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Jenna Bush Hager shares 8 must-read books for any mom this Mother's Day

From historical fiction to self-help, there's a book on this list for every book-loving mom.
TODAY Illustration / Jenna Bush Hager/Amazon
/ Source: TODAY

Have you been racking your brain for the perfect Mother's Day present? Mother of three and TODAY co-host Jenna Bush Hager knows better than most that, as a parent, there are few gifts more precious than a good book and time to read.

That's why she put together a knockout list of books she recommends all moms read. From historical fiction to self-help, there is something on this list for every bookworm out there.

And here's another gift. Bookshop, a website that supports independent bookstores (and one of Jenna's favorite things), is offering a discount sitewide. You can use the code MOTHERSDAY20 at checkout for 20% off all Bookshop purchases through May 10.

Keep scrolling to find a Mother's Day gift or your next read.

"Send for Me," by Lauren Fox


Set in pre–World War II Germany and modern-day Wisconsin, this novel is a nuanced story about what people will do for their families. Annelise is a young Jewish woman living in Feldenheim, Germany, as anti-Semitic sentiments are on the rise. She has an opportunity to escape to America with her husband and young daughter, but in doing so, she would be forced to leave her own parents behind.

Two generations later, in a small Midwestern city, Annelise's granddaughter, Clare, stumbles upon a collection of her grandmother's letters. The novel moves between the two women’s stories as each makes impossible and heartbreaking choices.

It is an intimate look at the mother-daughter relationship as it explores themes of love, family and forgiveness.

"A Woman is No Man," by Etaf Rum


Following three generations of women in a Palestinian family, "A Woman Is No Man" by Etaf Rum explores the tension between each woman's expectations and dreams as they raise the next generation of women in the U.S.

The author transports readers into an insular immigrant community in Brooklyn, New York, where the highest possible achievement for a woman is to marry and bear sons. But what if she wants more?

"Patsy," by Nicole Dennis-Benn


The story begins in Jamaica as the titular character gets her visa and makes the difficult decision to leave her daughter, Tru, behind while she seeks a better life for herself in America. After that pivotal moment, the perspective shifts back and forth between Tru's life in Jamaica and Patsy's life in New York.

As you read, you'll be pulled in by the challenges Patsy faces and the relationships she forms in this new environment while slowly learning why she's willing to make these sacrifices.

"Ignore It!" by Catherine Pearlman


Dr. Catherine Pearlman, founder of The Family Coach, writes about ways in which parents can encourage positive behavior changes in their kids by selectively ignoring things they don't want to reinforce. In the book, she shares her four-step process for parenting, offers tips, talks about tested strategies and discusses common scenarios to help you put the joy back into parenting a child.

"Reading Is Magic," by Emma Straub


Author Emma Straub, owner of independent bookstore Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, New York, created the guided journal, “Reading Is Magic,” to help parents and children log the books they read together.

This is a perfect activity for moms and children to do together. It will encourage a life-long love of reading in the child and become a treasured memory to look back on in the future.

"The Mothers," by Brit Bennett


Britt Bennett's debut novel is set in a small Black community in Southern California. 17-year-old Nadia, is picking up the pieces after losing her mother, when she begins a relationship with a former football player named Luke Sheppard. Luke, 21, spends his days waiting tables at a local diner after an injury sidelined him from stardom. When Nadia becomes pregnant, she keeps it a secret from everyone including her best friend, Aubrey.

Years down the line, Nadia, Luke and Aubrey continue to pay the price of that secret, always wondering how their lives would have been different with other choices.

"Beloved," by Toni Morrison


Written in 1987, "Beloved" is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. It tells the story of Sethe, a woman living in Cincinnati, Ohio, during the American Civil War with her 18-year-old daughter, Denver. Sethe, who was born into slavery has physically escaped but is still held captive by the memories of Sweet Home.

As the book takes an unapologetic look at the trauma caused by slavery, it is also an intimate exploration of the bond between mother and child and the line where maternal passions prevent the development of self.

"Mom & Me & Mom," by Maya Angelou


Maya Angelou's moving memoir is about the acclaimed author's relationship with her mother, Vivian. Angelou explores the highs and lows of her childhood in which her larger-than-life mother was rarely engaged. She reveals how they reconciled their relationship later in life.

"Mom & Me & Mom" is a moving story about forgiveness and the fragility and strength of the mother and daughter relationship.

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