Children's Book Review: Picture of Grace by Josh Armstrong, Taylor Bills (Illustrator)


"When I grow up, I want to be just like you," said Grace.

"That's very kind of you," said Grandpa Walt, "but I can think of nothing better than you simply being yourself."

Six-year-old Grace aspires to be an artist like her beloved grandfather Walt. Every week, she goes to his house and watches with great joy as he paints.

Of course, not everyone appreciates Grandpa Walt's artwork. But as Walt tells Grace, "Some people appreciate the hard work while others just want the painting to be finished. But you can't be distracted by either group."

When tragedy strikes, Grace takes it upon herself to honor Grandpa Walt in a special way. Through her act of love and kindness, Grace's family discovers an amazing secret about Walt's final, unfinished masterpiece.

Release Date: February 17, 2015
Age Group: 5-9 years
Source: Review copy from author
Reviewed By: Kelli & Kaitlyn


Picture of Grace is such a beautiful book, both in imagery and in story.  I read this one alone, because I haven't yet explained death to my four year old daughter, Kaitlyn.  However, I did let her look at the illustrations and she loved them, especially the paintings.  

Taylor Bills did an excellent job illustrating this story.  The images are so descriptive: a reader could discern the entire story just by paging through the book and studying the illustrations.  I especially loved the way Delilah was drawn.  I could feel her every emotion through her facial expressions.

I love that Armstrong's story features a little girl and her grandfather.  Often children form stronger attachments to same-sex grandparents, so I loved that this book was different from the norm.  Grace and Walt have a strong bond, based on love and respect.  Grace adores her grandfather and the feeling is mutual.

About halfway through the book, the worst happens: Grandpa Walt dies.  I appreciated how Armstrong handled this aspect of the story.  It is very much implied without being explicitly stated.  That seemed really appropriate for a children's book.  

The conflict resolution was so moving.  I found myself tearing up as I read.  Picture of Grace is a beautiful book, and perfect for children experiencing loss.  I highly recommend this book! 


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