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Reviews and press

I am pleased that two writers well known in the field of grandmothers have read my book and written me a few words for this website:

"A fascinating analysis of what it feels like to be a grandmother today – from the joy and fulfilment to the disappointments and anxieties.  It’s a book to warm your heart about being a grandparent, and also one to reassure you’re not alone when you experience new relationships and complex family patterns."
                            Virginia Ironside, agony aunt and novelist

"Confirms, in a direct and delightful way, just how special the grandmother-grandchild relationship is....Very interesting and heart-warming."

                                                                Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall, author of The Good Granny Guide

Recommended by GRAND, an online magazine for grandparents, November 2016:

"a book to warm your heart and reassure you that you're not alone when you experience new relationships and complex family patterns." 

Sixtyplusurfers, an online magazine, review published February 2015:

Celebrating Grandmothers has been written especially for grandmothers, about the joys of being a grandmother, and includes contributions from lots of different grandmothers.

The book builds on interviews with 27 grandmothers of widely varying ages from mid 40s through to late 80s from different nationalities and of social circumstances. It pulls together their individual and often very different experiences of being a grandmother, in terms of how much they see their grandchildren and what they do together.

It highlights their views on how their grandchildren are being brought up, how they see their own role and all this entails. It also focuses on how being a grandmother differs from being a mother.

The book also explores the different experiences of being a grandmother with stories that invite readers into both their day-to-day lives and their inner, often unspoken thoughts. It is full of joy, wisdom and some sadness from those grandmothers with little access to their grandchildren due to distance or difficult relations within the family.

Readers will take away many good ideas from what grandmothers have to say.

I was really impressed with this delightful book about the individual experiences of grandmothers and how they have bonded with their grandchildren.

The book includes the stories of lots of different grandparents, some who were at the birth of their grandchildren, others who live overseas, and how they each play an important part in the growing up and development of their grandchildren.

In some cases their own upbringing has affected how they interact with their grandchildren, showing them the need to be more involved and to take time to share interesting activities. And for others, taking an active part in the care of their grandchildren has been more difficult, due to family disagreements or for those living overseas.

Celebrating Grandmothers also includes plenty of heartfelt advice on dealing with the emotional side of being a grandparent, love and its expression, physical contact, feeling connected, and worrying about all the things that might go wrong.

The contributors also give plenty of ideas on activities they enjoy doing with their grandchildren such as treasure hunts, reading books, playing games, drawing and painting pictures and cooking together.

This wonderful anthology of grandmothers and their own individual stories will make the perfect gift for a new grandparent or a welcome treat for those who want to celebrate the joys of being a grandparent.

Reviews from readers

from Debbie Young’s Reading Life (also on Amazon.co.uk)
I was persuaded to read this book after enjoying a blog post by the author Ann Richardson, a fellow ALLi author, about how she had been selling copies to strangers who looked as if they might enjoy it! She is American and has a typical American directness about her, but is also a seasoned researcher and writer who clearly understands what makes people tick, and is fascinated by their motivations and attitudes.

I’m not a grandmother (though I do have step-grandchildren), but I was very close to both my late grandmothers, and I’m glad that my daughter is close to hers, so I totally get the potential significance of grandmothers in everybody’s lives, and I am sad for those whose relationships have broken down or never been established.

Background to the Book
Celebrating Grandmothers (subtitled Grandmothers Talk About Their Lives) brings together the research that Ann Richardson undertook among a set of 27 grandmothers based in different parts of London, with ages ranging from 46 to 88, though they had become grandmothers at different ages, one as young as 36. As she says in her introduction, this wasn’t meant to be a representative cross-section of grandmothers of the world, but she did include different socio-economic, ethnic and religious groups.

For the sake of confidentiality, and to encourage franker discussion of sometimes difficult or embarrassing subjects – such as having favourite grandchildren, or sharing details of problems and challenges – she has anonymised all the responses, so we are not told anything about the source of each quote. Statements are simply attributed to “grandmother of three” or “grandmother of eleven” or whatever. I understand her reasons for this approach, but personally I’d have been interested in knowing the context of each quote. which would have added a further dimension, e.g. how do the views of grandmothers of different ages or ethnic groups or religions compare.

