When Grandma Climbed the Magic Ladder by Priya Narayanan. Book Review.


This is a unusual story about what happens after death. When a little boy named Shashi’s  grandmother dies, we follow her journey up the magic ladder into the sky to become a star with herpreviously deceased husband. Although the story begins with tears and grieving, once we switch to the Grandma’s point of view it is sweet, peaceful and reassuring.

Grandma is an amazing woman, kind, courageous, appreciative, and positive, so much so that as she journeys, all who encounter want her to stay. But even though the journey is long and somewhat arduous she continues to climb the ladder for three days to reach her husband and become a star. The reader cheers Grandmother on as she travels believing in her success and anxious to see Grandma’s dream to become a star a reality.

There were two points in the story that brought tears to my eyes. One was when the little boy was told that his grandmother would have to journey for three days on the magic ladder.

“Wouldn’t grandma feel hungry by the time she reached the sky? So, when no one was looking, he hid three of his favorite cream-filled cookies amongst the pleats of her sari.”

Those cookies soaked in love gave the grandmother so much endurance as she climbed that she did not need the food offered to her by the monkey, the cloud, or the moon.

The second moment was when the grandmother was reunited with the grandfather.

“As Grandma put her arms around Grandpa and hugged him tight, a blinding flash tore through the night sky. Exactly at the place in the sky where there had been only a lone star all these years, there was suddenly two.

If you have definite beliefs as to what happens after death, this would still be a good book to share with your child to explain that different religions and cultures have different beliefs. If you are unsure or uncommitted as to what happens after death, this book will encourage some interesting discussions.

Suitable to be read with parents for children ages 4 to 10.


Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages





One thought on “When Grandma Climbed the Magic Ladder by Priya Narayanan. Book Review.

  1. Pingback: My Favorite Fifteen Fiction Picture Books I Reviewed in 2017 | Bonnie Ferrante – Books for Children

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