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written by Janet Halfmann

illustrated by Christy Tortland

Every day on the bus to school, new student Mateo stares out the window, wishing he had a friend to talk to . . . until one morning, when he spots something surprising in an apartment window—an older woman is smiling and waving to the bus!

For the next few weeks, Mateo and his classmates wave to the nice lady they lovingly nickname “Grandma,” and she always waves back. But one day, Grandma is missing from her window, and she’s not there the next day, either. Mateo and his classmates must work together to find Grandma and make sure she’s safe and happy.

Grandma’s Window is a story of friendship and kindness that shows us that, no matter how young or old you are, the best way to bring joy into your life is to give it to others.

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Meet the Author

Janet Halfmann is an award-winning children’s author who strives to make her books come alive for young readers and listeners. She writes about family and community, animals and nature, and about little-known people of achievement. Janet has written almost fifty fiction and nonfiction books for children, including The Clothesline Code: The Story of Civil War Spies Lucy Ann and Dabney Walker, for Brandylane Publishers.

Janet was formerly a daily newspaper reporter, children’s magazine managing editor, and a creator of coloring and activity books for Golden Books. She is the mother of four and the grandmother of seven. When Janet isn’t writing, she enjoys gardening, exploring nature, visiting living-history museums, and spending time with family. She grew up on a farm in Michigan and now lives in South Milwaukee, WI.

Press Kit


Format: Hardcover, Paperback, E-book

Pages:  32

ISBN HC: 978-1-958754-51-1

ISBN PB: 978-1-958754-52-8

ISBN EB: 978-1-958754-53-5

Release Date: 8/4/2023


“This heart-warming story shows what can happen when people of any age reach out to each other. Spirits are lifted, people are included, stories are shared. The simple act of waving at someone who waves back sets off a chain of caring among age-mates and generations. The goodwill and creativity young Mateo uses to connect his schoolmates to Grandma will inspire readers and their families.”

–Jane Heitman Healy, retired librarian


Grandma’s Window shines a light on the ageless ache of feeling lonely and the power of kind reactions like empathy and concern. Connections cross window glass and distance, bridged by caring children and helpful adults. Entertaining and uplifting.” 

–Sandy Brehl, children’s author, reviewer, and retired elementary teacher


“This heartfelt story shares the reality of loneliness in the aging community. It also shows how a simple act of kindness can change the perspective of a child. Readers can view this story as a call to action to offer friendship and kindness to anyone they see alone.”

–Kristi Bernard, writer, and book reviewer at Kristi’s Book Nook


“Mateo is lonely as he looks out the bus window. He notices Grandma waving each day and he waves back! Can a simple gesture such as waving out the window help him make new friends? What happens when Grandma is no longer waving at her window? Mateo learns compassion for others in Grandma’s Window. Based on a true story, Mateo discovers how smiling faces and waving hands can change a life. The illustrations portray a diverse community of school friends who help an elderly person feel less lonely. This important intergenerational story will inspire young people to care for others.” 
–Susan Apps-Bodilly, retired elementary educator and author of One Room Schools and Seeds in Soil: Planting a Garden and Finding Your Roots

“This charming story shows how small, kind acts can build goodwill and friendship throughout a community.”

–Rochelle Melander, author of Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World through Writing

Meet the Illustrator

Christy Tortland is an illustrator, author, and designer based in Connecticut. Inspired by fairytales, classic children’s illustration, and imaginative fantasy, she pursued drawing and digital illustration to fully realize dynamic characters and visual storytelling. With a BFA in Illustration from Lesley University College of Art and Design and an MFA in Creative Writing for Children from Simmons University, Christy has worked with publishers such as HarperCollins, Red Line Editorial, and Brandylane Publishers.

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