Helpful Structure
The book is well structured with the various quotes from the 27 interviewees organised into topics and sub-topics. The contents list at the front makes it easy to dip into when seeking thoughts on a particular subject e.g. “Disagreements on child-rearing”.

Although this is not presented as a self-help book, I’m sure many grandmothers will find this a useful resource, offering them an insight into how their peers deal with and react to various grandparenting issues. It will also encourage them to make the most of the wonderful, enriching opportunities that being a grandmother presents to individuals, and help them avoid the pitfalls that have caused breakdowns in other families’ relationships between generations.

Why and When to Buy It
I’m sure plenty of grandmothers will want to buy it for themselves (not least because it carries tucked away on its back cover a glowing endorsement from Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall, mother of the more famous Hugh, and author of The Good Granny Guide). I can imagine a new or prospective granny poring over it in the same way that I used to read The Rough Guide to Pregnancy when I was expecting, savouring every moment and trying to become an expert in advance!
It’s also apparently a popular buy for mums and dads who want to show their children’s grandmother their appreciation, or even as a covert announcement of a new pregnancy!

From Amazon UK (amazon.co.uk):
A reassuring and interesting read 
By VIV on 23 Oct. 2016
Format: Kindle edition
Fortunately this is not an advice book or guide to being the perfect grandmother and not every interviewee in it depicts their own situation as being flawless and totally rosy. It is reassuring in NOT providing a 'one size fits all' approach to being a good grandmother....... the survey group shows diverse situations and circumstances and certainly made me consider my own! This is a book one can return to time and again as family dynamics change and the grandchildren grow. Thoroughly enjoyable!
Five stars
Good read
By Dr S Thomas on 14 July 2016
Format: Paperback

I received this amazing book as a Christmas gift from my daughter. I enjoyed reading this book as a grandmother of two gorgeous grand children and having experienced the joy of grandmotherhood for nearly six years, I could empathize with many of the grandmothers that the author has interviewed.
The author has undertaken an impressive research among 27 grandmothers based in London, with ages ranging from 46 to 88, one as young as 36. Although Ann does not claim this to be a representative cross section of grandmothers of the world, she did include different socio-economic, ethnic and religious groups. This style of narrative, from the perspective of many grandmothers, give variety and depth to Ann Richardson’s book. I enjoyed reading it and will recommend it to, not only grandmothers, but anyone interested in human relationships.

Is sometimes sad, but also joyous and funny
By M. Kuchemann on 5 July 2016
Format: Paperback

I was expecting a sentimental take on Grandmothers and their grandchildren with many anecdotes , but this is a collection of very candid and honest interviews with Grandmothers .
Reading of the relations with their grandchildren , not always successful or rewarding, is sometimes sad, but also joyous and funny . These interviews come over on many levels as they tell not only about the relationship with the grandchildren but are also very insightful to their relationships with their own children and even how they see themselves ...
I found it a very heartwarming and informative read , this is not just a book for Grandmothers , but as a Grandmother of five I thoroughly enjoyed it .

enjoyed book
By dixiejane on 5 July 2016
Format: Paperback

I enjoyed this book. I am very interested in the role of grandparents in society. I am interested in intergenerational relationships and think young and old can come together for mutual benefit. Would love to set up a surrogate grandparents service. Its lovely to see the world from a grandmothers point of view. I am sure its not always easy being a grandparent but it seems it can be a very wonderful thing.

The gentle voice of grandmothers is heard
By Amazon Customeron 5 July 2016
Format: Kindle Edition

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Grandmothers are so rarely written about and here we have them describing their experiences in their own voices. And it is amazing how similar those experiences are across cultures, classes, and languages. A little gem for all grandmothers
A 'good to have' book for grannies
By MaggieM on 11 Jun. 2016
Format: Kindle Edition

Happily I came across this book just after I heard I was to be a grannie for the first time, a time of complete delight with a dash of foreboding. I am very glad I found it. The book is just the thing for dipping into with all content taken from interviews with real grandmothers, some with many grandchildren and some with just one. It is easy to read, and like all good books, is amusing, has pathos and astonishes with the wisdom shown by the contributors...it has really made me think At my early stage of grandparenthood I empathised with the strong emotions from the chapter on becoming a grandmother; have scoured the chapter on doing things together in preparation for special days with my grandson. The chapter on different views of childrearing is very useful and not just as a reminder that just because I became a mum before my daughter does not mean my way of doing things is necessarily the best. This book is an investment, the views of grandmothers of all ages and nationalities on their feelings about grandparenthood is enlightening. I think the book will be useful for me as my grandson matures. Most of all what comes over in this book is that being a granny is a completely different experience from being a mum.

