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Gift books for Mom don’t really need to have the word `Mother’ in the title

SHARE Gift books for Mom don’t really need to have the word `Mother’ in the title

Just as some people feel the only song worth singing in the rain is "Singing in the Rain," some feel a Mother's Day book should always be about mothers.

Well, not so.Not that there aren't some fine "mother-centered" books out there this year for giving. My own favorite reflects a deep bias. It was written by the woman through the block from my boyhood home. Joyce Whitten's A MOM AMONG MEN (self-published but available at bookstores) is the definitive version of the neighborhood scuttlebutt that her family generated for many years. The book is wise and witty and covers every emotion from A to Z.

But as I said, not every gift book must have the word "mother" in the title. When I interviewed Robert Fulghum last year, he insisted his little book of everyday love stories called TRUE LOVE (Harper/Collins) was not a Valentine's Day book.

He was right.

It's really a Mother's Day book.

The true stories offer sweet insights into the romantic moments of every life. Not too syrupy, not too tart, the volume's a pleasant read and a nice antidote for a world swimming in romantic claptrap.

THE MORAL INTELLIGENCE OF CHILDREN (Random House) is subtitled "How to Raise a Moral Child." Robert Coles, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his examination of spirituality in the lives of children, takes a dry-eyed look at how morality functions in the lives of our kids. He writes, "This book is about what it means to be a `good' person as opposed to a `bad' person. This book is meant to offer some thoughts in how `character' develops in children." Coles is a teacher, so his book at times reads like a textbook, but the insights are fascinating and very helpful. It's worth "going back to school" to read it.

Finally, I'm currently reading a book that has my full attention. HEROINES OF THE RESTORATION (Bookcraft), edited by Barbara B. Smith and Blythe Darlyn Thatcher, brings 22 modern LDS women writers together to write about the heroic women from Mormon history. Elaine Cannon writes about Lucy Mack Smith, Susan Easton Black tells us about Patty Bartlett Sessions, Marilyn Arnold gives us Eliza R. Snow. Other authors include Ardeth Kapp, Ann Orton, Emma Lou Thayne, Susan Arrington Madsen and Maureen Beecher. The book will rearrange your notions of Mormon history.