scrounge: /skrounj/ informal verb: to actively seek [books] from any available source
Since Mother's Day is coming up, I thought I'd collect a few favorite picture books that feature mothers. Of course, lots of books contain mother characters somewhere, especially books that are family focused. These specifically stood out as making the mother a major character in the story.
Are You My Mother?, by P.D. Eastman, is a classic that's been around since before I was born. I read it to siblings and now read it to my own kids -- several generations have enjoyed this story of the young bird hunting for his mother who, unbeknownst to him, flew off just before he hatched to find a worm for him. He gradually establishes that the hen, cat, dog, and cow are not his mother, and then moves on to inanimate objects, culminating with -- the "snort"! Young readers are often excited when he is finally reunited with his mother at the end.
Is Your Mama a Llama?, by Deborah Guarino, is another fun preschool book featuring lots of different mother/baby animal duos, introduced in well-written rhyming text. Each animal that Lloyd the llama encounters gives him a few clues about who their mama is -- following the rhyme and the pictures will probably make most of them easy for children to guess. This is another one that I've read both to siblings and to my own kids.
A great book for growing families, On Mother's Lap, by Ann Herbert Scott, communicates a mother's unending love not only for a "new baby," but also for the first child to reassure them that they are loved just as much. The older brother in this simple story is a bit unwilling to share his mother's lap with a baby sibling (though this is not explicitly stated, a bit of jealousy can be inferred from his actions). But she reassures him that there is always room on mother's lap as she rocks both of her children together. While also not explicity stated, this story is set in an Inuit village.
This bestseller is a popular read-aloud for children who are going off to kindergarten for the first time. The Kissing Hand is the story of a mother raccoon who helps her baby cope with being away from her by giving him a kiss in his hand. That way, he can keep it with him and bring the kiss out whenever he misses her or needs a little encouragement. Very heart-warming, and even though we homeschool this is still such an important aspect of love to communicate to children.
A Chair for My Mother, by Vera B. William, is geared toward older children than the others on this list, but I like how it captures a realistic situation in a low-income community and shows a mother and daughter working to better their lives, bit by bit. After a fire destroys their home, Rosa and her mother and grandmother collect coins to buy a nice comfortable chair for Rosa's mother. She works as a waitress and spends a lot of time on her feet, so when she comes home at the end of a long day, she wants a nice place to rest. After they save up enough money, they get to reap the benefits of their labors and pick out a chair that is just right for all of them.
Ten Cents a Pound is a short, poetic, back-and-forth conversation between a mother and daughter, portraying their bond and love for each other. The mother gently encourages her daughter to dream, to learn, and to leave the village to attend school, while the daughter highlights the hard work her mother does and thus her reluctance to leave her.
The book simultaneously draws attention to the difficulties of living with low wages, while optimistically looking forward to the opportunities and possibilities of the future due to education.
The lovely illustrations are both realistic and wistful, and while this story may require some additional explanations for young children, it paints a beautiful picture of determination and potential.
(Thanks to NetGalley for the advanced review copy.)
Scrounged From: NetGalley
Author: Nhung N. Tran-Davies
Illustrator: Josée Bisaillon
Content Advisory: None