Inclusive Books to Celebrate and Honor Mother Figures
Mother’s Day is May 8!
This post is dedicated to every type of tenderhearted, compassionate, brave, hardworking, accepting, inspirational and one-of-a-kind mother figure in your life.
We know that this holiday can sometimes be a challenging and emotional one, and our hope is for every child (and grown up!) to find a story that resonates with them about their own lived experiences.
This inclusive list of books features stories about nurturing and industrious mothers, supportive and encouraging aunties and grandmas, and bonus moms and friends who make kids feel loved.
For our complete list of recommendations and to purchase and/or donate, visit our Bookshop page.
Below are some of our favorite recommendations that celebrate and honor mother figures - just in time for Mother's Day!
Mama: A World of Mothers and Motherhood
Author: Helene Delforge | Illustrator: Quentin Greban | Publisher: Floris Books
This book is unlike any other in this category. Instead of featuring one storyline, it is a collection of emotional insights about motherhood - spanning all over the globe, across different cultures and times.
Each page features a new reflection and corresponding illustration that portrays the best and hardest aspects of motherhood, never shying away from the deep complexity that comes with being a mother. It is incredibly unifying as well and demonstrates how all mothers are alike in the love they have for their children.
Author: Sarah Kate Ellis & Kristen Ellis-Henderson | Illustrator: Max Rambaldi | Publisher: little bee books
The book, All Moms, speaks to the sentiment that there’s no perfect way to be a mom, but there are infinite ways to be a great one. This story shines as an inclusive and visual representation of all types of moms - some kids have two dads, some have one mom, others have a grandma. Some moms are always late, some moms love to craft and paint, “but all moms’ love is as big as the sky.”
I’ll Hold Your Hand
Author: Maggie C. Rudd | Illustrator: Elisa Chavarri | Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Step aside, Love You Forever and Goodnight Moon, I’ll Hold Your Hand is the quintessential book to give new parents and caregivers of babies and small children. It is beautifully inclusive and authentically represents the world we live in. I’ll Hold Your Hand is about the millions of big and small ways that families care for, support and love a child through the phases of their lives. The bright and floral illustrations feel like a breath of fresh air - perfect for Mother’s Day and spring!
My Love for You is Always
Author: Gillian Sze | Illustrator: Michelle Lee | Publisher: Philomel Books
This is a sweet story that begins with a young child asking his mother, “Mama, do you love me?” When she answers, “of course I do,” he follows it up with, “but what is love?” In the next pages, she tries her best to explain what love is - what it might feel like, look like, smell like, sound like and taste like.
My Love for You is Always is the perfect book for a curious little one and a great pick for bedtime. It is a touching and tenderhearted story that feels like a warm hug!
Author: Gayle E. Pitman | Illustrator: Violet Tobacco | Publisher: Magination Press
This is a gender-inclusive story about a young child and her Maddy. Her Maddy is a parent who is not a girl or a boy, they’re a parent who is “not one thing or the other, but in between, and kind of both, and something entirely fantastically their own.”
My Maddy is such a special story about a wonderful and supportive parent, and their adoring and sweet child. It includes a thorough note to readers that offers resources for helping families and communities who are looking to better uplift and support people navigate and affirm gender identity.
Author/Illustrator: Vanessa Brantley-Newton | Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
This is a sweet ode to the magic of Grandmas. In this story, Grandma Mimi’s special purse is full of all the best things and makes everything more fun - you never know what you will find inside! The vibrant and fun illustrations and joyful story make this a special one to share with someone you love. Don’t miss some of our other favorites by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, including Becoming Vanessa and Just Like Me.
We also love these books for grandmas: The Keeper of Wild Words (for grandmas who love nature), Grandmother School (for grandmas who never stop learning), What Will You Be? (for grandmas who help us dream big), Tomatoes for Neela (for grandmas whose love language is food), When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree (for grandmas who enjoy sharing experiences) and I Dream of Popo and With Lots of Love (for grandmas who live far away from their littles).
Ten Beautiful Things
Author: Molly Beth Griffin | Illustrator: Maribel Lechuga | Publisher: Charlesbridge
Ten Beautiful Things is about a grandma and her grandchild, and the quiet and touching ways they connect and uplift each other during a difficult time. They create beautiful memories and connections while taking a long road trip together.
While it’s never explicitly stated, readers get the sense that the little girl is leaving one home with her family to start a new life living with her grandma. This is a wonderful book to share with children - it encourages us to notice and appreciate the little things and highlights just how important it is for every child to have at least one person in their life who nurtures them and helps them shine.
Just Like a Mama
Author: Alice Faye Duncan | Illustrator: Charnelle Pinkney Barlow | Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Carol Olivia Clementine does not live with her mom or dad - she lives with Mama Rose, who is just like a mama to her. She brushes her hair, feeds her, plays with her, encourages her and makes sure she eats at least some vegetables before having cake.
She may not be her biological mother, but she feels like home and loves her just like one. This is an important book that will help children in similar situations feel seen and normalize their lived experiences.
Author: NoNieqa Ramos | Illustrator: Jacqueline Alcantara | Publisher: Versify
We love the book, Your Mama! This story turns the old “yo mama” joke on its head. It is a hip and fun book dedicated to fierce mamas everywhere - it’s for all the hardworking, multitasking, dedicated and loving mamas who do the impossible everyday.
This book also tenderly showcases the love and adoration a small child has for her mama. Don’t miss this one!
I Sang You Down from the Stars
Author: Tasha Spilliet-Summer | Illustrator: Michaela Goade | Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
We love recommending this book for expecting mamas. This magical story follows a mother-to-be as she prepares to welcome a new baby. She collects a variety of special items in preparation for her own sweet bundle.
This book highlights the joy and love that a new baby brings to a family and community and also conveys how many Indigenous people globally believe that babies choose their parents.