Today is Mother’s Day, a time when we tend to think happy thoughts about our mothers or other maternal figures in our lives. We might buy them cards and presents, or take them out to eat. There’s no right way to celebrate it, but we each have our own special ways or traditions.
While most people think of Mother’s Day as a joyous day, the founder of the holiday, Anna Jarvis would probably think we’re celebrating it all wrong. Jarvis originally created Mother’s Day as a way to honor her own mother after she died. She worked to get several states to recognize it as a holiday. In 1914, Woodrow Wilson declared that the second Sunday of every May would be Mother’s Day. It was a day to honor your own mother, not mothers in general. Prior to this, Jarvis, who was a peace activist and cared for wounded soldiers during the Civil War, tried to create Mother’s Day to honor women who had lost sons during the Civil War. When Hallmark and other card companies latched onto the holiday, it became greatly commercialized, much to the chagrin of Jarvis.
Anna Jarvis spent the rest of her life fighting against the commercialization of Mother’s Day.
Despite this, we still believe that Mother’s Day is a wonderful way to show your mothers and grandmothers that they hold a special place in your heart!
Here are five titles we’ve rounded up that celebrate mothers and grandmothers:
- Abuela’s Weave: A girl in Guatemala learns about family tradition and trust from her grandmother.
- Goldfish and Chrysanthemums: A Chinese American girl helps preserve her grandmother’s childhood memories of China by creating a special garden for her in America.
- Love to Mamá: Thirteen Latino poets celebrate their bonds with their mothers and grandmothers.
- Love Twelve Miles Long: Frederick’s mother walks twelve miles each way for a nighttime visit with her son, during which she recounts what each mile of the journey represents. Based on facts from the life of Frederick Douglass.
- Raymond’s Perfect Present: A Chinese American boy receives a nice surprise of his own when he tries to surprise his mother with flowers that he grew.
Happy Mother’s Day everyone!