A day that celebrates moms is a perfect reason to cuddle up with your child and a good story.
“Books are a great way to remind toddlers and early preschoolers how much their mothers care about them,” says Anna Hall, an associate professor of early childhood education at Clemson University. “I have many warm memories of reading to my own children.”
From stories about shared nighttime routines and gained independence to a spotlight on different cultures and languages, a wide variety of titles celebrate the maternal bond.
Hall, who taught early elementary education for a decade, shared 10 of her favorite books — and why they’re fitting for Mother’s Day:
“A Chair for My Mother” by Vera B. Williams
A family with three generations living under one roof has a fire. The mom, child and grandmother work together to save coins in a jar to buy a comfortable chair. It’s a great lesson about working toward goals together.
“Floating on Mama’s Song” by Laura Lacamara
Every time a little girl’s mother sings, she has this magic power with her voice; things start to float. Her grandma orders her daughter to stop singing, but she changes her mind after the little girl discovers the family secret. The book is written in English and Spanish, and it shows generational love.
“Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney
Here, the Little Nutbrown Hare asks Big Nutbrown Hare: “Guess how much I love you.” They use different metaphors to compare how much they love each other — with the parent and child each using larger measures to symbolize their affection.
“The Hello, Goodbye Window” by Norton Juster
A child makes trips to her grandparents’ house and, from her point of view, explains how they would wave to her as she arrived — and left — through the same window. The little girl says how she hopes to have a window just like that in her own house when she’s an adult.
“The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn
The story helps children cope with separation anxiety as they head for school. Here, the mother raccoon tells her child that if she kisses the child’s hand, he can hold his paw around the “kiss.” And then the little racoon goes on his way. It illustrates that a mother’s love is always with you.
“Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch
I’ve always loved this one. It’s about a child growing up and becoming an adult. But the message is: No matter how old you get, I’ll still be your mom. As the story goes along, she comes to the son’s house and rocks him as an adult. It’s a beautiful story — and a tearjerker.
“Mama, Do You Love Me?” by Barbara M. Joosse
A young child in an Inuit family tests the limits of a mother’s love (“What if I put salmon in your parka … and lemmings in your mukluks?”). Even though the child has tested the limits, the bounds of her mother’s love — “more than the whale loves his spout” — are unshaken.
“On the Night You Were Born” by Nancy Tillman
The writing is super poetic with a lot of metaphors (the moon stayed up till morning, the geese flew home to celebrate, polar bears danced). It’s really celebrating how a mother’s love begins right at birth, how special the day is and how that love continues.
“The Runaway Bunny” by Margaret Wise Brown
A little bunny tells his mom that he’s going to different places; the mother bunny’s response is always the same. If he goes to the mountains, for instance, she will become a mountain climber. No matter what, she would go to the ends of the earth to be with him.
“What Moms Can’t Do” by Douglas Wood
Illustrated with dinosaurs, the book explains that moms can help you do things like get ready in the morning. But what moms can’t do is end the day without tucking you in, telling you how much they love you and sharing other special moments. It’s humorous and really cute.
It’s never too early to foster a love of books. Learn why reading to your baby is beneficial.