Mother's Day

Looking For a Book for Mom? Here Are Our Top Picks For Mother's Day

If mom's too busy to pick out a book these days, help her out so she can cozy up with one of these great reads.

By Bethany Ritz May 11, 2023

This list of books is filled with titles that are contenders for a solid Mother's Day gift or even a great book club read. Get one you know your mom would love and another for yourself and read them together. While you're at it, if mom's too busy to read these days, here's a great list of ways to help her out so she can enjoy herself this summer.

Soil: The Story of a Black Mother's Garden by Camille Dungy

This book was just released on May 2 and promises to be a landmark text on how we talk about the natural world and the environment. Through her essays, Dungy explores all facets of life—motherhood, family history, American history, world history and the hyper-local—as she returns again and again to the transformation of her garden. This book is a lesson in resilience, perspective and gardening itself. Philosophical but digestible and nourishing.

When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams

Just before Tempest Williams' mother passed, she gave her daughter all of her journals with one request: that Tempest Williams not open them until after her mother's death. When Tempest Williams finally did, the journals were all blank, leaving the author to go on a poetic process of discovery and meditation on motherhood and the mother-child relationship. 

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

This New York Times bestselling book has been talked about a good deal, and if you've not gotten it yet for your mother, go for it. Vuong began his career as a poet, so this book is filled with language that feels as nourishing as it does new. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is his debut novel—written for his own mother, who couldn't read—and reaches back to their Vietnamese roots and history. 

The Ice Cream Parlor Mystery Series by Abby Collette

If your mom is into a lighter beach read, this series by Abby Collette is the right one to get. It emerged from the cozy mystery genre, which Collette has also mastered. The three books in this series include A Deadly Inside ScoopGame of Cones and A Killer Sunday. They're fun summer reads with cozy and charming family dynamics.

World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Nezhukumatathil is another poet turned essayist who's become a New York Times bestseller. These short, bite-sized essays are beautiful considerations of wonder and delight. NPR called it the best book of 2020. It points us back to things that we are paying less and less attention to—the small delights of our living world. 

Femina: A New History of the Middle Ages, Through the Women Written Out of It by Janina Ramirez

This is for the mothers who are interested in history. Written by Oxford and BBC historian Janina Ramirez, this book lights up the unseen women throughout the Medieval world. Ramirez uses engaging narratives to tell the stories of countless influential women whose names have been struck out of historical records. For example, did you know there was a female king in medieval Europe? 

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

This book was a bestseller on some major lists: New York Times, Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Kimmerer is a botanist and a citizen of the Potawatomi Nation, and her essays navigate both the science of and the human relationship with plants. Like Dungy's Soil, Kimmerer brings in her own experiences of being a mother and shares the transformations of the living world around her home. 

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