A Stopwatch from Grampa

Written by: Loretta Garbutt

Illustrated by: Carmen Mok

For ages: 4-8 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Family, Loss, Grief, Death, Intergenerational Relationships, Grandparents, Social-Emotional Learning.


A Stopwatch from Grampa begins right as our main character’s grandfather has passed away, leaving them his stopwatch.  Grampa used to time all sorts of things when the pair spent time together, like how long it took to run up and down the street or a caterpillar crawling.  The child isn’t quite sure why Grampa left behind the stopwatch.  After all, it was his favorite.  Confused and grieving, the main character puts the stopwatch away in a drawer, not wanting to see it anymore.  Some time passes, and our character gets a little bit older.  They find the stopwatch in the drawer and is flooded with memories of Grampa, but not in the same intensely sad way as before.

Grief comes in waves, and our main character of this tender story rides those waves throughout the book.  They miss their Grampa so much, and only sort of realize what has happened.  It’s painful and confusing when we lose family members, especially at a young age.  The healing process looks different for every person, and social emotional learning isn’t always fun.  This is a very timely story, given that unfortunately families are experiencing loss right now and coping looks very different than it typically does with large gatherings and services.  I hope this beautiful story can provide solace to those that are hurting, and help those riding the waves of grief to remember the good times and begin to heal.

This book was kindly sent to us by Kids Can Press, but all opinions are our own!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

loretta_garbuttLoretta Garbutt was raised in a musical family in Toronto, Ontario. Her mother was a singer and piano teacher, her brothers all budding young musicians, so it was no wonder Loretta found the theater. She then spent over 30 years performing in television commercials.

While working for a recording studio, Loretta discovered voice acting and loved it instantly. She went on to voice many commercials, CBC radio dramas and animated cartoons such as Madeline, Babar, Maxie’s World, Julius Jr. and the ongoing show Max and Ruby. She especially enjoyed the villains and demons she voiced for the popular Sailor Moon series.

Loretta developed her keen understanding of the world of children’s books while working as a storyteller, bookseller and reviewer at Mabel’s Fables Children’s Bookstore in Toronto. Here she developed a passion for literacy and the thrill of putting books into the hands of tomorrow’s
big readers.

Meanwhile, with all those animation and story characters in her head, plus a riveted audience (her two children and husband), Loretta began writing stories and squirrelling them away for future young readers to enjoy.

CarmenMok_HeadShotCarmen Mok is a Studio-Art graduate of the University of Waterloo and a Crafts and Design graduate of the Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada. Carmen possesses six years of experience as a product designer in gifts and dinnerware. Through professional years and experimentations, Carmen has gained extensive knowledge in many areas such as illustration and graphic design!

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