dengan sebutan Nana upstairs, dan neneknya (ibu dari orang tuanya langsung) yang dipanggil nana downstairs.
Kenangan itu begitu indah, dan sebagaimana setiap kenangan yang menjadi bagian dari
...more
Fibersian
This is a classic book that helps children deal with the changes as they deal with aging loved ones. One of the characters grandmas dies. This is written for the very young so it introduces this hard concept gently. A great book to read to children who have dealt with the death of a loved one.
Melanie
When Tommy was young he had a grandmother and a great-grandmother. He called the grandmother "Nana Downstairs" and the great-grandmother "Nana Upstairs." Nana Upstairs never left her bed so she was always upstairs.

When Tommy visited his grandparents on Sundays he enjoyed is time with both his Nana's. Nana Upstairs always has candy mints to share. They would all take afternoon naps and then Tommy would watch as both grandmothers brushed their hair.

One morning Tommy learns that Nana Upstairs has d
...more
Lexi
This is a great book to use for realistic fiction/personal narrative genre because it is about a small moment and the story is realistic/true.

Very cute story about the relationship and how those change over time. Has a powerful ending as well.
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Tomie dePaola (pronounced Tommy da-POW-la) is best known for his books for children.
He's been published for 40 years and has written and/or illustrated over 200 books, including 26 Fairmount Avenue, Strega Nona, and Meet the Barkers.
Tomie dePaola and his work have been recognized with the Caldecott Honor Award, the Newbery Honor Award and the New Hampshire Governor's Arts Award of Living Treasure.
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More about Tomie dePaola...
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