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Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs
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Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  2,626 ratings  ·  183 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 Books (first published January 1st 1973)
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Skylar Burris
Nov 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
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
Jul 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
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
Oct 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. What a sweet story of Tomie visiting his grandmothers as a young boy.
Oct 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Melanie Kyer
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
My son brought this home from the library randomly, and we read it tonight. It's a beautiful and timeless book (very sweet old fashioned illustrations) but I wasn't completely prepared for how emotional I would get. I should have suspected something from the beginning, but I just dived in and then found myself struggling to read the ending without breaking up. It's a great book for introducing kids to the idea of the death of a family member, but I have a really hard time reading emotional books ...more
Chesira Prado
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Qué cuento más lindo. Recuerdo haberlo leído muchas veces cuando era pequeña en la biblioteca del colegio al que iba, pero ciertamente en ese momento no entendía lo que este cuento quería transmitir. Sólo me gustaba.

Es cortísimo y tiene unas ilustraciones muy bonitas, las cuales muestran una historia en la que los niños/as aprenden que llega un momento en que los/as abuelos/as mueren. Y que de pronto, la abuelita de arriba y la abuelita de abajo pasan a ser ambas abuelitas de arriba...
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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...
A story of the author's memories of his grandmother and great grandmother and of the days he learned of their passing.

I used the readalong option with this, and it was much better than it was for the other dePaola book I read - much slower, so a child could follow along.
Jan 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.

Aug 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Apr 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
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.
Katie Beck
Jun 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 28, 2008 added it
Shelves: a-step-up
not your everyday read aloud! deals with aging and death of elderly relatives in a very respectful manner
Jan 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Zarina Brown
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is one that's easily relatable for adults and children. It starts off by explaining who Tommy is and what he does over the weekend, which is going to his grandparents' house. Tommy just new his grandmother and great grandmother as "Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs." They were referred to this as to where they were usually located at every time that he and hi parents went to visit. Later on in the book, he got closer with his Nana Upstairs, and started to do things as she did them. O ...more
Michael Enright
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: author-study
Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs is the autobiographical story of Tomie dePaola's childhood relationship with his Grandmother and Great Grandmother. dePaola shares some of his childhood memories of things he would do with his grandparents and the strong connection that he had with them. Eventually his grandparents pass away and dePaola shares the emotions he had during that period of his life.

Nana Upstair and Nana Downstairs is a beautiful and important story for children to be introduced to.
Nakia Arquette
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I actually loved this book. I thought the plot of the story was great and kids could relate easily to this. I enjoyed the illustrations and then reading the short dedication at the end about the author's family and his emotional connection to the pictures made me enjoy it even more.
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La influencia que tienen nuestros abuelos en nuestra vida, es una historia muy conmovedora que llego a mi corazón.
Juliana Lee
Most beautiful story ever! Doesn't try to explain death, but experiences death through the heart of a child.
Amanda Carr
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sweetest story to help children cope with and understand death. Oh, Tomie dePaolo, how I love your books!
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a beautiful this in elementary school and it had always stuck with me. Tomie dePaola is a master!
Debbie Hoskins
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grief-youth
This one we discussed in my library school class in 1991. It's a nice book. I wanted included in books for grief for youth.
Leslie Rucker
What a poignant tribute to grandmothers and family traditions!
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Five stars for the story, but the art is just okay. I do like dePaola though.
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
via NYPL - Moving and helpful.
Rachael Olson
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: el-ed-340
It was a simple read to help show family relationships from a boy's perspective. Sweet, traditional illustrations but not much plot. A gentle book for a child who loses a family member.
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This books reminds you how much you loved your Nana Upstairs and reminds you to love Nana Downstairs.
It's a tear jerker.
Caitlyn Paris
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Adorable and sentimental. I remember reading this in my first grade classroom and loving it.
Lynn  Davidson
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A little boy loves his three grandmothers. Two live in the same house and he calls one Nana Upstairs because she his great-grandmother and is feeble so stays in her upstairs room. He calls his other grandmother Nana Downstairs; she is his great-grandmother's daughter and takes care of her mother. Nana Upstairs is his best friend whom he visits often, but one day he is saddened to learn Nana Upstairs is gone forever.
This is a sweet story told right out of the author's experience.
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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.