Mother’s Day Gifts For the Mom Who’s a Reader

Do you frequently see your wife/mother/sister/friend curled up with a good book, or swiping her Kindle, engrossed in a story? Does she always have a magazine in her bag or something to read while waiting in the pickup line? Does she tell you about the latest New York Times article or amazing novel she just read, or does she constantly post Goodreads reviews to her Facebook feed?

She might like to read these lovely books about motherhood. Because even when you’re in the thick of it, it’s nice to know you’re not the only one. Or if your hands-on mothering days have gone by already, once a mother always a mother, right? You can look back and marvel at the experience, read about someone else’s journey, and find novelty or recognition there.

These titles are collections, and in each one there is an entry by writer whose work I know and I love. That their pieces grace these volumes makes them automatic reads for me, but their accompanying works measure up. I enjoy reading collections especially when my life is extra busy: I can read one or two pieces, feel like I’ve accomplished something, then put the book down until I get a few more spare minutes. Both are perfect Mother’s Day gifts, and you can order them NOW on Amazon for Saturday delivery and still look like a golden child. (Or husband, partner, sibling, whatever.)


mother's day letter to my mom

A Letter to My Mom created by Lisa Erspamer

Each of the entries in this book is a letter from the writer to his or her mother. I can imagine that each person sat down to write it, became incredibly choked up, and had to get up and pace, or fold some laundry, or do the bills, or load the dishwasher. Anything to procrastinate writing the most emotionally charged thank-you note of her life. Well, that’s what would happen to me if given this assignment.

Lisa Page Rosenberg (whose mother I have actually met, and is lovely like she is) demonstrates that mix of life lessons and common sense that we can thank our mothers for. She writes “From you I learned about hard work, responsibility, and not putting my elbows on the table.”

Letters in this book come from writers, performers, creatives, children, adults, and people who have become mothers themselves. They range from names you may have never seen, to famous people like Suze Orman and Nancy O’Dell. Some are not actually thank-you notes, but messages of forgiveness, longing, or guilt sent beyond the grave. I found myself hoping that each new letter was to a mother who is still alive, because so many of them are not. How can one live life without a mother? I have been lucky to not know the answer, only to witness that loss in others.

Maybe you’re not a writer, and you haven’t written a letter since you applied for your last job. Just get this book for your mom. It’ll speak the volumes you’re not brave enough – yet – to write yourself.

A Letter to My Mom created by Lisa Erspamer
Hardcover available on Amazon

mother's day multiples illuminated

Multiples Illuminated edited by Megan Woolsey & Alison Lee

Kick it up a notch with this collection of essays and advice about creating and birthing twins and triplets. My own (singleton) children are 9 and 11, so pregnancy and childbirth are but nostalgic memories for me now. I can revisit that time in my life by reading posts from my personal blog, on which I chronicled the adventures, but it was so long ago that I remember it mostly with a fuzzy fondness. Look what I did, I think, when I look at my children. I made these kids.

Reading the stories in Multiples Illuminated, though, I feel my lady parts clench right up. Hell no, I think. Better them than me! But seriously. Even though I have several friends with twins and one with triplets, I never had to live through the fear that a multiple pregnancy brings with it. The struggle to get the babies far enough along inside the womb for them to be healthy outside it feels very real in this collection. The mothers’ anguish during daily visits to the NICU, their long bed rest periods, their supersize pregnancies.

Lexi Rohner, whose essay “Same Time Last Year” breaks through the fog of memory to when her triplets were born, prematurely as many multiples are, and she was unable to hold them for a week. When she finally did, “Touching them was an undeniable sedative. What small creatures to have such power over my heart.”

Throughout the book, the editors have placed helpful advice to women who are expecting to give birth to multiple babies at once. Advice beyond what you’d read in a “regular” pregnancy book. And that’s something I can relate to, considering the best advice I ever got when pregnant and parenting babies was from blogs. Many of the contributors to this book are bloggers, and they do a great job of keeping it real.

Multiples Illuminated edited by Megan Woolsey & Alison Lee
Kindle edition and hardcover available on Amazon

Books and Bugs at the LA Times Festival of Books

Got a kid who’s crazy about bugs? Bring her to the LA Times Festival of Books April 9 & 10 – fun and educational for the whole family.

la times festival of books poster
poster by Shawn Nielsen

Think of it as Woodstock or Lollapalooza or I guess now Coachella for books. The annual LA Times Festival of Books, happening this weekend at USC‘s campus, is a huge celebration of books, authors, media, music, and creativity. There are presentations and signings all day and demonstrations and performances. There are kids’ pavilions, the pretty campus of USC, and a possible Metro ride for your family in it so you can avoid parking.

LA Times Festival of Books bug bites

Adam the Entomologist, host of the new kids’ TV series BUG BITES on KCET, will be showing off live insects each morning from 10 to noon, capped off by a butterfly release! BUG BITES brings life to the miniature world of insects on a gargantuan scale, using a colorful animated cast to explore a world rich in undiscovered secrets. BUG BITES airs Saturday and Sunday at 8 a.m. on KCET.

LA Times Festival of Books bug bites screenshot

Also appearing in bugland is Andy Harkness, a Disney Animation artist who is the author of the children’s book Bug Zoo, a charming tale of a young boy who opens a zoo full of bugs and troubleshoots his poor attendance challenges. (Ages 3-5). That’s happening on Saturday the 9th at 5:00 on the Children’s stage, but many other Disney publishing authors and books will be present throughout the weekend.

LA Times Festival of Books Bug Zoo cover

There’s so much to do at the LA Times Festival of Books for families. If you haven’t yet been, this is the year to check it out!

Frosted Cowboy – Fun Novel by Debut Author From Agoura Hills


Signed copy of Frosted Cowboy available for giveaway this week! Comment below to enter.3d-cover-frosted-cowboy-large

Charlene Ross was the original Agoura Hills Mom for the once-awesome Agoura Hills Patch. She graciously did not get mad OR punch me in the face when I asked her if she wouldn’t mind if I contributed some of my work here to the same site under that same name after she had moved on to better things. Are you still with me?

In fact, Charlene was so awesome that we became friends, and now I am very proud to share with you that her first novel has been released by Velvet Morning Press and is for sale on paperback and e-book at Amazon now.

Frosted Cowboy “a delightful debut novel that follows aspiring fashion designer Laney – 32 years old, recently single, recently unemployed – through a year in her life when she struggles to find herself. But this is no slog through despair.” I reviewed the book on my other site, but if you don’t want to click over and read that, just trust me: it’s a fun, entertaining, and easy book to read when you want to escape life for a little while. At the beach, poolside, or in the car while you’re waiting to pick up your kids from their 3rd activity of the week. Just me?

Frosted Cowboy by Charlene A. Ross
$11.99 on paperback at Amazon
$3.99 for e-book

I got an extra copy of the book to give away to an Agoura Hills Mom reader, and Charlene even signed it! It seems only fitting, right? Just leave a comment here to enter between now and Thursday, March 31st at 11:59PM. I’ll choose a winner at random from qualifying entries and notify the winner on Friday, April 1. Once I receive your mailing address I will send the book at my own cost.