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Deseret Book
"Once There Was a Mom" is by Emily Watts and illustrated by Destin Cox.

Here are four introspective and uplifting reflections on women and motherhood. Of course, another gift would be including some quiet time for her to read it.

“YOU ARE THE MOTHER YOUR CHILDREN NEED: Believing in Your God-Given Gifts, Talents and Abilities,” by Christie Gardiner, Covenant Communications, $11.99, 208 pages (nf)

“You are the mother your children need” became Christie Gardiner’s mantra as a young mother and helped buoy her during times that it seemed like she was a parenting failure, such as when one of her daughters turned out to be the school vandal, and other successes, such as when that daughter helped a girl who was being bullied.

“There are as many ways to be a good mother as there are mothers in this world who want to be one,” she writes in “You are the Mother Your Children Need: Believing in Your God-Given Gifts, Talents and Abilities.”

Divided into 11 chapters, Gardiner covers topics from “Your Worth, Your Divinity” and “Caring for Your Body, Mind and Spirit” to “Finding Your Tribe” and “Does God Want Me to be Perfect? Practicing Failure.” She shares anecdotal stories from her own life as a mother, from the humorous near birthday failure for her daughter to the poignant moments of realization.

She also shares scriptures and quotes from leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Gardiner’s real world experiences plus her ongoing encouragement help share how mothers come in all different varieties, and there are many right ways to be a good parent. She also encourages readers to see where perspective adjustments are needed and to identify what is important to her — that may be different among a variety of women, and that’s OK.

— Christine Rappleye

"ONCE THERE WAS A MOM," by Emily Watts, Deseret Book, illustrated by Destin Cox, $12.99, 48 pages

"Once There Was a Mom" is written in the style of a children’s book and aims to capture the essence of motherhood in a lighthearted and whimsical way. Spare, brightly-colored Illustrations by Destin Cox add to the story’s playful tone and sweet, sly sense of humor. Writer Emily Watts, a speaker for the Time Out for Women series and mother of five, acknowledges the setbacks and difficulties of being a mother without losing its joy. Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of "Once There Was a Mom" is the way it makes a mother feel understood.

— Debra Stillman

"CHRIST'S GIFTS TO WOMEN," by Heather B. Moore and Angela Eschler, Covenant Communications, $2.99

"Christ’s Gifts to Women" uses New Testament narratives to demonstrate the love that Jesus Christ has for women. Authors Heather B. Moore and Angela Eschler tie the experiences of New Testament women to particular gifts, such as mercy and wholeness, that Christ has given all women. Linking these five gifts to each account is secondary to the over-arching message of the book: that Christ’s love for us is simple and constant, and that a woman’s best efforts are enough because of him.

— Debra Stillman

"MOTHER TO MOTHER: Lessons from Our Sisters in the Scriptures," by Ganel-Lyn Condie, Covenant Communications, $3.99, 32 pages

"Mother to Mother: Lessons from Our Sisters in the Scriptures" by Ganel-Lyn Condie, is a quick and spiritually gratifying read. Condie draws from accounts of mothers in the Old Testament, Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price to talk about lessons modern-day mothers can learn from them. Condie posits how it must have really felt to be in the shoes of the widow of Zerapheth, the mothers of Helaman’s 2,000 stripling warriors, and other great mothers. Her voice is refreshingly grounded and real as she effectively gleans modern-day lessons from ancient scripture.

— Debra Stillman