Katy Has Two Grampas


Children - Picture Book
40 Pages
Reviewed on 12/22/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Daniel D Staats for Readers' Favorite

Katy has a problem. She is different than most of the other children in her class. Julie Schanke Lyford and Robert A. Schanke explain how Katy is differently-abled in Katy Has Two Grandpas. Katy has a lisp. Kids and adults can be cruel to children who speak differently. Because of this, Katy has faced ridicule from other children because of her difficulty in pronouncing certain words. Even her teacher did not understand. Julie and Robert tenderly tell Katy’s story and her dilemma. Katy’s class will have Grandparents Day, and Katy wants her two grandpas to come. If her grandpas come, she will have to introduce them. If she presents them, the other kids will laugh at how she speaks. Read this story to learn how the challenge is resolved. You will also learn how Katy and her two grandpas are accepted by the children in the class.

In Katy Has Two Grandpas, Julie Schanke Lyford and Robert A. Schanke present the story of Katy. With great compassion for Julie’s daughter and Robert’s granddaughter, they tell her story of fear and being the butt of ridicule. Those of us who have problems speaking plainly totally understand this story. Because of my speech impediment, I remember having fun made of me by both children and adults. However, Katy is courageous and overcomes her fear of speaking to her classmates. Parents can read this book to their children and help them understand that different is not bad nor something to poke fun at. Differently-abled children (I refuse to call them disabled) need love and acceptance like any other child. I almost shouted out in joy at Katy’s victory over her fear. I absolutely love this book and highly recommend it.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

If all of your grandparents are still alive, you probably have two Grandmas and two Grampas. But perhaps you have two Grampas who are married to each other. Or, for that matter, two Grandmas who are married to each other. Katy has two Grampas who are married to each other and she loves them very much. So, when the teacher plans a celebration for Grandparents Day, Katy wants to bring her two Grampas. The only problem is, when Katy talks, she lisps and no one understands her. When her teacher keeps correcting Katy, telling her Grampa and Grampa should really be pronounced Grampa and Grandma, Katy is in tears. Her older sister helps sort things out and Katy brings her two Grampas for the celebration. But, can she overcome her shyness because of her lisp and stand up in front of the class to introduce them?

Julie Schanke Lyford and Robert A. Schanke’s picture book story, Katy Has Two Grampas, is a unique look at the changing view of family dynamics. Love comes in many colors, shapes and sizes and unique combinations and Katy knows best the power of her love for her two Grampas. The plot follows young Katy’s struggle to communicate and show her love for her Grampas. When she expresses her fear of introducing them to the class, it’s not because they have a unique marriage; it’s because of her lisp that makes her shy to speak in front of people outside the family. And, what story would be complete without a classroom mascot running across the pages – have fun looking for the runaway hamster. The colorful illustrations help carry the story along, as well as introduce other differences within the class including differences in race and a child in a wheelchair. Life is full of differences and it’s stories like this that will help young readers learn to accept others for who they are and to feel confident in standing up and speaking out in spite of their own struggles and differences. Beautifully told.

Jamie Michele

Katy Has Two Grampas by Julie Schanke Lyford and Robert A. Schanke is a children's picture book that revolves around a little girl named Katy and her fear of a Grandparent's Day party, but not for the reason one might initially suspect. The book begins with an assignment at school in which children are creating art where they are depicted with their grandparents doing something they all enjoy. The teacher tells the class that there will be a party where their art will be shown and where each child will introduce their grandparents to the class. Confusion arises between Katy and her teacher where the former mistakes Katy saying, “Grandpa and Grandpa” as a mispronunciation due to a lisp. This frustrates Katy who means exactly as she says, but is now anxious about speaking in front of the class to introduce them. The illustrations are in full, beautiful color with highly realistic portrayals that bring Katy and her world to life.

Julie Schanke Lyford and Robert A. Schanke do a good job in bringing forward a dual-conflict faced by Katy in Katy Has Two Grandpas. I love how when she begins her art project she is wholly unaware of anything but her lisp. She's happy to paint herself with the married pair but afraid to talk about it, which we presume comes from a history of Katy being laughed at. This is heart-breaking on its own, but it becomes infuriating when her teacher does the next worst thing possible—she doubles down on Katy mispronouncing something that Katy is not. What this does is show how even people in positions of care can come across as uncaring, regardless of intent. It takes an older sister stepping in to resolve the issue, and the support of her grandfathers to give her the courage to speak. This amplifies how wonderful Katy's family is, and how all things viewed externally can be confusing to those outside that bond. Highly recommended.

Lois J Wickstrom

Katy has two grampas who are married to each other. She probably has a third grampa somewhere, but he’s not in this story. Katy’s class is going to celebrate Grandparents Day by inviting grandparents and other loved ones to visit their classroom. Katy wants to introduce her married grampas to her class. They are her favorite people. But, Katy has a lisp. The other children have difficulty understanding her when she talks. Even her teacher makes mistakes sometimes. Katy is far more concerned about her lisp and being understood than she is with how the class will react to her married grampas. Katy Has Two Grampas is written by Julie Schanke Lyford and Robert A. Schanke and illustrated by Mariia Luzina.

I find it both adorable and modern that a child would be more concerned with her lisp than with her family being unusual. Katy’s family is supportive and kind to her, and they have learned to understand her despite her lisp. Their encouragement helps Katy overcome her fears. Children who lisp, or fear public speaking, will like seeing Katy tell her class about her married grampas and all the fun she has with them. Plus, they’ll be jealous of the tire swing that her grampas built for her that lets her swing out over a waterfall. The photos at the end of the book show that Mariia Luzina’s art is based on a real family. The authors Julie Schanke Lyford and Robert Schanke are active in the LGBTQ+ community. Their book, Katy Has Two Grampas, shows LGBTQ+ people having ordinary fun and ordinary problems. That is a lovely step forward for picture books.

Emma Megan

Katy Has Two Grampas is a gorgeous and uplifting children's picture book about love and support in a modern family based on a true story. It's written by Julie Schanke Lyford, an LGBTQ+activist in Minnesota, and Robert A. Schanke, who has published several books featuring LGBTQ+ theater artists in America. It follows Katy, who has a lisp problem. When Mrs. Brown, her teacher, announces that their class will celebrate Grandparents Day and everyone must invite their grandparents, Katy gets very excited. But due to a misunderstanding with her teacher, Katie fears talking in front of her class, thinking ​no one will understand her and they will laugh at her. Now Katy has to build up the courage to tell everyone the fun things she likes to do with her grampas. Will she succeed?

This is the first children's picture book to feature gay grampas that I have ever read, and it really impressed me. Katy Has Two Grampas by Julie Schanke Lyford and Robert A. Schanke is a poignant and beautiful picture book with charming illustrations and it is impossible not to look at them with fascination. Mariia Luzina, the illustrator, did a fantastic job of showing the classroom diversity, Katy's emotions, and the heartwarming support she received from her sister and her gay grandparents. I even loved and was attentive to the extra bonus (the classroom hamster) as well. Katy is so lucky to have such a wonderfully supportive family. It sure is a must-read, mainly due to the overall message about the importance of listening carefully to what children say, supporting and encouraging them so they can overcome their fears.