24 Best Books for Moms to Read this Mother’s Day
Best Books for Moms
Here are some of the best books for moms of all varieties to read this Mother’s Day.
The Valley of Amazement
by Amy Tan
Spanning more than 40 years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement is about three generations of women. Like much of Tan’s work, the mother-daughter relationships are central to the story. But it’s also a compelling and beautiful work of literary fiction that definitely makes a great gift for all kinds of other reasons.
A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini
In Khaled Hosseini’s heartrending second novel, the author turns his attention to the women of Afghanistan. If your mom enjoys the kind of book that makes her cry, this one might be a good bet, truly one of the best books for moms.
Confessions of a Scary Mommy: An Honest, and Irreverent Look at Motherhood – The Good, the Bad, and the Scary
by Jill Smokler
I think we’re almost there. We are at the end of that era where mommyhood and parenting were glossed over and sugarcoated and idealized in a way that made everyone feel like they were getting it all wrong. And thank goodness. Because of truth-tellers like Jill Smokler, we’re finally getting somewhere on this mothering ride—to the fun part. This groundbreaking book is hilarious, poignant, and unapologetic. Every mother should have it as well as a sense of humor if they hope to get anywhere with this childrearing gig.
Things We Left Unsaid
by Zoya Pirzad (Author), Franklin Dean Lewis (Translator)
Things We Left Unsaid is a story of a frustrated suburban housewife. It is set in Iran prior to the Iranian Revolution. But it could just as easily come from the United States, or the U.K., or anywhere else suburban housewives can be found. The main character battles with marriage, motherhood, as well as her simmering feelings for the new neighbor. This novel could make an excellent pick for any mom.
Wherever You Go, There You Are
by Jon Kabat-Zinn
This is one of the most straightforward, least intimidating, and gentlest books on meditation. This guide on centering oneself, quieting the mind, and awakening to the world around us is an invaluable addition to any harassed mom’s library. Jon Kabat-Zin, the founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, leads readers on a basic yet beautiful journey of living in the moment. With chapters like, “You Don’t Have to Go Out of Your Way to Practice” and “Can Anybody Meditate?” this life-affirming, peace-invoking gem is a friend to busy moms everywhere. This is one of the best books for moms on meditation.
Goddesses in Everywoman: Powerful Archetypes in Women’s Lives
by Jean Shinoda-Bolen
This is a classic book on female psychology from the early 1980s. It is still timely and profound more than 30 years later. The author offers up seven archetypal goddesses, from Artemis and Athena to Demeter and Aphrodite, to describe the patterns, thoughts, feelings, and life approaches specific to women. Mothers will enjoy the riveting philosophy behind the book. They will especially appreciate it for the way it inspires them to reach for greater fulfillment in a realistic way, by becoming conscious of the stereotypes outside and the archetypes within.
Cooking with Trader Joe’s: Dinner’s Done
by Deana Gunn and Wona Miniati
This cookbook is from the authors of the bestselling original “Cooking with All Things Trader Joe’s”. This insanely simple cookbook is a collection of easy dinner solutions that will tame the mealtime rush. Discover new ways to make quick and healthy meals.
Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink
by Katrina Alcorn
Katrina Alcorn was a 37-year-old mother who had a successful, full-time career, three great children, and a loving husband. In her attempt to juggle the needs of her boss and clients with those of her young children and husband, she’d neglected to find time for herself. The slightest setback in a carefully plotted schedule, such as a sick child, threw her life into disarray, to the point where she could no longer function.
“Unfortunately,” she writes, “the juggling act of working and parenting can put you in a perpetual state of fight or flight. The adrenaline glands start producing stress hormones like mad…Eventually, the nervous system maxes out, and the body goes haywire.” When she did manage to balance all the details, she felt guilty. At work, she wanted to be with her kids; at home, she thought about work. She came to realize through support groups and research that she was not alone in feeling overwhelmed. Alcorn’s stirring account is important for American women who are trying to chase their own version of economic independence. She offers helpful suggestions and techniques to combat the inevitable stress encountered along the way. One of the best books for moms on the brink.
Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year
by Anne Lamott
This the most honest, wildly enjoyable book written about motherhood. Anne Lamott is a single mother and ex-alcoholic. She writes about her son Sam’s first year. She responds to changes, exhaustion, and love Sam brings with composure or outright insanity. The book rocks from hilarious to unbearably touching when Sam’s flourishing life is played out against a very close friend’s illness. This touches on the confusion and bewilderment that follow sweeter emotions during the sea change in one’s life. One of the best books for moms, especially first-time mothers.
Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be
by Rachel Hollis
Each chapter starts off with a lie that the author at one time believed: something else will make me happy, I’m not good enough, I’ll start tomorrow, etc. Through her own life experiences, she shares how she came to learn the truth and offers action steps on how you can break away from the lies, too.
The books is a humorous, powerful read that is easy to follow. The solutions the author gives us are everyday solutions, things that everyone can implement into their daily life, whether through physical action or personal thought.
The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering our Children
by Dr. Shefali Tsabary
This is a parenting book like no other. Dr. Tsabary’s theory is that children “function as ushers of the parents’ development” and serve as “mirror of their parents’ forgotten selves.” The book is compelling, wise, and pioneering. It inspires parents to connect with their true essence, so they can move toward a relationship with their child that is one of pure communion. As one reviewer aptly put it, “This book is a game-changer.”
Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys
by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson
We have all heard the dangers of telling boys “not to cry” and to “keep a stiff upper lip,” but this book outlines exactly why suppressing our sons’ emotions is one of the most heartbreaking this we can do as parents. In this book, Dan Kindlon, Ph.D., and Michael Thompson, Ph.D., two of the country’s leading child psychologists, share exactly the challenges boys face at home, school, and on the athletic field. It also discusses how we can help them develop and adopt the most important gift of all: emotional literacy.
Ophelia Speaks: Adolescent Girls Write About Their Search for Self
by Sara Shandler
Ophelia Speaks is a collection of first-hand accounts from teen girls nationwide (from various races and economic statuses) that voices the concerns and struggles of young women — from body image and boys to parents and school. This book of real, raw insight is immeasurable to mothers raising girls — reminding us of who and where we once were and how we can best lead and nurture the next generation of women.
Running Like a Girl: Notes on Learning to Run
by Alexandra Heminsley
With humor and honesty, Heminsley tallies the anxiety and exhilaration she felt when she decided to try running in her mid-30s. This candid and funny look at her decision to “become a runner” is inspiring for moms who may have felt tempted to give jogging the old try, but have resisted out of failure, fear of looking silly, or just plain uncertainty of how to begin. Heminsley’s lighthearted tale of transformation from non-athlete to five-time marathoner is both inspiring and entertaining.
Mom Life: A Snarky Adult Coloring Book: A Unique & Funny Antistress Coloring Gift for Moms to Be, New Mommys, Pregnant Women & Expecting Mothers Relief and Mindful Meditation
by Papeterie Bleu
This is not a book. It is a coloring book for adults. But as a mom, it is important to take time out for yourself. This coloring book for adults is a perfect fit for all moms to spend their time relaxing. This book has 32 elaborate pictures waiting for you to relax, color, and space out with a great cup of coffee or your favorite drink! Cheers moms!!
Forever, Erma: Best-Loved Writing from America’s Favorite Humorist
by Erma Bombeck
No mother’s library is complete without at least one book by Erma Bombeck – the definitive funny mom who made a household name for herself as America’s most humorous columnist in the 1960s. Erma took motherhood, marriage, and housewifery and turned them upside down and in the process gained millions of devoted fans through her candor and serene brilliance.
Parenting: Illustrated With Crappy Pictures
by Amber Dusick
This illustrated gem is hilariously funny. It is based on the blog of the same name. Author Amber Dusic takes parenting’s most formidable moments and brings them to life in poorly-rendered but humorous cartoons. This sampling makes a great bathroom book for any mom because it deals with a lot of crappy moments through crappy drawings. Actually, forget about the bathroom book part. Moms never get to go in there alone. It just makes a good, all-around book. One that she can read when she’s hiding in the closet with the Halloween candy.
Running With Scissors: A Memoir
by Augusten Burroughs
This book is the true story of a boy whose manic-depressive poet mother gave him away to be raised by her unconventional psychiatrist who looked like Santa Claus. At the age of twelve, the boy found himself amidst prudish squalor living with the doctor’s eccentric family and befriending a pedophile who resided in the backyard shed. Running With Scissors is the story of an outlaw childhood where chaos, a year-round Christmas tree, Valium and an electroshock-therapy machine reign.
Mom & Me & Mom
by Maya Angelou
In this invaluable autobiography, Maya Angelou finally explores her complex relationship with her mother, Vivian Baxter, who sent three-year-old Maya away from California to live in Arkansas with her grandmother and brother. After a decade, Maya and her mother reunited and began to heal their broken relationship. This beautifully wrought book details the healing. It is written in a way only Maya can write, with equal parts courage and eloquence. One of the best books for moms.
Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life
by Glennon Doyle Melton
In Carry On, Warrior, the author shares her personal story in poignant, refreshing, and hilarious new essays. Her writing invites us to believe in ourselves, to be brave and kind, to let go of the idea of perfection, and to stop making motherhood, marriage, and friendship harder by pretending they’re not hard. In trying to love herself and others, the author shows that we can build better lives in our hearts, homes, and communities. But most of all, readers will find a wise and clever friend.
The Can’t Cook Book: 100+ Recipes for the Absolutely Terrified
by Jessica Seinfeld
Jessica Seinfeld provides a book for those convinced the can’t cook. Jessica provides delicious recipes with easy-to-follow steps for anyone hoping to crank out something decent for family or friends. This cookbook is especially helpful for moms too busy to Google the difference between broiling and boiling.
Go the F**k to Sleep
by Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortes
Let’s not beat around the bush: kids are terrible sleepers and they make you want to swear. This book is so irreverent, funny, spot-on true, that if you’re offended by it, you must have one of those perfect kids who never needs a drink of water after 5:00 p.m. Anyway, this book. Buy it. Love it. Read it. Maybe even to your kids.
What My Mother Gave Me: Thirty-one Women on the Gifts That Mattered Most
by Elizabeth Benedict
This is an anthology of thirty-one personal essays, including some from award-winning novelists and journalists. The anthology attempts to answer the question: what was the most important thing your mother taught you? This collection is not too drippy and filled with plenty of bracing honesty and humor. It is a great reminder of how significant a mother is.
Sh*tty Mom: The Parenting Guide for the Rest of Us
by Laurie Kilmartin, Karen Moline, Alicia Ybarbo, Mary Ann Zoellner
This anti-parenting book is just the cure for all those well-meaning how-to books that offer up advice on cloth-diapering and making your own baby food. It is written by four really funny moms/TV producers/comedy writers. In this uproarious accomplishment, you’ll learn all about “How to Sleep Until 9 A.M. Every Weekend,” and how to “Stop Not Taking the Easy Way Out.” Totally uncensored and unapologetic, this belongs in that diaper bag you’ve been using for vodka. Maybe not one of the best books for moms, but still a good read.