Every May, classrooms full of littles are busy preparing the sweetest letters, cards and crafts for the special lady in their life. So, I’ve rounded up 15 AMAZING picture books that really highlight and celebrate different special women like Mama’s, Grandma’s and Mother like figures! All perfect for reading aloud and gearing up for any Mother’s Day creations in the primary classroom.
Saturday by Oge Mora (Little Brown, 2019)
This is my all time favorite picture book since its 2019 debut! It highlights a beautiful relationship between the main character Ava and her Mama. When their splendid Saturday plans go TOTALLY wrong, Ava and her mother continue to lift one another up throughout their frustrating adventure of a day. In the end, it’s the quality time spent with one another that is far more splendid than an activity.
Oge Mora is such a talent! This gem is very relatable to littles, great for making connections and provides such a positive message for when things don’t go as planned.
When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L.B. Deenihan (Sterling Childrens, 2019)
If you’ve ever received an unwanted gift from a grandma, you’ll adore this one! Lola was hoping for one of the tech gifts from her birthday list. Instead, Grandma gives her a lemon tree… a lemon tree that will eventually bring change to her neighborhood and the relationship with Grandma! The illustrations are captivating in this picture book and play up the story quite nicely.
Teddy’s Favorite Toy by Christina Trimmer (Atheneum Books, 2018)
During an epic battle, Teddy breaks his FAVORITE toy Brenda! Unable to fix her before the school bus arrives, Teddy leaves her wrapped in a huge and unrecognizable MESS on his bed. But, what will his mom do when she sees such a sight… When Teddy finally returns home from school, his mother realizes she’s made a big mistake and goes after the doll!
It’s a cute and silly story that’s a reminder of the great lengths a mother will go to for their kiddo and this Mama does! I mean, she faces-off with the garbage truck and WINS.
The Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena and Art by Christian Robinson (G.P. Putman Sons, 2015)
Another one of my favorites from the powerhouse duo (Robinson and Pena)! The Last Stop is such a timeless story with gorgeous illustrations that’s perfect anytime of the year. For my own personal use, I do tend to reach for it most in November to highlight the theme of gratitude or in May to dig deep into discussing CJ’s amazing Nana! If you’re looking for a matching classroom resource for little learners, check this one out.
Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow (Salaam, 2018)
I absolutely ADORE this book and just love Glenn’s colorful illustration style! This is a story of total mommy love and admiration!
A little girl loves her Mommy’s khimar so much she wants to wear one of them. When wearing mommy’s khimar, she feels beautiful, strong and close to her mom even in her dreams.
Reading this brought back old memories of me sneaking into my own mom’s closet as a kid and trying on her shoes! This one will definitely resonate with littles and their own connections to admiring their mom, her things and wanting to be like her.
I Dream of Popo by Livia Blackburne (Roaring Book Press, 2021)
A book celebrating a special and strong bond between a little girl and her Popo (grandma). From the girl’s growing years to moving across the country to Popo’s sickness, the girl continues to dream about, think of and speak to her Popo everyday.
This text is packed full of rich cultural experience of life in Taiwan and makes a great read-aloud on the topic of moving/relocating to a new place/school.
The One Day House by Julia Durango (Charlesbridge, 2020)
The One Day House celebrates the special relationship between a little boy Wilson and his eldery neighbor Gigi! Gigi is the sweetest elderly woman and is happy with everything she’s got already. But, Wilson has dreams of fixing up her house to make it feel more comfortable and bring her a smile. Wilson shares his dreams and plans throughout his community and together they come together to bring his vision to fruition as they fix up Gigi’s worn home.
It’s a story of good-doings, volunteering, LOVE and community! It would also be great for having students think about ladies outside of their family that have impacted them in such a positive way.
Just Like a Mama (Simon & Schuster, 2020)
I love this story because it focuses on a mother like figure in the life of a little! Personally, I grew up with many fostered cousins and have taught many kiddos who could relate to this text. So for me, it’s a must read for the classroom during Mother’s Day projects! Just Like a Mama is truly a celebration of a mom’s love and dedication to their child regardless of a blood relation.
Eyes that Kiss the Corners by Joanna Ho (HarperCollins, 2021)
A picture book that celebrates the beauty of Asian shaped eyes and the similarities between the main character and her mama! When a little girl notices her eyes are different from her friends, she realizes they’re the same as all the special ladies in her life.
A MUST HAVE text on self-love and acceptance for your classroom library! It would also open up the doors to a great conversation for littles to think about how they’re similar to their loved ones.
Maud and Grand-Maud by Sara O’Leary (Random House, 2020)
A picture book that perfectly portrays a special weekend with grandma! From matching nightgowns to breakfast for dinner to hearing old stories, a little girl (Maud) makes new discoveries about her Grand-Maud during this special weekend.
A fun story that will make kiddos want to share the special moments they’ve shared at their own grandparents home.
Your Mama by NoNieqa Ramos (Versify, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021)
Ever heard a “Yo Mama” joke? This text pays a real tribute to all the magical things Your Mama truly encompasses and does for you. The adorable and very modern phrases about mama are told from the POV of a young Latina girl. The text and fun illustrations touch on all the different aspects of the love and hard work a mom puts in to care for her kiddos. My personal favorite… they’re library VIPS! 🙂
The Goose Egg by Liz Wong (Alfred A. Knopf, 2019)
Henrietta has a quiet, routine and structured life. When she’s out for a swim, she bumps her head and accidentally brings home an actual goose egg! Unable to reunite the newly hatched baby with its actual mama, Henrietta decides to look after and raise it on her own. It will be a decision that changes Henrietta’s life forever!
I love this picture book for May because it shows a great bond between a Mom like figure and baby! It could also work well for a teacher’s love, too! A sweet story to get kiddos thinking about all the great things their loved ones have taught them and helped them through.
Saturdays Are For Stella by Candy Wellins (Page Street, 2020)
Everyday Saturday, George looks forward to spending it with his Grandma Stella! Until one devastating Saturday morning… After the passing of his grandmother, a new baby Stella soon arrives to the family and George rediscovers his love for Saturdays with Stella.
This is a sweet story that shows how the moments and strong bond with a special lady, like a grandma, can continue even after loss.
My Day with the Panye by Tami Charles (Candlewick, 2021)
Fallon watches her Manman (mother) carry a full panye home from the market in complete admiration! Her panye carries items for the entire family and Fallon hopes for the day she’s able to carry it and provide for them. But when it’s finally her turn, she realizes what a challenge and balancing act that carrying it actually can be! With her Manman’s guidance, Fallon’s able to take-away from the experience and even share pointers to her little sis.
A culturally rich treat of a book that will give readers a look into a Haitian tradition of carrying the panye! And another pick to celebrate mother’s or strong female influences that guide, nurture and even pass down traditions to their children.
Me & Mama by Cozbi A. Cabrera (Simon & Schuster, 2020)
On a rainy day, a little girl shares all the magical things she loves about her Mama! I LOVE all the details in the rich painted style of the illustrations. They’re also really wonderful because they are told in a daily routine and give a side-by-side of the little girl and mama’s objects which make great visuals for little readers and help show the admiration the girl has for her mother.
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