I come by my love of reading naturally.
My mom is an avid reader and an English major, and hundreds of my childhood memories involve books and my mom.
She read aloud to us faithfully almost every night for years (even when I was in high school), while my sisters and I braided each others hair and painted our nails. If we really needed another chapter, we could usually convince her if we painted her toenails while she read.
Once, when we were reading Beauty, I woke up in the middle of the night to see her sitting in the hall outside my room finishing the book by the glow of the hall light.
We went to the midnight release of the 4th Harry Potter book, which was still a fairly small event (and then the subsequent ones too).
She used to say, “When I’m reading a good book, my children go hungry and naked.” Now, as a mom myself, I can really appreciate that sentiment, since when I’m in the middle of a good book, I basically just want to park myself on the couch for 4 hours.
I’m not much of a book buyer (librarian for life!), but my mom is, and I owe a lot of my book collection to her.
All of which is to say that books for moms is a home-run gift for Mother’s Day or any other holiday!
Here is a big selection of the best books for moms that would make winner gifts for this year. The best part about this list is the wide variety of topics and genres, so there is something for everyone!
Plus, the great thing about books is you can stop by the bookstore and pick up a book at a moment’s notice. No speedy shipping costs (or shipping costs at all!).
13 fabulous books for mother’s day
A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg
I actually DID give this one to my mom for Mother’s Day about ten years ago and she loved it (and then she lent it to someone who never returned it, so maybe I should just re-gift it this year). (Full review here)
Dancing at the Pity Party by Tyler Feder
You don’t expect to laugh this much in a graphic memoir about losing your mother to cancer. And yet, this book manages to be both utterly delightful and absolutely heartbreaking. Whether you’ve lost a loved one and need to feel less alone in your grief or just want a book about the bond between a mother and daughter, this one is an absolute winner. (Don’t be afraid if you’ve never read a graphic novel!).
Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
This is a family favorite. Ignore the movie – they have zero similarities except for having twelve children. Laugh, cry, and love every page. Full review.
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
If your mom loves fairy tales and fairy tale retellings, this is a slam-dunk winner. My mother-in-law, who has flawless book taste, gave this to me years ago and it was an instant favorite and has been a part of the Everyday Reading Book Club, I love it so much! (Full review here)
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
When my mom came out to help me with my first baby, she read nearly half the book aloud to me. Whenever I think of those first days of motherhood, I think of this book. This one is one of the books to buy mom on audio, because it’s really great to listen to. (Full review here)
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
I loved this one so much I immediately emailed my mom to say “READ THIS” and she did in about a day and a half and sent me back a long email with her thoughts about the book. Just one of the reasons I love my mom. (Full Review here)
We Should All Be Millionaires by Rachel Rodgers
You know I can’t resist a money book and this one was so good and quite different than a lot of the money books I’ve read in the past. It got me so fired up! It’s ultra-readable and really inspired me, and after I mentioned it last year, my mom texted me to tell me she was reading and enjoying it!. It’s full of practical tips, not just high level information.
These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner
My mom gave ME this book more than a decade ago and it’s remained one of my all-time favorites. It makes for a great Mother’s Day book! (Full review here)
First Mothers: The Women that Shaped the Presidents by Bonnie Angelo
My mom bought me this book when she came up to visit me at college my freshman year. I remember it clearly because it was SO nice to get off campus to visit a bookstore and also because it was one of the only (if not THE only) non-school book I read that year.
Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
If regency romances are your mom’s thing (and even if it isn’t), this is a fun read. I seriously loved it! (Full review here)
All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina SoontornvatI
If I had to choose a single favorite book from 2021, it might be this one. I picked it up when it won the Newbery Honor and then was BLOWN AWAY by it. I had only the vaguest recollections of the news stories around the boys’ soccer team in Thailand that got stuck in a cave during the rainy season, but I knew basically nothing beyond that. If you want non-fiction that reads like a thriller, this is it. (Full review here)
Room by Emma Donaghue
Told from the point of view of a little boy who, with his mother, lives in captivity in a garden shed for five years until they escape and try to adjust to a normal life again. This is parenting like you probably haven’t experienced (thankfully). (Full review here).
