Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth


by Douglas Wood
illustrated by P.J. Lynch
Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (September 22, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7636467-5-2



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Winner of the Christopher Medal.

A beautiful and moving picture book about the bond between a grandparent and child and the enduring spirit of love. An inspired collaboration between the award-winning author of Old Turtle and acclaimed illustrator P. J. Lynch, a two-time winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal.

“Did you know boy,” Grandad whispered. “that trees pray?”

Grandad is the boy’s best friend. Being with him always makes the world seem right. And how vast that world is. A world of tall trees that reach for clouds and sun and moon and stars (and what else is reaching for heaven but a prayer?) Rocks that stand still and silent (two important ways to pray). Streams lying calm, reflecting clouds. And then, of course, there are the people, who pray in many ways, for many reasons.

Each time he and Grandad walk in the woods, the boy listens for the prayers of the earth. And while he isn’t always sure he hears them, Grandad’s words inspire him to keep listening.

One day the boy asks the hardest question of all: “Are our prayers answered, Grandad?” And it is only after Grandad is gone, after many, many prayers — after the boy is grown — that he understands his grandfather’s reply: “Most prayers are not really questions. And when we listen very closely, a prayer is often its own answer.”

Doug has written a wise and moving story for readers of all ages. With paintings by acclaimed artist P.J. Lynch, this beautiful and uplifting picture book is a true publishing event. Like a prayer, Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth may just change your life forever.


Winner of the Christopher Medal, “affirming the hishest values of the human spirit.”

Profound… magnificent… exquisite. Simply reading this book will change your life for the better. (Chinaberry Books)

One of the most beautiful books you’ll find in a bookshop, a picture book you can almost walk right into. (It’s) about living on the earth and living together with the pwople we love. (Kidstuff)

Exquisite… stunning… gives voise to the human longing to understand. (Kirkus Reviews)

A handsome book… a celebration of what we can learn from nature and from our elders. (USA Today)

The thoughtful text celebrates all creation and is perfectly complemented by the moving, expressive illustrations. (School Library Journal)

A lovely, moving book… an exquisite story that is truly religious without advocating any one religion. Highly recommended. (Childrens’ Literature)

…a delicately handled epiphany… a prayer in itself. (Publishers’ Weekly)

The strength and beauty of the words are perfectly matched by the illustrations… an unusual eymbrosis of art and text that is rare in picture books. The resulting work is a timeless treasure. (Bookpage)