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Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  2,935 ratings  ·  235 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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Average rating 4.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,935 ratings  ·  235 reviews

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Julie Suzanne
This touching story would be an excellent model text for personal narrative writing in the elementary writing classroom. I cried.

Update: I read this the second time aloud to my husband and we both cried. We talked about our grandparents, childhood memories, and shared a precious moment over this book.
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
I loved reading Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs.

It is a beautiful and heart-rending story about a little boys relationship with his grandmother and his great-grandmother, Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs.

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
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... ...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.
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.
May 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. That last line, perfect.
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lovely book about a little boy and his relationship with his grandma and great-grandmother
Anna Keating
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book, and the best book that acknowledges the reality of death for littles that I have ever read. Highly recommend. Imagine if we all lived this way. RIP, Tomie.
Laura Brandon
This text provides a considered approach to death and bereavement. It normalises the sadness we experience in grief alongside the young boy not understanding what death is, or what it means. The story is relatable for children with respect to the young protagonist and his perspectives. Death, however is not something to be feared, as people we lose are always with us in our memories, and the shooting stars he sees explicitly represent the people he has lost, as his mother explains to him.
Ellena Eaton
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A very sweet story of a boy and his Nana's. A sad ending but still very heartwarming and lovely. ...more
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.

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. ...more
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. ...more
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. ...more
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. ...more
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. ...more
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.
Leslie Rucker
What a poignant tribute to grandmothers and family traditions!
Greta Merkel
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs is about Tommy's grandma and great-grandma. Nana downstairs is his grandma, and she is a caretaker for Nana Upstairs, who is his great-grandma. Every Sunday, he visits his Nana's, and they have a whole routine. Nana Downstairs is always cooking in front of the stove. He goes upstairs to see Nana Upstairs, and she always tells him to get candy from the sewing bin. Together they sit in their chairs and eat their candies. Then everyone naps, and then they brush eac ...more
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. Once ...more
Feb 22, 2020 added it
Tommy is a little boy who was lucky enough to have a grandmother and a great grandmother. He loved them both very much. He remembers his grandmother always cooking in the kitchen. His great grandmother was upstairs in bed because she was very old. Whenever he visited he would say hello to Nana downstairs and then rush to go see Nana upstairs who always had candy ready for him. His Nana downstairs always helped his Nana upstairs and Tommy would sit and eat candy and talk to her and listen to her ...more
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola is a touching story about a four-year-old boy who experiences loss when Nana Upstairs dies. Death is a subject that is hard to explain, especially to children. However, Tomie dePaola does a great job establishing the relationship Tommy has with his Nana Upstairs and how her death affected him.

This book would be a great tool to use when talking about death with children. While in the book, the shooting star is connected to Nana Upstairs never bein
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.
Sep 13, 2020 added it
Shelves: reading-3500
This book was about a little boy who was very close to his grandmother and great-grandmother. He called them "Nana Upstairs" and "Nana Downstairs" based on where they usually were in the house. Throughout the book, Tommy tells the story of his grandmother and great-grandmother and how he loved them dearly. He then discusses how "Nana Upstairs" (the great-grandmother) died and how he did not know what that meant at first. After he described his response, he told the short version of how h
Ashlyn Stevens
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rdng-350
This was a very sad yet cute book. This book is about a boy and his two grandmother's. Tommy is a four year old boy who loves visiting his grandmother's. One day Tommy's mother tells him that his nana upstair (who is 94) will one day die. Tommy was so sad that he runs upstairs to see her but find the room empty. His nana upstairs had died. Tommy had to learn what the meaning of death truly was. He had to come to know that death means you will no longer see that person. He looks out the window at ...more
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Tomie dePaola (pronounced Tommy da-POW-la) was best known for his books for children.

He had a five-decade writing and illustrating career during which he published more than 270 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, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and the New

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