The Power of Intergenerational Friendships Shines in ‘Ms. Ruby and the Gigi Squad’

The Power of Intergenerational Friendships Shines in ‘Ms. Ruby and the Gigi Squad’

‘Ms. Ruby and the Gigi Squad: Friendship Comes In All Ages’

Author: Vickie Rodgers

Illustrator: Vidya Valsudevan

Themes: anti-ageism, intergenerational, friendship, seniors, grandparents, elderly

Book Cover with children sitting around elderly woman. The Power of Intergenerational Friendships Shines in 'Ms. Ruby and the Gigi Squad'

Befriending A Lonely Senior

‘Gigi’, a grandmother, knows her elderly friend, Ms. Ruby, has been feeling sad and lonely lately. Gigi gathers her grandchildren, Avery, Caroline, Will and Cole, to come up with a plan to cheer her up.

“She was a nurse for a long time and has cared for many people. She doesn’t have any grandchildren and sometimes that makes her feel lonely…”

Ms. Ruby and the Gigi Squad: Friendship Comes In All Ages by Vickie Rodgers and Vidya Valsudevan

The grandchildren, also known as the Gigi Squad, decide to go visit Ms. Ruby to get to know her, and that’s when their special bond takes hold. The children love spending time with Ms. Ruby and, with the help of their Gigi, they’re constantly planning their next activity together. They organize a tea party, an outing to a school musical, and a halloween trick-or-treat for their dear friend.

As the story unfolds, it’s obvious the children and Ms. Ruby have practically become family and the story culminates with one grand gesture for their beloved ‘bonus grandma’.

Book pages with elderly woman looking sad. The Power of Intergenerational Friendships Shines in 'Ms. Ruby and the Gigi Squad'

A True Story About Bridging The Age Gap

The most wonderful thing about ‘Ms. Ruby and the Gigi Squad’ is that it’s based on a true story. Author Vickie Rodgers is ‘Gigi’ and her own grandchildren, Avery, Caroline, Will and Cole, make up the ‘Gigi Squad’. The children, with the help of their grandmother, actually befriended long-term care resident Ms. Ruby and made her their bonus grandma.

The message in ‘Ms. Ruby and the Gigi Squad’ is incredibly unique and it’s not a topic that draws enough attention. Young readers will see what it’s like to connect with those who are older and see the benefits of intergenerational friendships.

It will inspire young people to build connections that bridge the age gap and form mutually beneficial relationships, that they may never have considered before. With parental assistance, seniors can offer inspiration and wisdom to children and children can offer companionship and joy to seniors.

Ms. Ruby loved everything about the tea party. “Thank you, Caroline,” she said. “This has been a tea party I will always remember.”

Ms. Ruby and the Gigi Squad: Friendship Comes In All Ages by Vickie Rodgers and Vidya Valsudevan
Book pages with tea party.

Colourful Illustrations Children Will Connect With

Vidya Valsudevan’s colourful illustrations will connect children with this wonderful story. The tea party illustration particularly stands out for me and reminds me so much of spending time with my own grandmothers. The backdrop of the scene is a lush, green garden and in the foreground, a table is set with a patterned table cloth and vintage teaware. It’s so incredibly charming!

Final Thoughts

‘Ms. Ruby and the Gigi Squad: Friendship Comes In All Ages’ is an inspiring picture book that will encourage young readers, with the help of their parents, to forge new friendships with elderly people. The message of anti-ageism is an often over-looked topic, especially in children’s literature, and that’s why I am thrilled to review and recommend this one-of-a-kind book. ‘Ms. Ruby and the Gigi Squad‘ is a fantastic tool to help educate young minds and will spark change in the conversations we have about seniors in our communities.

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