Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead book cover

As a parent, the time you spend with your child—reading aloud, chatting, and interacting in countless ways—is pivotal in helping them develop and thrive as a reader, writer, and thinker. From teaching your child the alphabet to playing rhyming games, you instill crucial knowledge and skills through fun, playful time together. Best of all, it builds your relationship, too—and can even help you feel happier and more fulfilled.

That’s why each month we share a special list of featured reads and literacy activities. Expect fun seasonal reading recommendations, complemented with activity tutorials and free printables for an all-out story time experience with your little one.

Here are some topics to delve into with your child this month:

Picture Books for Mother’s Day

OK, moms, dads, grandparents, and readers everywhere! You know this is an important day to celebrate all the hard-working mamas and mama-types out there. And naturally sharing or gifting a picture book is our chosen way to do it. 

Early childhood educator Chrysta Naron has curated a selection of darling picture books for Mother’s Day, plus a story time activity to go with them, in which you’ll make a lovely DIY Mother’s Day gift. Then extend the celebrations and the learning with an unforgettable Mother’s Day brunch, complete with a sweet keepsake menu handwritten by your child—see our Mother’s Day brunch activity post for tips and scroll down on this page for a free menu template printable!

Basketball Picture Books

Basketball is close to my family’s heart, and we understand how much this beloved game inspires young people all over. With the NBA Finals upon us, plenty of kids are feeling the basketball love right about now. Take advantage of this inspiration to do some themed reading with your child. 

Austin writer Courtney Runn shares 12 inspiring picture books about basketball that will enthrall the little ballers in your life, all while imparting important lessons about everything from racism and resilience to perseverance and teamwork.

Kids’ Books about Senior Citizens

May is Older Americans Month, and that’s a great reason to celebrate grandparents or other senior citizens in your child’s life. It also offers an opening to delve into the topic of aging with your kids—and help them develop understanding, respect, and compassion for older neighbors, relatives, and friends. 

Writer Karen Williams has curated a wonderful list of positive picture books about senior citizens and aging. Once you’re done reading, consider helping your child act on what they’ve read. Reach out to an elderly neighbor, make a date with a relative, or read Karen’s post on how to write letters to a senior citizen. The article includes links to organizations that will send your child’s notes to nursing homes or set them up with a senior pen pal.

Kids’ Books for Mental Health

May is also Mental Health Awareness Month, providing a valuable reminder to cultivate good mental health for ourselves and our children. Writer Andrea Hunt has delved into research indicating that reading aloud to our kids may have major benefits for parental wellbeing, that reading to kids can literally reduce their stress and pain, and that reading fiction can actually build emotional intelligence.

Check them out, as well as our roundups of picture books that foster body positivity and self-love, and picture books that build empathy.

Story Time Activity: Mother’s Day Love Jar

DIY Mothers Day Jar

Learn how to help your child make a sweet and personal Mother’s Day gift in our Mother’s Day Love Jar tutorial & story time activity.

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Welcome! It’s lovely to have you here. I’m Maya, an author, literacy advocate, and mom. On this site, I publish articles, advice, book recommendations, and activities for busy parents. Through it all, my goal is to help parents like you feel equipped and confident to support your children in reading. Let’s start by understanding what you bring to the effort—your unique superpower.

Find your raise-a-reader superpower now.