Word(s) To Your Mother: Books for Mother’s Day

That’s a Vanilla Ice reference, as I’m sure you expected. This year is my first Mother’s Day with Maeve here with us and I’m looking forward to seeing what she has planned for me. At least, I think that what she’s been working on after she “goes to sleep”. I’m not fooled.
I’ve been thinking lately about books and the relationship of them with the people who raise us. Many of us who love reading were also fortunate enough to have loved ones who read to us often.  I’m grateful for lots of book-related memories, like the ones I have of my mom reading me the Little House books every night and the thrill as a kid of picnicking in our “library room” surrounded by books. I’ve heard several authors talk about seeing their moms always with a book in her hands and the impact that had on them. It seems like I’m always hearing studies done about the tremendous effect that reading books with your kids has on their whole lives and I believe I’ve seen the difference that can make with the students I used to teach.  With these thoughts in my head, I’ve become very curious: Do certain books remind you of your mother? Is it one she read to you or one that you connect with her for another reason?
If you have kids, do you have books or reading memories that you want them to associate with you when they’re older?  I hope that someday Maeve will think of me with many books, but I’m particularly looking forward to sharing Harry Potter and the Betsy Tacy books with her. I wonder if she’ll remember the funny voices we do with the books we read aloud or if she’ll look at pictures of us reading with her asleep on our chests and think of how much her parents love reading (and her).
This is a list of books, with a few gifts at the end, that you might want to get for your own mother (and the other women in your life who play mother roles) or that you might just want to read yourself. In fact, I’d highly recommend sending this link to whomever tends to spoil you, perhaps accompanied by some heavy-handed hints. You might have to periodically remind them that they need to allow time for shipping if it’s for Mother’s Day. Sometimes you have to be clear about your expectations, right?

On The Nose

These are books that more specifically fit into the mothering realm.

Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother by Beth Anne Fennelly
This one is special. It’s a series of real letters written between a former teacher and student who became close. Beth Ann Fennelly is a poet and her gentle advice and musings on motherhood are gorgeous. It’s the perfect gift for the expecting or young mother, but I think would be appreciated by any mother as a beautiful capsule of such a precious and hard time.

How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber and Julie King
I read this one recently and kept thinking to myself, “Of course! That’s so smart!”. The strategies are practical, clearly laid out, and easy to try.

Letters to My Mom
Prompts like “I always think of you when…” are guaranteed to have a mom in happy tears, which is the goal, right?


If you and your mom read together or you want to have something that you know you’ll treasure with your children.

Becoming Dr. Seuss by Brian Jay Jones
I recently read about this new release and it sounds fascinating. Did you know Geisel and Hemingway were writing in the same cafe in Paris?

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I’m swooning a little bit over this 150th anniversary edition that’s also illustrated.

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux
For a true fan to dig deeper.

Prarie Fires by Caroline Fraser
This Pulitizer Prize is a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, which might make the perfect grown-up accompanient to what may have been, or currently be, a favorite bedtime read.

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables lovers, have you read this gem? Or Jane of Lantern Hill?

Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown by Maud Hart Lovelace
If you haven’t already read the Betsy Tacy series, PLEASE DO. It’s got all the charm of your sentimental favorites and is a classic that those who know about absolutely treasure. I’d recommend potentially starting with Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown, since the writing ages with the characters, but you’ll be able to quickly figure your path out yourself. The important part is that you start this series pronto so that you can fall in love with Deep Valley and the Ray family.

Something Sweet

I like books that might be described as comfort reads. They’re not empty, but they’re a wholesome and satisfying read that leaves you feeling good.

At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
Prepare to fall in love with the ridiculously charming town of Mitford. This is the first in a series that follows Father Tim and the cast of characters in the town. These are so cozy and wholesome.

Bewildering Cares by Winifred Peck
I haven’t read this one yet, but I stumbled on it recently and the premise of the diary of a vicar’s wife at the beginning of World War 2 who is a little bit too sharp and witty for the stereotypical role? I’m so intrigued.

The Mingham Air and Landscape in Sunlight by Elizabeth Fair
These are another two I stumbled on during that search and ones that I really want to read. They sound so perfectly charming, plus, how pretty are the covers?

Illustrated Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I want this so badly. Unabridged and with the best illustrations. I saw it in person when we were in England and it’s gorgeous. Also, not sure how they make any money off of it with a price like that?

44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith
A quirky cast of characters to fall in love with in beautiful Edinburgh. This is the first in a favorite series of mine.

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson
A sweet Cinderella story in a whirlwind of a magical day. This is a quick read that will leave you feeling content.

Meet Me At The Museum by Anne Youngson
This book blew me away. Thoughtful explorations on the significance of life in a letter exhange between two strangers. This is SUCH a special one. (I received a free review copy of this one from Flatiron Books.)

Conversation Starters

These books will give you something to think and talk about.

Station Eleven by Emily St. Mandel
Rereading this one made me only appreciate is genius all the more.

The Road Back To You by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile
There is so much to unpack here and this book will give you fascinating insight into everyone you know!

See also: Quiet and The Highly Sensitive Person

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
I love the idea of doing a readalong with your mom on a classic like this. Despite its page count, this one truly is a page turner and the Penguin Clothbound edition is gorgeous.

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
This one is going to be a movie starring Kerry Washington, so it’s accompanied by a built in excuse to get together. It would be so fun to be furiously texting back and forth during this thriller about…a missing newborn.

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell
Russell’s sense of humor makes this an especially enjoyable read, but I particularly think it would be interesting to really consider what makes a place home to you and what you want out of where you live.


This Mother of Dragons T-shirt for the Game of Thrones fan who might find this shirt too real some days. F-O-X books mug for someone who loves You’ve Got Mail and these Gilmore Girl themed socks.  I feel like most of us can appreciate notebooks and somewhere prettier to write those to do lists.  This mug made me laugh, these Hillery Sproatt blankets are beautiful, all the jewelry from Wolf and Moon is so darn pretty, and I know I’d take one of everything from East Fork Pottery.

What do you typically do on Mother’s Day? What books remind you of your mom or the mother figures in your life?

If you would like to join in on the fun, please go to the submissions page!

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