Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead book cover

Happy May! Welcome to this month’s edition of Smart Story Time.

Keeping new books in the mix keeps family reading time fresh for your child (and you), as well as introduces them to new subjects and vocabulary. That’s why we curate some of our best recommendations for diverse picture books around timely topics each month. We hope this inspires you to find some awesome new-to-you reads for your child at your local library or independent bookstore

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 my personal favorite 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 post for tips and 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 coming up, 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.

Picture Books about Your Child’s Interests

MayaSmart.com is your one-stop-shop for raising a reader. Check out our other kids’ book lists and articles. In addition to bringing books into your reading time that tackle timely topics or important subjects, be sure to follow their interests, as well. If your kid loves science or animals—read about those topics. Following their interests keeps them engaged and helps you build a responsive relationship with your child. 

We’ll be back next month with the next installment of Smart Story Time. Meanwhile, feel free to message me with requests for future posts, book recommendations, or just to say hi!

What are you reading with your child this month? Connect on social media & let me know!