Magnificent Mothers

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Magnificent Mothers

Stories to share for Mother's Day and beyond

Here's a diverse list of great picture books just in time to celebrate Mother's Day.  (Of course, these are good all year round for reading with little ones!)  Below are some favorites ranging from bedtime stories to more active tales.  

The Dillons have beautifully illustrated the perfect Mother's Day book - Mama Says:  A Book of Love for Mothers and Sons by Ron Walker.  Twelve cultures are pictured with a mother passing on words of wisdom to her son.  Make sure to look at the back cover of the book where the Dillons create a face from the twelve sons.

For separation anxiety, try the modern picture book classic, Owl Babies by Martin Waddell.  Three owlets wake up to find their mother gone!  They realize she is probably out hunting, but get worried when she doesn't come back right away.  This book is fun to do with different voices for the owls.

For a humorous story, there's Where's My Mom by Julia Donaldson.  A butterfly tries to help monkey find his mother.  However, she keeps leading him to the wrong types of animals.  This is a real crowd pleaser; the young get a kick out of the repeated "No, no no!" while older children understand the caterpillar-butterfly misunderstanding and humor.  Also, this book can be used indirectly on the theme of adoption, since not all mothers and children look alike.

For a nontraditional, touching story share In Our Mothers' House by Patricia Polacco.  A lesbian couple fills their house with love when they adopt three children of different races.  

My favorite comfort story (for siblings) is On Mother's Lap by Ann Scott.  An older brother is enjoying sitting on his mother's lap while his younger brother naps.  As he finds more stuff he needs, his brother wakes.  However, his mother proves there is always room "On Mother's Lap."  Rocking chair not required, but a bonus.

For fantastic fun, share Jonathan and His Mommy by Irene Smalls.  Jonathan and his mother like to take walks together around their neighborhood.  This is fun to act out, too.  You should at least try the criss-cross steps.

 A good bedtime or nap time book for young children is Mommies Say Shhh! by Patricia Polacco.  The repeated animal sounds also make this a fun participation story. If you pause before ending the repeated phrase you can also encourage older children to participate.  

For the young ones who enjoy flaps or have short attention spans, try Mommy, Where are You? by Leonid Gore.  A young mouse goes looking for his mother and finds several other things instead.  

A great book for those families who don't have mothers is Stella Brings the Family by Miriam Schiffer.  This is a child friendly story about not quite fitting in.  Stella has two dads and can't figure out who to bring to a Mother's Day event.  As families get more diverse, creative solutions like this are great to have.  

Finally, a great way to end Mother's Day with a young one would be to cuddle while reading the Cuddle Book by Guido Van Genechten.  I love an old colleague's suggestion to broaden the use of the book by changing the ending to "the best cuddle of all is...a mommy, daddy or anyone-who-really-loves-you cuddle!"