What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
This is one of his best, I think, and the stand-alone essays mean it’s easy to read a bit at at time. Great book for a mom that doesn’t sit down for long periods of to read. (Full review here).
Are there any other books for mom you love to gift or you have gifted to your mom? Let me know in the comments!
And if you’d like a printable copy of this list of books for moms so you can take to your library or screenshot on your phone for easy access, just pop in your email address below and it’ll come right to your inbox!
Now THIS is the Mother's Day list I've been waiting for, my friend. My mom is so hard to shop for because she doesn't like "stuff". She's rather us bake her brownies then go to the store and buy her anything. But she does love a good book. I think I'll get her the First Mothers one…great suggestions!
I just realized that you're actually going to be with your mother for Mothers' Day. What a treat for her (and for you). Enjoy the beginning of your summer and fall adventure.
Just wanted to say that every single line of this post makes me smile. You are delightful and I love waking up to read your posts. Happy Mother's Day!
Kate Rogge says
Alright, you've convinced me to try again on "These Is My Words." You've never steered me wrong before, but for whatever reason, I just REALLY couldn't get through the first 100 pages on my first attempt. I'm ready to be proven wrong with take two. Happy Mother's Day to you!!
Rachel (and Will) says
Ok, I'm going to dive in and write my first comment just to tell you how much I love your book lists (for kids and adults). I was a voracious reader growing up, but grad school (too much school reading) slowed me down for a couple of years. Your book lists got me reading seriously again AND going to the library again. So, thank you! I didn't know how much I missed books.
Camels & Chocolate says
Have you read Emma Donaghue's latest book? I can't wait to pick it up. Loved Room, disturbing as it was.
These is My Words is my all time favorite book. Every time I read it (and we're way over 20 by now) I bawl. I know what's going to happen, I know how much they love each other but it still just makes me weep. I've written papers about it, I've dreamed about and I swear I even sometimes think of Jack and Sarah as real people. The author is also really great, I emailed her to tell her how much I love her writing and she RESPONDED! I was blown away. We now have this great email friendship (if you can call it that). Such a wonderful story.
Yes, yes, yes! To A Homemade Life, The Happiness Project and What Alice Forgot. All of those have helped me a better mum in very different ways from each other. And now I have a list of other books I want to read. =)
Camille Millecam Whiting says
I love These Is My Words!
This makes me happy because I saw your list and thought, "Oh, I already bought my mother-in-law a couple of books – too bad I didn't see your list first." Then I read it and saw that one of the ones I bought already, "What Alice Forgot," was on there! I LOVE that book!
Laura H says
Jennifer Whitcomb says
Will your next recommendation be how to chase Edenbrooke? My 18 y.o. daughter has read it at LEAST four times, as it has become her default in-between books go-to read. On your recommendation, I bought it for her for Christmas. BEST.GIFT.EVER.
Thank you for this list! The month of May is a big one for my mom: wedding anniversary, Mother's Day, and birthday all in one month! I get a little frantic each time May comes around, because I want to get her something she will actually use and love. Ta-da! I found your great book list and straightaway ordered "First Mothers" for her. It's perfect!
I'm just browsing your book reviews on your blog tonight. I especially liked reading about your fun reading sessions with your mom and those sweet memories you shared. 🙂 Thanks for sharing so much with us through your blog 🙂
Whenever I read a book that I think my mom will like, I write it down on a special list that I keep in a secret drawer, called "books for mom" and then I buy them for her for birthdays and Christmas. 🙂
Hollis Buckley says
Lite-Brite Magic Screen, Lite-Brite lets kids create images with light … Dinosaur Toy Blaster, 2 in 1 Transformers Toys For Kids – Build & Take Apart Cool Tyrannosaurus …. and the paper is too thick to punch through and impossible to line up.
She Taught Me to Eat Artichokes is a picture book but such a lovely gift for a mother or teacher or mentor.
I loved These is My Words! And All Thirteen was one I read on your recommendation and have used it in a sacrament meeting talk and have recommended it to others. I also liked The Happiness Project and Goose Girl. Adding What Alice Forgot to my to read list. I usually either buy my mom an LDS book (nonfiction/biography) or some kind of experience like TOFW or something like that. But we still have our tickets from TOFW from last year (thanks a lot Covid) so it’s going to be a couple of books this year. Thank you for the recommendations!