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The Storybarn Selects… From The Reader Bookshelf

Written by Lily Kehoe, 23rd August 2023

Our exploration of this year's Reader Bookshelf continues and we've asked another member of our Children & Young People Team to talk about their favourite children's book from the collection.

This week, Storybarn Creative Coordinator, Laura Barnes, shares her thoughts on Grandad's Camper by Harry Woodgate.



‘It’s not the destination, it’s the journey’ that matters. On first glance, some of us may scoff at this quote. The destination is always the best bit. Who wouldn’t relish the gigantic skyscrapers, the sandy beaches and the delicious food that await any intrepid explorer. But Harry Woodgate’s picture book urges us to think about the company we share our journeys with. His compelling story centres around a Grandad who tells his grandchild all about his adventures with his partner, Gramps, in their Campervan. From BBQs on beaches, to visiting new cities, the story is presented as a scrapbook of photographic memories as we relive the highlights from Grandad’s past. It’s a beautiful book about intergenerational connection and family love.

But what would a great story be without a twist in the tale? In Grandad’s Camper, the twist is that Grandad’s partner is no longer alive and so in a state of grief, his Campervan stays permanently in his garage- out of sight and out of mind. For the memories associated with the vehicle are too painful to confront. It is only through his grandchild and their inquisitive mind that Grandad is able to weather the storm, grasp hold of life and open his eyes to new possibilities and new adventures in his beloved campervan. All whilst keeping the memory of Gramps alive through the retelling of old stories.

So next time we’re on a journey and the ‘Are we nearly there yets?’, the leg cramps and the pit stops feel almost unbearable, just remember Harry Woodgate’s compelling story and it’s message that urges us to celebrate the people we share our adventures with. By portraying diverse families through LGBTQIA+ character representation and its vibrant illustrations, Grandad’s Camper is an excellent addition to any bookshelf.

Grandad's Camper is available to buy at The Reader Bookshop in person at Calderstones Park and online.

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