At our house, we love to read!
Reading has been an important part of our bedtime and naptime routines since my daughters were babies. Our favorite books are read again and again.
Here I share our favorites whose themes are centered on a mother’s love. I hope you’ll be reminded of some of your favorites, and maybe find a new one to love and share with your own children this Mother’s Day and beyond.
Someday by Alison McGhee and Peter H. Reynolds
This beautiful, simple story is a mother’s musings about the unfolding of her daughter’s life, from babyhood to childhood to becoming an adult, and her desire for her daughter to live life to the fullest.
“Someday, you will run so fast and so far, your heart will feel like fire.”
The poignant writing is complemented by simple, touching illustrations. Get ready–this is a tearjerker. My daughters like looking at the pictures and the words, but honestly, this is a book that means more to me than to them.
I gave a copy to my mother who loves it as well.
2. Mama, Do You Love Me?
Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse and Barbara Lavallee
This is my favorite mother/daughter book. It is a sweet story in which the daughter asks her mother a series of questions to explore the limits of her love.
“Mama, do you love me? Yes, I do, dear one. How long? I’ll love you until the umiak flies into the darkness, the stars turn to fish in the sky, and the puffin howls at the moon.”
My older daughter and I can recite this one by heart. It’s about the unconditional, forever love of a mother for her daughter. It has beautiful illustrations, and I love the setting of Inuit culture in the book. I highly, highly recommend this one for babies on up.
3. The Runaway Bunny
The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd
I read Goodnight Moon with both of my daughters and loved it, but somehow I never read this one until recently. And I love it! It is one of the most powerful books about a mother’s love I’ve ever read. Similar in theme to Mama, Do You Love Me?, this one tells the story of little bunny, who explores what would happen if he ran away from his mother.
“If you become a bird and fly away from me,” said his mother, “I will be a tree that you come home to.”
Nothing can stop her from finding her bunny and bringing him back into her arms of love. The handpainted illustrations are surprising and stunning, and really bring the words to life. This is another favorite among favorites.
4. Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You
Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman
This one I love for its touching declaration of how the mother’s love will find her children wherever they are. It especially resonates with me since I have to be apart from my older daughter when she is at her dad’s.
“Make a big splash! Go out on a limb! My love will find you. My love can swim!”
The mixed media illustrations are interesting and different, created in Tillman’s distinct, fanciful style. The pictures depict a child playing or interacting with all sorts of animals. This book, like all of Tillman’s books, features the theme “You are loved.” And I love that.
5. Love You Forever
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw
In this beautiful classic, a new mom cradles her baby and sings to him a special lullaby.
“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”
As he grows older and older, she continues to sneak into his room, and “if he’s really asleep, she rocks him back and forth, back and forth, and as she rocks him, she sings…”
The words and pictures are touching and sweet. Get out the tissues for this one, too. Both of my daughters love it. The lullaby in it is part of our lullaby repertoire now. I just made up the tune.
6. Koala Lou
Koala Lou by Mem Fox and Pamela Lofts
This is a sweet book about a little koala girl who has lots of little brothers and sisters and a mama who is very busy taking care of them. Koala Lou misses being little and having all of her mother’s attention.
She misses her mother saying, “Koala Lou, I do love you.”
She decides to do something big to get her mother’s attention and have her say that again, so she enters a tree climbing event in the Bush Olympics.
I got this with my older daughter in mind, when I was expecting her younger sister. Now that she is 7, she enjoys it more than ever.
It also has really beautiful, colorful pictures, and I love all the Australian animals in it.
7. If I Could Keep You Little
If I Could Keep You Little by Marianne Richmond
This is a sweet book about the bittersweet experience of watching our children grow up. Parents muse about keeping their children little, but how that would also mean missing all the special joys of watching our children as they grow up and gain independence.
“If I could keep you little, I’d kiss your cuts and scrapes. But then I’d miss you learning from your own mistakes.”
Both my seven-year-old and three-year-old love this book. My older daughter and I are not crazy about the artwork, but that didn’t stop my daughter from saying, “I love this book” the other day. I also appreciate that the illustrations feature parents and children of different ethnic backgrounds.
8. On Mother’s Lap
On Mother’s Lap by Ann Herbert Scott and Glo Coalson
A little boy discovers that his mother’s lap has plenty of room for him, his toys, and his little sister. I love the setting of modern Alaskan Inuit culture, and the watercolor illustrations are beautiful.
“There is always room on mother’s lap!”
This is especially good to read when a new baby is on the way or a child is having a hard time dealing with the changes that accompany a new sibling in the house.
9. Mommy Hugs
Mommy Hugs by Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben
This book has lovely painted illustrations of various animal mothers and their babies. I especially like that it uses the correct names for the baby animals.
“Mommy swan hugs her cygnet with a cuddle.”
It is especially good for bedtime reading and cuddles with a baby or toddler.
10. Kiss, Kiss!
Kiss, Kiss! by Margaret Wild and Bridget Strevens-Marzo
I picked this book up at the bookstore for Valentine’s Day one year, and both children have enjoyed it. Little hippo says goodbye to his mother and walks through various terrains, noticing all the other little animals kissing their mamas. Suddenly he remembers something he forgot to do.
With its simple repetition and various animals, it’s especially great for toddlers, preschoolers, and early readers. The brightly painted illustrations are cute, too.
11. Ladybug Girl and Her Mama
Ladybug Girl and Her Mama by Jacky Davis and David Soman
If you like Ladybug Girl, this is a good one to add to the collection. It’s sweet and shows a simple day enjoyed by Ladybug Girl and her Mama. Just know that it’s much shorter than the regular Ladybug Girl books, with a very simple story.
12. Mommy Hugs
Mommy Hugs by Karen Katz
We have read this one so many times. It’s definitely one of our most read books. I love Karen Katz books, and this one doesn’t disappoint. It is a counting book, following all the hugs from mommy, from the moment baby wakes up, ’til the time she goes to sleep at night. The inimitable Karen Katz illustrations are lovely, and really add to the story. One of my favorite parts is when the dog is seen in the background chewing on baby’s special teddy, and in the next picture, mommy is hugging her and comforting her. Later in the book we see that mommy has repaired the teddy bear as promised.
“five ‘Mommy will fix it!’ don’t-cry hugs”
This bright, colorful counting book is especially good for babies and toddlers.
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Which of these do you and your children love, too? What other books about mother’s love are on your list of favorites? Please share in the comments below.