Mother’s Day Books

While we’re celebrating moms, think back to the books that you associate most with your mothers and grandmothers.  Here are a few of my favorites:


Pat the Bunny, by Dorothy Kunhardt

I swear my Nonna read this to me every time I visited her house when I was little.  I remember sitting side-by-side with her on her green couch and poking my finger through the ring page.


Kristin Lavrensdatter, by Sigrid Undset

Once I grew up, this was the novel Nonna urged me to read as one she loved herself.  She promised it would change with me over time, so I should read it while I was young.  The historical epic of a Norwegian girl who defies her loving father and marries for passion gave Nonna and me plenty to talk about.  I’m due for another read, and I have an old, used copy of it standing by.



A Girl of the Limberlost, by Gene Stratton-Porter

Summer nights, up at the cabin, my mom read this out loud to me and my siblings when I was a tween.  The story of a girl exploring the beauty and latent power of the limberlost was perfect for my own time in the woods.  Mom was reading it a chapter a night to us, but I would steal the book to read ahead.  I reread Elnora’s story every June.


Seventeenth Summer, by Maureen Daly

I throw this in because my mom routinely tells me I have to read this novel, but for some reason, I never can get into it.  Since Mom has now given a copy to my daughter, I can borrow hers.  Maybe.   Moms love us even when we don’t do what they tell us to do.



These Old Shades, by Georgette Heyer

Really, just the name Georgette Heyer summons the image of paperbacks piled beside my mother’s bed.  Mom was always reading them when I was growing up, and as my sisters and I hit our teens, she passed the romances along to us.  Who can resist a girl in disguise as a page?
Nowadays, Mom and I share Julia Quinns with similar gusto.



At Home in Mitford, by Jan Karon

My mother-in-law and I have consumed this series of the inimitable Fr. Tim and his parish in fictional Mitford, NC.  How the stories can be both light and tear-jerking mystifies me, but they make me want to slow down, sit back, and be a kinder person.


What are some of the books you connect with your mothers and grandmothers?  I’d love to hear.  Special hugs to you, Mom!  Mmuah!

3 Responses to Mother’s Day Books

  • I’ve read all the Mitford books, too. I just have always known Dawn and I had it under the skin.

    What have you always read to Em?

    It is definitely time to read KRISTIN again.

    Happy Mothers’ Week!

  • Hi Caragh —

    The works of A. A. Milne (with illustrations by Ernest Shepard). Not only “Winnie the Pooh” and “House at Pooh Corner”, but poems, too — “When We Were Very Young” and “Now We Are Six”. The sad part is that I don’t have any actual memory of my mom cuddling me in her lap and reading to me — that’s all long gone, and yet it must have happened. It’s so with almost all of our early childhood, and yet we must remember it way deep down. I’m sure it’s the source of a general feeling of well-being that I feel daily.
    Actually, my mother’s biggest contribution to my reading life was one summer day, probably between first and second grade. We were walking back from the library (in the old courthouse on the town green), past the elementary school on the sidewalks of great uneven paving stones — back in dear old Grover’s Corners, my home town — and by the time we had reached home I had already consumed my three Dr. Seuss books. “Why don’t you take out chapter books next time?” “I could do that? Read those big long books?” And so I could, and so my life was changed.
    Also, thanks to Mom for my love of opera. All those Saturday afternoon broadcasts from the Met finally took hold years.
    Thanks, Mom. I miss you.

  • Mom ~ The Mitford books are irresistible. Em and I swap Julia Quinns, too! Maybe you and I should reread Kristin together. In all our free time.
    Jim ~ Your memories here are so lovely and resonant. What a great mom. You do her credit. I’m still voting for Kiri Te Kanawa as the sweetest Verdi soprano.
    All best,

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