Grama’s Hug

Grama’s Hug written and illustrated by Amy Nielander

With the support of her grandmother, a young girl strives for her astronaut dreams.


“After an unspoken tragedy forces May to move in with Grama, the two become inseparable. They stargaze and bird-watch, and as May ages—depicted through a clever series of her first-place Space Fair projects, year after year—her enthusiasm for aeronautics gradually distracts from her love for Grama. As May departs for sixth-grade space camp, she nearly forgets their traditional goodbye hug, and a month later, she returns with the news that she is going to be the world’s youngest astronaut. On launch day, her excitement again sweeps her away from Grama, but as the countdown begins, May stops the proceedings: “I am not leaving without a hug!” This incredibly tender story packs a lifetime’s worth of emotion into 40 pages, from the subtly tragic opening to the buoyant love between May and Grama to the heart-wrenching—and ultimately happy—ending. Nielander understands the simple power of storytelling, letting her narrative do the work and avoiding getting too sentimental. Her clean illustrations play like a montage, skimming through the beautiful moments of growing up with Grama, and developing the characters along the way. An excellent choice for a grandparent-grandchild read-along, as kids will find inspiration in the dream of being a tween in space, while elders will relish seeing their selfless love mirrored on the page.

— Ronny Khuri, starred review, Booklist

“May and Grama, whom May lives with, are a team. On her first day of school, May is nervous and asks for more hugs, which get her through the transition. Through the seasons, they watch the birds together, and May wants to “soar just like them.” Together they craft bird wings and pretend they are flying, which sparks May’s interest in going to space. Each year May prepares for the Space Fair contest, and Grama is always eager to help. Each year May’s hard work pays off, eventually landing her the opportunity to be an astronaut. May seems ready to leave without looking back, but Grama hopes for one more hug. Nielander creates a lovely story focused on a girl in STEM and the family who supports her. The story holds meaning for both children and adults, reminding adults to cherish the little moments that are so special and also encouraging children to work toward their dreams. The illustrations add so much detail, such as the plans and testing of her different Space Fair projects. The interactions between May and Grama are sweet, and the emotions illustrated bring their relationship to life. May and Grama have beige skin, and May has black hair. There is diversity among the other people in the book.”

–Kirkus review

“When grandmothers read this picture book to their granddaughters, they are planting the idea early in their granddaughters’ lives that girls CAN learn technology. Girls ARE smart in science and mathematics. Girls CAN succeed in doing difficult things.

I highly suggest that grandmothers get this picture book to read to granddaughters. And have those conversations that encourage granddaughters in STEM activities. (Grandmothers can have those encouraging conversations with older granddaughters, too!)” –review by Nina Lewis on Grandma Ideas

Heartwarming and encouraging for both children and adults. (Picture book. 4-8)

Please Note: Signed and or inscribed copies of Grama’s Hug can be placed direct with Book Beat, curbside pickup is available, or $3 shipping charge to anywhere within the USA.

About the Author:

Amy Nielander graduated from College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan. Before becoming an Author Illustrator, she worked as a product designer and digital sculptor in the automotive industry. In 2014, she earned international recognition as the only U.S. finalist for her entry in the Silent Book Contest. Her submission debuted at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and traveled to Milan, Italy for exhibition. The Ladybug Race picture book was published in 2015 by PomegranateKids. In 2017, she received a Bronze Medal Book Award in the Children’s Picture Books All Ages Category by Independent Publisher. Her second picture book, Grama’s Hug, released January 2020 (Page Street Kids) and received a starred review from Booklist. She is represented by Adria Goetz of Martin Literary Management.

Amy fuses her talents to deliver high quality art, design and playful stories for kids. She pushes her creativity to explore what makes characters unforgettable, storylines stick and fictional worlds, delight.

Her mission is to spread joy, inspire and fuel imaginations, little and big.


$ 18.99