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Need a present for mom? How about a book?

Published: Sunday, May 1 2011 7:55 p.m. MDT

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If you are looking for gift ideas or good reads for Mother's Day, here's a brief look at several books that have come our way:

A LIFT OR A LAUGH

"CREATED FOR GREATER THINGS," Jeffrey R. Holland, Deseret Book, $15.99

Sometimes a well-chosen thought is all we need to keep us going, and this little volume does just that. Elder Holland's insights and words of encouragement — particularly to women — are paired with inspiring images that will lift and strengthen readers. "I believe we have all been created for greater things than we can comprehend," he says. "But such accomplishments are not achieved by fierce competitiveness, calculated one-up-manship, or cold indifference to others. True greatness will always be predicated upon love, respect, compassion, dignity prayer, hard work, God."

Book cover of Book cover of "Bedtime and Naptime" a book and DC by LDS musician Hilary Weeks. (Deseret Book)

"BEDTIME AND NAPTIME: The Simple Joys of a Mom's Life," Hilary Weeks, Deseret Book, $14.99

Whether it's recording the funny comments her 4-year-old makes, quoting favorite authors, noticing how much a teenage daughter wants to copy her mother, sharing favorite recipes, or making up new words for popular songs, Weeks hopes this book will help mothers recognize the tender mercies that make it all worthwhile. Included is a CD with seven song parodies such as "Climb Every Mountain," "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo" and "My Favorite Things."

"MORNING SONG: Poems for New Parents," edited by Susan Todd and Carol Purington, St. Martin's Press, $21.99

With selections drawn from the Bible and traditional folk songs to Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost, this collection is poignant, inspiring, thoughtful and fun. Divided into sections such as Beginnings, Waiting, Birth Day, Newest Child, Sleep and Song, and At Play, the poems bring forth "the cosmic and the comic, the spiritual and the pragmatic, the whimsical and the divine."

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"SORRY I PEED ON YOU (and Other Heartwarming Letters to Mommy)", Jeremy Greenberg, Andrews McMeel Universal, $12.99

Picture some of those particularly embarrassing moments involving your kids — the ones that make you wonder: what in the world were they thinking? Jeremy Greenberg has the answer. His humorous "letters" are written from the first-person perspective of toddlers who feel the need to apologize or enlighten mom. For example, Re: the bathroom beautification initiative: "I have lived in this house for three years now, Mommy, and I thought it'd be nice to draw something that says a toddler is part of this community." Re: these aren't Shrek ears: "I'm eating what? Broccoli does not sound like something a toddler should be eating. … Broccoli is the yukiest substance known to kids." Expressive pictures add to the fun.

The book cover of The book cover of "Created for Greater Things" by Jeffrey R. Holland and published by Deseret Book in March 2011. (Deseret Book)

HELP AND HOW-TO

"THROUGH HIS EYES: Rethinking What You Believe About Yourself," by Virginia H. Pearce, Deseret Book, $19.99

Just as you can clean the clutter out of your closets and off your shelves, you can clean it out of your mind, says Virginia H. Pearce. Clutter is not just a physical reality, it can be a mental one, too. And many of the beliefs and fictions that clutter our minds can keep us from recognizing "Truths with a capital T." Pearce provides both inspiration and practical suggestions on how to discard the things that may be hindering our progress.

"THE MOMMY DOCS' ULTIMATE GUIDE TO PREGNANCY AND BIRTH," by Yvonne Bohn, Allison Hill, Alane Park, DaCapo Press, $15.95

Written by three women who are both doctors and mothers, the book provides a comprehensive guide to pretty much everything that happens from preparing for pregnancy through the "fourth trimester" after birth, with special sections on such things as high-risk pregnancies and unexpected curveballs. Also included are answers to frequently asked questions and the facts about popular myths.

"Through His Eyes" is by Virginia H. Pearce and published by Deseret Book. Released in April 2011. (Deseret Book)

"FOR EVERY MOTHER: Celebrating All Stages and Ages of Motherhood," by Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard, Covenant Communications, $14.99

As a mother of 10, Janene Baadsgaard has been observing and writing about family life for more than 30 years. In this book, short essays are arranged into the four seasons of motherhood, which, she says, are each enjoyable and challenging in their own way. Her hope is that taken together, the essays will "become an inspiring guide to help a woman survive and thrive through all seasons" and to "cherish the season in which she stands." The secret, she says, "isn't always about finding more time to spend together, but to make the time parents and children already have together really count."

"THE HOT MOM's HANDBOOK: Laugh and Feel Great from Playdate to Date Night," by Jessica Denay, William Morrow, $16.99

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Jessica Denay defines a Hot Mom as one who is confident and empowered, who meets the needs of her family but refuses to lose herself in the madness. She draws on her experience as the single mother of a 10-year-old boy to provide insights and inspiration on balancing motherhood with "me" time. Along the way, she includes tips from her blog; cheeky anecdotes; advice from celebrity moms, experts and friends; ways to "baby on a budget;" and products "to drool over."

NOVEL APPROACHES

"MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS: A Novel," by Rae Meadows, Henry Holt and Company, $25

Sam is 33 and a new mother, who is feeling that she may be sacrificing her artistic dreams for motherhood, when a box of things belonging to her deceased mother arrives. As she goes through them, Sam learns more about her mother, Iris; but also her grandmother, Violet, who was an 11-year-old taken from a New York slum to be part of a new Orphan Train/foster care program. Through the three women and the love they share, the dreams they refused to surrender and the secrets they hold close, the book explores not only themes of migration and class mobility but also motherhood in all its complexity. Rae Meadows is the author of "Calling Out," which received the 2006 Utah Book Award for fiction.

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"SECRET DAUGHTER," by Shilpi Somaya Gowda, William Morrow, $13.99

This book, which spent 43 weeks on the top of the best-sellers list in Canada, traces the story of two mothers, from different worlds, and the daughter than binds them together. Asha was given up for adoption because her family in rural India could not afford the "luxury" of raising a daughter; she was adopted by Somer, an American doctor who could not have children of her own, and her husband Krishnan. The story moves seamlessly between the two cultures and the two mothers as it explores themes of loss and belonging.

"SAVE ME," by Lisa Scottoline, St. Martin's Press, $27.99

On the day that Rose McKenna volunteers as a lunch mom to keep her eye on a mean girl that is bullying her daughter, a massive explosion goes off in the kitchen. Rose must make a split-second decision who to save. Her decision has unforeseen consequences, in which the community blames her for her choice and bullying against her daughter increases. To save herself, her marriage and her family, Rose must discover what really happened on that fateful day. Lisa Scottoline, author of two previous New York Times best-sellers, teaches a course called "Justice and Fiction" at the University of Pennsylvania and was recently elected president of Mystery Writers of America.

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Email: carma@desnews.com

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