A stimulating and interesting read - not just for grandmothers., 13 Jun. 2016
By Amazon Customer
This book does what it says on the tin - it celebrates grandmothers. And it makes you think about what it is like to be one. I have awhile to go before I get there and I had not given it much thought as to what it would feel like, but this book gave me some real food for thought. It conveys the joy of having grandchildren (without the broken nights us mothers have to put up with) but also some of the difficulties that can arise from family arguments. It also shows that being a grandmother is not always as easy as it looks. Very stimulating and interesting.

A must read book.
By a reader on 24 April 2015
Format: Paperback

I read this amazing book eagerly to find which part of 'being a grandmother ' was me, let alone 'the celebration'. I was not disappointed and bought another copy to give both away to friends who I felt were 'real grandmothers' I am a go-between grandmother of one son and one grandchild who are not in touch with each other except by my love of both.

This book by Ann Richardson who I have now met and purchased another book replacing the one I gave away, is an amazing writer not getting in the way of her subjects and presenting a wide experience of being a Grandmother in other cultures and differing dilemmas of grand parenting that can speak to all who read it, something for everyone may I say - even grandfathers!.I commend this easy read that can be picked up and put down and continued as time and emotion allows.

An insight into the many different experiences of being a ... 3 Nov. 2014
By Vicky Dearing 
Format: Kindle Edition

This review is from: Celebrating Grandmothers: Grandmothers talk about their lives (Kindle Edition)
An insight into the many different experiences of being a grandmother - a really enjoyable book to dip into and hear their voices from different backgrounds - interesting reflections on the different relationships that need to be juggled - the author does not get in the way of allowing honest reflection to come through the book gives an insight into the huge amount of hard work done by grandmothers for their families.  A 'real' book version is going to my mum for Christmas!

I am a mum not a grandmother but I loved this book
By Linda M Davies on 29 Dec. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition

I am a mum not a grandmother but I loved this book! It explores the experiences of several grandmothers from different backgrounds and allows them to share their experiences with you the reader. Some of them have sad stories to tell, some funny, some moving. But without a doubt you come away enriched by their experiences, some very insightful advice and a lot of food for thought.

I have several years to wait yet before I become a grandmother but this is a book I will dip in and out of and learn from for a long time.

There is something in this book for everybody and it is a 'jolly good read'.
By Julia Avery on 8 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback

This compilation of reflections on being a grandmother is very insightful. Ann Richardson explores the fears and hopes, joys and sadness, beliefs and feelings of grandmothers from a broad range of backgrounds. It should be read not only by those newly honoured as grandparents or by those for whom it is a daily routine, but equally importantly by those of us who simply want to gain an understanding of their world. There is something in this book for everybody and it is a 'jolly good read'.

This is a wonderful book especially for anyone who is a Grandmother, 8 Dec. 2014
By Patricia McConnell

This review is from: Celebrating Grandmothers: Grandmothers Talk about Their Lives (Paperback)
This is a wonderful book especially for anyone who is a Grandmother. I have given copies to six of my friends who are all grandmothers and they all loved the book. They all said it was a really special present so a few more of my family and friends will be receiving copies.

Great Christmas Present!
By Interact CC on 24 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback

I loved reading this book - I am a mum (not a granny yet!) and so it was great reading about how different people felt about becoming a granny and what it meant to them. I loved it so much I have ordered one for my mum for Christmas, who is the most wonderful granny for my two boys.

5.0 out of 5 sta5Five Stars
By Kathy Baker on 17 March 2015
Format: Paperback|
The book arrived promptly and has been much enjoyed. Thank you.

