Robert Martin and Keira Ely have written two books together, “The Case of the Missing Crown Jewels,” and “SuperClara – a Young Girl’s Story of Cancer, Bravery and Courage” an Amazon No. 1 bestseller they wrote in honor of his younger granddaughter, Clara, who passed away Oct. 8, 2017, after a courageous battle with cancer. Robert is on a mission to help grandparents play a larger role in the lives of their grandkids.

“We grandparents can be an emotional rock, a wise friend and a playful elder; the ‘go-to person’ when parents aren’t available,” he says.

Here are some of his tips for grandparents to build closer relationships with their grandkids:

  1. Be In Touch Regularly – “That might mean Skyping or calling once a week, however you can connect with them,” Robert says. “Don’t just be visiting over the holidays.”
  2. Surprise Them With Outings – Robert likes to pick his grandkids up early in the day and take them on surprise outings (only the kids’ parents know where they are going) such as to a baseball game, a kayak or fishing trip, or a visit to a kids’ museum or animal shelter. “It could be something they’ve never done before,” he says.
  3. Use Terms of Endearment – Robert calls Keira “Gumdrop” and he called Clara “Cupcake.” He calls his two young grandsons “Scooter” and “Slugger.” And when he says goodbye to in person, in notes or on the phone, he has always uses the same phrase: “I love you ­­– big time!”
  4. Encourage Them to Think Outside the Box – Robert likes to brainstorm with his grandkids ideas for solving problems like city traffic. “There is a right answer that is safe, and there is a home run that has risks. (Ask) What is the home run? What does it look like?”
  5. Do Things They Wouldn’t Expect Grandparents to Do – When Robert ran the New York Marathon, for instance, his grandchildren “couldn’t stop talking to their friends about it.”

Robert and Keira are now collaborating on another book of The Keira and Papa Detective Agency series. The books star a 12-year-old girl and her grandfather, Papa, who are spies, a secret that no one else knows. Together they solve international mysteries. But the books are more than just whodunits. They celebrate the grandparent/grandchild relationship – a relationship in which 12-year-old Keira and her grandfather openly discuss many of the life mysteries young people struggle with everyday.

Robert’s website,, is designed to help grandparents and their grandkids build closer bonds with tools, activities and resources. Visitors can share experiencessolve mysteries, get advice and even adopt a grandchild if they don’t have one.