Picture Book Reviews · Picture Books

3 books for Mothers’ Day

3 books for Mothers’ Day


How To Say I Love You In Five Languages by Kenard Pak

img_8403The most important thing to say on Mothers’ Day is I Love You. Why say it once when you can say it in five different languages?

Five different children are introduced and they each speak a different language. English, French, Spanish, Japanese and Mandarin are all featured. As well as saying ‘I love you’, the children say hello and use one short phrase to introduce the person they are speaking to.

Buttons to the right of the book allow the reader to listen to voices saying ‘I love you’ in different languages. The best way to learn pronunciation is through imitation and this is the easiest way to start.

As adults, when we set out to learn a new language, it is often easy to forget that native speakers begin with board books and simple content. Learning one new phrase at a time and trying it out is a great way to improve confidence.

With Mothers’ Day books promoted in bookshops often looking a bit sameish and sugary, why not try an authentic approach? Tell your special person or people that you love them. Tell them five times over.


Held In Love by Dawn Casey and Oamul Lu

img_8404A mother holds her baby in her arms and recites a blessing. She imagines her child growing over the years, and wishes for them all the things they will need to live a good and loving life.

From working hands to listening ears. The silence and music. The comforts of the universe. This book uses the word ‘blessing’ but not ‘God’ or any other specific religious vocabulary. The arms of the universe could easily mean God, but it could also be a phrase to refer to the children’s protection and safety. This makes the book suitable for different readers, and would particularly suit families where carers hold different religious opinions.

The pictures alternate wide landscapes with closed arms, wide mountains with tight groups. This is about fellowship and being alone to explore. Being loved while being free.

A gentle recitation and a lovely book to share. As well as being a wish from mother to child, it celebrates everything mothers want and wish for their children from the word go. This does very specifically reference one mother, although the sentiments apply to all carers.


What Matters Most by Emma Dodd.

What Matter Most to you? What Matters most to me? 

img_8621A mother horse and her foal gallop around the wild world and question what is most important in life. Is it going out or staying in? Having lots of stuff or not having very much at all? At the very end they conclude that wherever you happen to be in life at one moment, the most important thing of all is being loved.

Silver foil effect gives the landscape extra sparkle without ever overwhelming the page. Rainwater and grassy blades and birds in flight are all emphasised with shine.

A beautiful book both in sentiment and style. I admire that instead of wishing one thing for the child, the mother puts forward the idea that we go through different periods in life and experience different things at different stages. Our wants and ambitions also change. With so many children under pressure from an early age, this book is a welcome narrative.

A total celebration of the diversity of life and different things which define us.


Thanks to Quarto Children’s Books and Templar Publishing for gifting the books in this feature. Opinions my own.

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