From Amazon US (amazon.com):

Five stars
This is a wonderful book, yes
By Allison P. Coudert July 16, 2016

This is a wonderful book, yes, for grandmothers but not exclusively for them. It shows how important family bonds and the bonds between generations can be and thankfully often are. One of the problems of modernity is the that it places so many conflicting demands on individuals while offering so many distractions that we often forget where our true values lie. Ann Richardson’s book allows us to slow down a bit and take stock of how important nurturing relationships are for ourselves, our families, and the world at large


I found it fun to read about the various experiences of other grannies
By B. Weber on May 29, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

As a newer grandmother myself... I found it fun to read about the various experiences of other grannies! It's interesting to see what other's find helpful, their perspective, what's important to them and I've even gotten some new ideas to use myself. Ann covers so many aspects of this role we face as grandparents and presents them in an interesting, joyful way. Would make a nice gift... an even a way to announce there is a baby on the way! A nice way to celebrate grandmothers! :)

4.0 out of 5 starsI found it fun to read about the various experiences of other grannies By B. Weber on May 29, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a newer grandmother myself... I found it fun to read about the various experiences of other grannies! It's interesting to see what other's find helpful, their perspective, what's important to them and I've even gotten some new ideas to use myself. Ann covers so many aspects of this role we face as grandparents and presents them in an interesting, joyful way. Would make a nice gift... an even a way to announce there is a baby on the way! A nice way to celebrate grandmothers! :)
By Gail August on November 9, 2014   [this review was later removed by Amazon for no obvious reason]
Format: Kindle Edition

Richardson’s book is about grandmothers but it can appeal to anyone who is interested in families, children, or women and mothers. Her organization of interview topics is framed by comments which guide the reader through a cross section of attitudes and experiences in grandparent family relations. Reading grandmothers’ feelings about their impact on families leads one to reflect upon issues of age, mortality, and events that make life meaningful. All and all, it is a good read, and surprisingly thought- provoking.

As an added plus—this book makes a great present!

Grandmothers 16 September 2014
By Arthur Goldschmidt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback

Need to find a present for a grandmother, someone who will soon be one, someone who is married to one, or a person who is interested in family dynamics? This is a book about being (or wanting to be) a grandmother, containing testimonies from women of various cultures, discussing different aspects of the experience of grandmothering. It's easy to read. You can put it down and pick it up as your time permits. You can get it as an e-book if you prefer.

New grandmothers and longtime grandmothers a good view of the many aspects of this role in ...
By Ruth Abel on August 7, 2015
Format: Paperback

Ann Richardson has provided prospective grandmothers, new grandmothers and longtime grandmothers a good view of the many aspects of this role in her book CELEBRATING GRANDMOTHERS. It is fun to read and a means of comparing one's own style of grandmothering vs. those of others. It's a nice contribution to the limited literature on the subject.                
Ruth Abel, grandmother of 5.

Perfect gift for Mother's Day!
By Amazon Customer on April 25, 2016
Format: Paperback
Perfect Mother's gift for all moms! Ms. Richardson writes beautifully about the importance of taking time to value grandmothers and moms. Each story shares a moment in time to be treasured. Rarely do grandmothers get that special nod for all of their love, dedication and wisdom. Well worth the read!

Beautiful, touching testimonies from grandmothers
By Amazon Customer on October 15, 2015
Format: Paperback

Beautiful, touching testimonies from grandmothers. The recordings are unedited and spontaneous. They can be read in any order. An enjoyable read for all, whether a grandma, a mom or a daughter!

Submitted to Amazon.com but not published:

For Grandfathers Too!
I found this book to be very insightful into the inner thinking of many different life stories around the transformative experience of being a grandparent. Having recently entered this chapter, this is a delight not just for grandmothers, but for Grandfathers too.

From Amazon France (amazon.fr):

Par SINGH Gurmukh sur 4 décembre 2014
Format: Broché Achat vérifié

From its lovely cover to its last page, this book is a delight. A richly textured insight into the wide spectrum of feelings and experiences evoked by being a grandmother. It merits a wide audience.


My local newspaper, the Hampstead and Highgate Expresspublished a full page feature on the book on 20 November 2014.