Motherhood is hard. It can be exhausting and frustrating and totally tedious. But it’s equally exhilarating and endlessly rewarding. Whether it’s the first time you set eyes on your newborn baby, the hundredth time you kiss away a boo-boo, or the thousandth time you watch your child fall asleep, the love you feel, as a mom, can take your breath away. It can heal your heart and soothe your soul. Yes, a mother’s love knows no bounds—it’s limitless, unconditional, and absolutely awe-inspiring. In honor of Mother’s Day, we’ve rounded up 13 funny, sweet, and poignant picture books that celebrate the miraculous bond between a mom and child. There are no words that adequately describe this kindred connection—but these books about moms come pretty close.
Bloom: An Ode to Spring, by Deborah Diesen and Mary Lundquist
While there are aspects of motherhood that are immediately satisfying, many of the efforts of parenting take time to bear fruit. This story shares exquisite details of a mother and daughter’s day spent planting bulbs together. Once the bulbs are tucked into the earth, the seasons change and it’s hard to imagine how “something so small could ever possibly grow big and tall.” Bloom they do, though. This book is the perfect reminder to stop and “Just look…at what has grown!”
Love, Mama, by Jeanette Bradley
Moms have a knack for knowing what to say and do to make a hard situation easier. A young penguin misses his mama dearly when she has to go away on a trip. When a box arrives in the mail for him, it’s filled with just the right message of enduring love to make the distance manageable. Their reunion when Mama returns home is full of joy, just like the experiences of many children who are thrilled to see their moms again after an absence.
The Best Mother, by C.M. Surrisi and Diane Goode
Many children wonder, at some point, whether it would be more fun to have a different kind of parent—perhaps one that doesn’t have rules, or make demands about teeth-brushing, sun-hat wearing, or other bothersome tasks. As young Maxine surveys potential replacement candidates, though, she slowly comes to a surprising revelation; no one else can quite measure up to the mother she already has.
That’s Me Loving You, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Teagan White
Being a mom often means navigating the competing urges to stay close by and leave space for independence. When separation is necessary, kids experience it acutely, wondering if love can still exist across physical distance. This list of reassurances—The rain is “me missing you,” a mosquito is “me bugging you,” and a cloud is “me thinking of you” and so on—is perfect for characterizing a mother’s unwavering love on Mother’s Day, or any time of year.
I’ve Loved You Since Forever, by Hoda Kotb and Suzie Mason
How many times a day does a mother look at her child and marvel at how he or she came to be? Hoda Kotb wrote this simple text written to celebrate the adoption of her daughter, Haley Joy. As the narrator lists the ways she’s loved her child “since forever,” two stars inch closer to each other from across the page spreads. Finally “the day our stars would cross” arrives, giving parents a perfectly tender way to explain to children how they became a family.
Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw
“I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” A mom sings these sweet words to her child every night. Even after he becomes an adult, she cuddles him close and whispers this lullaby. But, when she grows old and ill, he scoops her up in his strong arms, instead, and recites a slightly different version. It’s an especially emotional moment that conveys this simple truth: no matter how big you get, you’ll always be your mom’s baby—and she’ll forever be your mommy.
If I Could Keep You Little, by Marianne Richmond
The days are long, but the years are short. Yes, babies and toddlers make for challenging times, indeed. But these simultaneously tender and tough moments are fast and fleeting. In the blink of an eye, your baby will grow into an independent, opinionated person. And, while we may wish that our children could stay young and small forever, we also want to watch them evolve and thrive. “If I could keep you little, I’d keep you close to me. But then I’d miss you growing into who you’re meant to be.” Now isn’t that the truth?
Someday, by Alison McGhee and Peter H. Reynolds
We all have hopes and dreams for our children. In this bittersweet book, one mother speaks to the many milestones of childhood and ponders the adult life her little one will lead “someday.” She envisions her child as a mother and, further in the future, with hair that “will glow silver in the sun,” knowing that when that day arrives, her daughter will remember her.
You Made Me a Mother, by Laurenne Sala and Robin Preiss Glasser
“You were a pea. Then a lemon. Then an eggplant.” That’s how motherhood begins—with a tiny tummy flutter and the realization that life has forever changed. This beautiful book does an incredible job illustrating the unbreakable connection between a mother and child.
Silly Wonderful You, by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Patrick McDonnell
A baby changes everything—adding laughter, mess, volume, adventure, and silliness to life every day. But most of all, a little one brings lots of love and boundless joy. A mom expresses all of the crazy, chaotic, and extraordinary ways that having a child has transformed her world in this humorous and heartwarming read.
Mama, Do You Love Me?, by Barbara M. Joosse and Barbara Lavallee
“What if I put salmon in your parka… and ermine in your mukluks?” A little girl playfully teases her mom and tests the limits of her love. Of course, her mother remains unfazed, answering in lively and lighthearted ways, “I love you more than the dog loves his tail, more than the whale loves his spout.” This classic picture book, set in Alaska, is both beautifully descriptive and gorgeously illustrated.
Mom School, by Rebecca Van Slyke and Priscilla Burris
Moms know everything. They know how to bake and play sports and pump bicycle tires and tuck their kids into bed just right. There’s only one explanation: they must have taught these important life skills at “Mom School.” One kid imagines all the things her super-prepared mother likely learned in a classroom full of caretakers in this bubbly, bright book.
Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You, by Nancy Tillman
Like all of Tillman’s iconic tearjerkers, this magical picture book, which begins with the heartfelt sentiment, “I wanted you more than you’ll ever know,” inspires readers with dazzling imagery and touching text. In short, the message is this: a child is never without his mother’s love—it moves, it swims, it flies, and follows him wherever he may go. “It never gets lost, never fades, never ends,” regardless of what happens, what you do, or how you feel. Wherever you are, your mother’s love will find you.
Happy Mother’s Day!