My Inspiration to Write ‘How Old is Grandma?’

How Old is Grandma? Characters

What was my inspiration to write a book?

While raising my children, we would visit the library once a week. The librarian started recognizing us and would point our areas of books she thought each one would enjoy. My biggest concern was there were no books that looked like us. And then I found the author Ezra Jack Keats who wrote stories of African American families. His books became my mission as we searched the library and as the years passed by, a few more relatable stories of people of color permeated the library and were available on the shelves.

It was during that time that I started to think about writing. While teaching English grammar and business communication in schools, I developed an inquisitiveness with the blending of words and the structure of ideas. Grading students’ papers on good news, bad news, or persuasive messages encouraged me to think, how can I make this idea better; how can I express my thoughts to others; how can I tell my story.

Although it took me several years, I did not stop writing How Old Is Grandma? because it left such an impression on me. What name could I use so that my grandchildren could address me? This story had me in a quagmire. At my first Christmas party as a grandmother, there was a gift for grandma, and I held the gift but started looking for my mother. Oh, no! It was for me, but I had not transitioned to the fact that I was in a new era. When my grandson told me what his teacher said, I knew I needed to change names but was not sure until my grandson gave me the name.

How Old is Grandma? CharactersI knew I was not the only grandmother who contemplated names to use, but it was important to me and encouraged me to write about it. I thought that maybe if I wrote a book, it too would be on the shelf in the library for other children to read. What inspired me then and encourages me now to write a book? I would have to say that now I have my own mission of sharing the interactions among children, parents, and grandparents and the learning experiences they encounter. This book How Old Is Grandma? is written for children 4+ and older, and it is the beginning of my inspiration to write books.


Antoinette SimmondsHow Old is Grandma?