Some of my readers eagerly anticipate my book recommendations, and rush to the bookstore or library right away. Others have informed me that book reviews for mothers are a waste, because who has time to read?
Well, today’s suggestions aren’t huge tomes of fiction. Rather, they’re all worthwhile non-fiction selections which you may actually find as valuable as I do. Give me a chance here!
Toronto Fun Places by Nathalie Prézeau
This family-tested guide to year-round fun in the GTA and Southern Ontario outlines hundreds of outings you could take with your family, including:
- All the things to do within a 10 minute walk of every subway station in Toronto (I think that would be a great adventure with my girls some summer day)
- Tips, nearby attractions, driving time, age recommendations, etc.
The book is divided into sections (including Amusement Corner, Farms, Holiday Outings, Museums, Sports and Water Fun) and the tips given for each attraction are very helpful to parents. If you live anywhere near the GTA, put this one on your Mother’s Day list. You can also check out the website.
celebraTORI by Tori Spelling
I’m sorry, but I really enjoy Tori Spelling’s books. I always like to think that I’m privy to behind-the-scenes Hollywood info, and in this case, Tori shares her party-planning secrets. There are tons of photos (of the lavish parties thrown by her mother when she was a child, as well as many of the recent fêtes Tori has hosted), funny stories, and some tips that are actually helpful to middle-class party throwers as well. Sections include Essentials, Getting Started, Décor, Flowers, Food and Drink, and The Dessert Table.
I read through it in a night (not spending too long on the recipes, of course) and I’ll be keeping it as a reference. If you enjoy entertaining, and want some creative, budget-friendly ideas cool enough for L.A., this one’s for you.
For My Children: A Mother’s Journal of Memories, Wishes and Wisdom by Dionna Ford
This beautifully designed and illustrated book is full of creative prompts that will spark Mom’s recollections so she can record them for her children. Full of questions for Mom to answer (List some of the things you have learned from your children, What moments have made you most proud of your child?, Who makes you laugh and what do you laugh about?) when complete, this will be an irreplaceable memento.
I once gave my Grandma a similar book for Christmas, and the next year she returned it to me complete. I will always treasure the thoughts she shared, which I can now pass on to my girls.
This won’t be a quick project, and I expect it will take my daughters’ entire childhoods for me to attempt to fill every page (Maggie’s “baby book” is still under construction), but I am certain they will treasure it when it’s finished.
What Would Michelle Do? A Modern-Day Guide To Living With Substance and Style by Allison Samuels
This one is an interesting mix of self-help and biography. Interspersed with facts and anecdotes about the life of Michelle Obama, the book aims to help young women find their place, and navigate the difficult terrains of home, work, friends and relationships.
A very American concept (I don’t think we’ll be seeing a “What Would Laureen Do?” book anytime soon…probably because half of you are now asking “Who’s Laureen?”), I was still interested in learning more about the First Lady, who seems like a very grounded wife and mother. I felt a little old for some of the sections (e.g. since I’m already in my dream job – minus report cards and winter yard duty – I just skimmed some of the employment-related tips) but enjoyed reading about Michelle’s style and parenting. While some of the advice is very indirect (“Here are five films that Michelle surely would approve of…”) other tidbits are from celebs, family members and other direct sources who are closely acquainted with the famous First Lady. I paid particular attention to some of the quotes from Michelle herself which really resonated with me:
“For me, fashion is fun, and it’s supposed to help you feel good about yourself. I think that’s what all women should focus on: what makes them happy, feeling comfortable and beautiful. I wear what I love. Sometimes people love it, sometimes they don’t. I’m fine with it.”
“I have freed myself to put me on the priority list and say yes, I can make choices that make me happy.”
“You do what you have to do for your children to have the lives you want them to have. It’s difficult and sometimes you have no idea how you will get it all done, but you do. You may have to lean on a lot of people along the way but you’ll get it done.”
I know, I know…you have no time to read, much less tackle Toronto’s subway stations, throw a party, fill in a journal, or worry about following in the footsteps of a First Lady. But if you had to pick?