Reading with Mom

Whether it's a family tradition, a favorite story, or a tender lullaby, these books are filled with lots of reasons to celebrate mothers! Many of the titles are bilingual or are available in Spanish. For more great books about mothers and grandmothers, take a look at:

In addition, don't miss the following video clip of teacher Bobbi Ciriza Houtchens. Bobbi shares a moving tribute to her mother and explains how her mother's experiences as a young child inspired Bobbi to become a teacher.

A Chair for My Mother

After a fire destroys their home and possessions, Rosa, her mother, and her grandmother save their money to buy a big comfortable chair. Suffused with warmth and tenderness, A Chair for My Mother celebrates family love and determination. A Caldecott Honor book. Spanish version also available.

Angelina's Island

Age Level: 3-6

Every day, Angelina tells her mother she wants to go home. Not to their new city home, cold and gray and unfamiliar — but their old island home, sunny and colorful and filled with rainbow-colored fruits and birds. Angelina believes she'll never feel at home in this new place, until her mother finds a wonderful surprise in the newspaper. A beautiful tribute to the traditions of the West Indies, Carnival, and the longing for home that young immigrants will recognize immediately.

Arrorró, Mi Niño: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games

A selection of nursery rhymes and games from different countries are presented in this book in both Spanish and English. The rhymes are accompanied by gentle illustrations. Music appears with lyrics (again in both languages) at the end of this pleasing book.

Cora Cooks Pancit

Illustrated by: Kristi Valiant
Age Level: 6-9

Cora wants to learn how to cook, but she's too young to do the jobs her older siblings do. One day, however, after the older kids have all gone out together, Cora asks her mother what they can cook together. To her surprise, Cora's mother asks her what she would like to make, and Cora chooses her favorite Filipino noodle dish, pancit. This family story about the importance of sharing tradition is brought to life by Kristi Valiant's charming illustrations and includes a bilingual glossary of Tagalog words.

Erandi's Braids

Illustrated by: Tomie dePaola
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: The yellow dress Erandi wants for her birthday will look beautiful with her long, thick braids. But Mama's fishing net is full of holes, and there isn't enough money to buy both a new net and a birthday dress. The only solution lies with the hair buyers from the city. But Mama's hair isn't nearly as beautiful as Erandi's. Will Erandi have to choose between her birthday present and her braids? This touching tale of love and sacrifice is sprinkled throughout with Spanish words and expressions.

From North to South

When Mamá is sent to a detention center in Tijuana because she doesn't have the right immigration papers, José must get used to life without her. He and his father visit Mamá at the center, where they talk about the future in which they will be together. Based on the experiences of René Colato Laínez's students, both he and illustrator Joe Cepeda strike the right balance of honesty and hope in depicting this difficult yet common situation for families along the border.

Good Night Captain Mama

Illustrated by: Linda Lens
Age Level: 6-9

A little boy is walking to his bedroom when he notices his mother in an olive-green military flight suit. His curiosity about the colorful patches on her uniform evolves into a bedtime conversation between a military mother and her child about why she serves and what she does in the unusual KC-135R aerial refueling airplane. He drifts off to sleep with thoughts of his mommy in the airplane and the special surprise she gives him. This unique book was written by a Latina military officer and former aviator. Bilingual text.

Home at Last

Illustrated by: Felipe Davalos
Age Level: 6-9

When Ana's family comes to the U.S., she can tell that her mother misses their life and family in Mexico terribly. In addition, she doesn't want to learn English, and she relies on Ana and her husband to translate. Soon, however, Ana's mother realizes that English may be the key to finally feeling at home in her new country. A touching tribute to the children — and their parents — who have come to the U.S. for a better life.

How Far Do You Love Me?

Age Level: 3-6

A warm portrait of universal parental love begins on a beach when a boy asks his mother, "How far do you love me?" Lyrical responses combine with stunning double page illustrations in places around the globe until the boy is tucked into bed with his response: "I love you to the moon!" A world map and the query in each language conclude this tender book based on a bedtime game Lulu Delacre played with her young daughters.

