It’s time to tell Mom how much you love and appreciate her. But, hopefully, you express loving thoughts to her continually. Here are some great picture books to help celebrate Mother’s Day. Except for the last two books, which are geared for adults, all of these books are good for all ages.
A Gift for Mama, by Linda Rain Lodding, and uniquely painted with alkyd paint by Alison Jay, showcases the perfect gift for mama. Oskar searches with his single coin for that perfect gift and finds a delicate rose which he purchases. But soon he is persuaded to trade it for a paintbrush so he can paint a picture for his mother. Before he knows it, he has traded everything and ends up with nothing, or does he? The pictures in the book are beautiful renditions of Vienna with a unique process of using crackle varnish making each picture appear older than it is.
Mama’s Day with Little Gray, by Aimee Reid, and sublimely painted with soft pastel hues by Laura J. Bryant, reflects love reinforcing a positive self-image, protection and support as a mother elephant and her calf meander through the grassy fields. Little Gray imagines what it would be like if they both switched places. Little Gray said, “When the sun rose high,” “I would lead us to shade and watch over you”. And then Mama responded, “You would be smart and strong”. The importance of growing up in confidence, and surrounded by love, is a strong message throughout this precious book.
A Mom for Umande, by Maria Faulconer, and beautifully illustrated with oil glaze in an extensive process by Susan Kathleen Hartung, is about a baby gorilla, Umande, whose mother didn’t know how to take care of him. So the zoo-keepers at the Colorado Zoo helped take care of him for eight months. But he needed a mother, so they sent him to live with an experienced gorilla mom in Ohio where he had success with the nurturing, loving bond that he needed from a mom. This is an excellent book that celebrates adoption.
Taking Care of Mama Rabbit, by Anita Lobel, is the sweetest celebration of mothers and their love of family. When Mama rabbit gets sick, Papa heads out the door to get medicine. But while he’s gone, all ten of the bunny children begin to help in their own unique ways. One bunny brings her hot chocolate, another a book, and on and on. By the time Papa returns home, Mama greets him with a smile and happily explains that her little bunnies made her feel better. Lobel’s artistic design of using gouache and watercolor reflects a folksy style making each picture of the inside of their home feel cozy and warm.
Mama Built a Little Nest, by Jennifer Ward, and magnificently illustrated with collage by Steve Jenkins, is more a science picture book. Each bird displayed here shows how the mother bird cares for the eggs she is about to lay by a building a strategic foundation to make the nest safe and fit for her babies. Each nest is different according to the type of bird. There is much to learn through rhyme and factual text as well as the pictures of each bird and nest. But as we learn, fathers build nests too and in some cases, like the emperor penguin, protect and warm the eggs. The last two pages showcase a child’s nest: their bed in the comfort of home.
Breathe, by Scott Magoon, is filled with hues of blues and contrasts with starched whites as you see a baby whale begin to explore his world in the ice. His mom is with him at the beginning and end of his adventure as she advises and helps. One of her final comments at the end, besides breathe, is “love and be loved.” When the baby swims deep down to explore, the picture goes along the length of both pages, making you turn the book.
Women of Faith in the Latter Days, Volume Three 1846-1870, edited by Richard E. Turley Jr. and Brittany A. Chapman, showcases inspiring stories and journals for twenty three outstanding women of the Church who lived during the mid 1800’s. Some of these women are well known, others are not, but all are amazing and will surely uplift all who read about them. Most of these faithful servants married and raised families, but Edith Ann Smith never married. She was a cousin to Joseph Smith Jr. and was raised in a huge family of fifteen brothers and sisters. She was a dedicated historian and temple recorder of the Smith family and traveled from Salt Lake to Vermont to help with the unveiling of the Joseph Smith birthplace monument. She loved her family and especially her mother whom she lived with for many years until her mother’s death. You get a real sense of her love of life through her journals. There are inspirational stories about every sister in this book. For example, Mere Mete Whaanga was a Maori of New Zealand. She married and had four children when the missionaries came knocking at her door. After she became baptized, the gospel changed both her and her husband. They sacrificed much and it took many years before they fulfilled their dream and came to Utah.
The Light We Share, by Harriet R. Uchtdorf, is a smallish sized book that reminisces about Sister Uchtdorf’s experiences coming to America for what she thought would be just a temporary assignment with the Church. She called it their “overseas assignment” thinking that she and her husband would shortly be returning to Germany and their family. But what she has learned from being a member of our Savior’s church is “to be flexible and to adjust our plans to respond to His expectations of us.” And through the many experiences they have had “the light and truth of the gospel touched the members of our family and because of it my life changed forever”. By reading this beautifully written book, filled with uplifting photos, the light we share can make a huge impact on our family – and beyond.