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My Mother's Books

Take a Mother's Day stroll down memory lane with this collection of books our mothers read and shared with their children. Find a forgotten favorite here on our virtual bookshelves, or be inspired to rediscover a favorite book from your own childhood.

 

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Anne of Green Gables BookAnne of Green Gables
Lucy Maude Montgomery
When I was a girl I wanted to be just like Anne. I even used to read The Lady of Shallot over and over and pretend my Kool-Aid was raspberry cordial! I wished I had a bosom friend just like Diana, and I begged my own mother to dye my hair "auburn" for me. She didn't, but she did give me a complete set of these books for Christmas. Now my own daughter reads them to her own children.

 

Ivanhoe BookIvanhoe
Sir Walter Scott
I wasn't allowed to read most love stories when I was young, but my mother let me read this book. The story of Ivanhoe and Rebeccah is the original historical romance.

Lord of the Rings BooksThe Lord of the Rings
J. R. R. Tolkien
My mother was accused of being a tomboy for loving these epics, but she didn't care. After she read them to me I even made up tunes to go with the songs! Tom Bombadil's were my favorite.

 

Honey, I Love BookHoney, I Love
Eloise Greenfield
This is the book I most love. Some of the poems in the book remind me of my life as a "little kid." My mother gave me this book in fourth grade and I've loved it ever since.

 

The Secret Garden BookThe Secret Garden
Frances Hodgson Burnett
My own mother was a gardener so it's no surprise that this book was the first one she gave me to read when I was old enough for novels. The story of Mary, Colin, Dickon and the garden that changed them from dour, sallow little people into rosy, happy children has stayed with me always. I still catch myself testing seemingly dead branches to see if they are "wick."

 

The Handmaid's Tale BookThe Handmaid's Tale
Margaret Atwood
This may not be the most warm or nostalgic book, but it's the first one I think of when I remember my mother's books. A strong feminist, she made sure I was exposed to this dystopia, which has stayed with me for life.

 

Love You Forever BookLove You Forever
Robert Munsch
I've been carrying this book around for years. It made my mother cry, it makes me cry, and I expect it'll make my daughter cry one day, too.
This book is also one of Andréa C.'s Staff Picks.

In the Night Kitchen BookIn the Night Kitchen
Maurice Sendak
What I remember most about my childhood is a house full of books. This story in particular was such a favorite that I can still recite it. I can only imagine how many times my mother must have read it to me. The gorgeous illustrations remind me of 1960s children's advertisements.

 

Enid Blyton BooksEnid Blyton
I was brought up on a diet of Enid Blyton books such as the Famous Five. Psychologist Michael Wood said of her that "She was a child, she thought as a child and she wrote as a child," and I think that's why I remember her stories so fondly.

 

Little Women BookLittle Women
Louisa May Alcott
My mother read this book to me so many times the bindings fell apart. When I was older she told me the story of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy is what inspired her to become a writer. She's now a successful romance novelist.


Paddle-To-The-Sea BookPaddle-to-the-Sea
by Holling Clancy Holling
Paddle-To-The-Sea was one of the first long books my mother read to me and one of the first long books I read on my own. Several years ago I revisited Lake Superior for the first time since and the images of a small carved Native American in a canoe were still fresh in my mind.


Gone With the Wind BookGone with the Wind
Margaret Mitchell
My mother gave me this book to read one summer when I was bored. It kept me out of her hair for a good two weeks, and come October I convinced her to scour all the thirft stores in the neighbourhood with me until we found some velvet curtains that we could use to make a dress just like Scarlett's.

 

The Chrysalids BookThe Chrysalids
John Wyndham

My mother loved and never forgot The Chrysalids because it combined the fear of nuclear holocaust, which we grew up with, and the need for tolerance in society. I remember thinking that if freckles were considered an
aberration, I would be outcast.