It’s always important to let Mom know how much you love her. Two picture books celebrate what makes moms magnificent, putting Mom on the proper pedestal. One sings of the sacred connection between mother and child, while the other is packed with sass, silliness and ceaseless devotion.
If you’re searching for the perfect gift for someone’s first Mother’s Day, look no further than I Sang You Down From the Stars. Rooted in Indigenous traditions and cultures, it beautifully expresses a mother’s hopes, dreams and love for her newborn.
A Cree and Trinidadian writer living in Manitoba, Canada, author Tasha Spillett-Sumner conveys much with few words, particularly in the lines that open and close the book: “I loved you before I met you. Before I held you in my arms, I sang you down from the stars.” A pregnant woman addresses her unborn child as she collects items such as an eagle feather and a river stone for a medicine bundle. It’s “something that the child can carry and lean on through their life journey,” Spillett-Sumner explains in an author’s note.
Exquisite illustrations by 2021 Caldecott Medalist Michaela Goade (We Are Water Protectors) contain a blend of earthly and ethereal touches. As we see the mother prepare for her child’s birth and then hold her newborn, and as friends and family welcome the new arrival, Goade surrounds each scene with a starry “swoosh” that depicts the “flow of energy that connects all living things.” This understated but omnipresent magical swirl leads readers from page to page. Rich, saturated shades of blue, purple, green and vermillion lend worldly weight to the text’s celestial themes.
I Sang You Down From the Stars marvelously conveys not only the bonds between mother and child but also the multitude of connections that await every child—connections to family, community and Earth itself.
What happens when that newborn bundle of joy grows up to become a real, live kid? What does it take to be a modern mom? Your Mama is an exuberant ode to supermoms everywhere. Author NoNieqa Ramos transforms “your mama” jokes into a series of poetic tributes from a daughter to her mom. For instance, “Your mama so strong, she like a marine. Up three flights of stairs, carries the groceries.”
Indeed, this cool mama is as comfortable showing her daughter how to fly a drone as she is wearing a flowing dress and high heels at parents’ night at school. She can sew costumes, plan spectacular parties and become a tour guide on rip-roaring road trips. Her adoring daughter knows all too well that this mama is her “A-Team.”
Ramos never forgets to include reality amid all the adulation. Even after the daughter messes with her mother’s makeup, uses the couch as a trampoline and makes her mother “cray cray,” her mama is still “so forgiving, she lets you keep on living.” Mama also instills important values in her daughter, taking her along every time she votes and reminding her that true wealth means “rollin’ in” friends, family and “you, her gold.”
Jacqueline Alcántara’s illustrations are as lively as Ramos’ text. They burst with bright colors, strong outlines and movement, whether Mama is marching into the library with a stack of books or jumping sky-high on the couch with her daughter. Humor and happiness fill every page, from a scene of highway karaoke with a hairbrush microphone to a spread in their kitchen in which Mama offers her daughter a lick from the cake mixer as Ramos muses, “She’s the cinnamon to your tembleque, the tres leches to your cake.”
Your Mama hits the perfect note of sweetness, without an ounce of treacle.