Hush! A Thai Lullaby

Illustrated by: Holly Meade
Age Level: 0-3

A loving mother asks animals from a water buffalo to a lizard to "hush" so her baby can sleep. Once the noises stop, the mother herself sleeps — and the baby is now awake! Textured illustrations evoke the Thai setting and convey the understated humor of this unique bedtime book.

Love to Mamá: A Tribute to Mothers

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Paula Barragan
Age Level: 6-9

Thirteen poems rejoice in Latina women, their diversity, and their roles. This short, illustrated collection celebrates Spanish-speaking countries as well as bilingualism in the United States. Illustrations swirl across each page, combining computer generated and traditional art with energetic results.

Love You Forever

Every night, a mother sings to her child, "I'll love you forever/I'll like you for always/As long as I'm living / My baby you'll be." A lifetime of love makes for a beautiful and moving conclusion to this children's classic when the child grows up and returns to take care of his mother. "A humorous, sentimental page-turner that rarely — let's say never — leaves a reader with a dry eye." — Gayle MacDonald, Globe and Mail.

Mamá and Me

Illustrated by: Rudy Gutiérrez
Age Level: 3-6

Product Description: For a bilingual girl and her mamá , a loving bond is about being together…and independent. Arthur Dorros's skillful and subtle blend of English and Spanish narrative, illustrated with bold, striking paintings by award-winning artist Rudy Gutierrez, offers readers a poignant reminder that every day with Mamá is sweet.

Mama Had to Work on Christmas

Illustrated by: Robert Casilla
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: In this short chapter book, we meet Gloria, who always spends Christmas with Papi, Mama, and Nana. But this Christmas, Papi is away picking oranges and Mama has to work at the hotel where she is a maid. Gloria soon discovers that the lavish decorations and foods piled high on the tables are only for the guests. How Gloria moves from disappointment to understanding makes for a poignant story that honors the true spirit of the Christmas season.

Mother Bridge of Love

By: Anonymous
Illustrated by: Josee Masse
Age Level: 6-9

This poem, submitted by an anonymous adoptive mother to the Mother Bridge of Love charity in London, tells the story of a birth mother and adoptive mother who never meet but are connected by their love for a little Chinese girl. Exquisite paintings illustrate the many ways in which the two women's lives, dreams, and hopes are intertwined, as well as the limitless love they each feel for the little girl.

My Mom

"She's nice, my mom." Through a child's words, we meet a mom who can sing like an angel and roar like a lion while taking care of her family in so many different ways. She is indeed a Supermom! Young readers will recognize some of their favorite things about their mothers in the imaginative illustrations of this simple, loving tribute.

Owl Babies

When they find their mother gone from the nest, three owlets worry that their mother won't return, but of course she does. Stunning illustrations combine with repeating text for a reassuring story.

Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born

Recommended by Latrice – I love this book because it beautifully tells the story of adoption in a way that tells adopted children that: you were chosen and special; you were a part of this family from the beginning; and your birth parents are wonderful people who loved you enough to allow you to become a part of our family. Spanish version also available.

The Remembering Stone

Illustrated by: Claire B. Cotts
Age Level: 6-9

Each morning in the early fall, Ana and her mother watch the blackbirds fly away. "One day I will return like you," Ana's mother tells the birds. Ana knows that her mother is thinking of her homeland, Costa Rica, and Ana'a grandparents. When Ana holds a special volcanic stone that her mother brought with her, she is certain that someday they will return together. A tender depiction of the nostalgia and dreams of an immigrant family.

The Ugly Vegetables

By: Grace Lin
Age Level: 6-9

In a neighborhood of flower gardens, a Chinese-American girl and her mother plant what the child considers to be ugly vegetables. The ugly vegetables, however, become attractive and help build community when made into a delicious soup! A recipe is included.