Amanda Lauer and her grandchildren were inspired to plant a Mary Garden after reading a new picture book by Mary Williams.
When our kids were little, they needed to come up with a way to differentiate between their grandmas—my husband’s mom and my step-mom. They came up with the titles The Fun Fruit Grandma and The Cookie Grandma, referring to the treats they were given when visited their respective grandma’s houses.
Now that our kids have their own children, our grandkids have the same issue. Not only do they each have two grandmas but they have great-grandmas as well. While my husband and I could’ve christened ourselves with a couple of the standard grandparent nicknames, such as Nana and Papa, Grammy and Gramps, or even one of the non-standard grandparent nicknames—I’m thinking Glam-ma, like my glamourous friend Vicky, or G-Honey, like my fun-loving Aunt Honey—we never went that route.
However, one of our grandkids gave me a nickname that really resonated with me: The Book Grandma. As an author, I spend my days writing, my free time reading, and a portion of my money buying books for myself and the grandkids. It’s my favorite gift to give them.
When I was offered a copy of the book My Mama’s Garden, written and illustrated by Mary Williams, I jumped at the chance. The cover alone sold me with the adorable illustration of our Blessed Mother standing under a garden trellis, surrounded by marigolds. Not only would I be able to review the book, but then I could pass it along to one set of grandchildren.
It’s the sweetest children’s book I’ve read this year. The illustrations are captivating, what talent Mary (such a beautiful and appropriate name) Williams has. I read this to three of our grandchildren on Easter Sunday (grandson, 7, and granddaughters 5 and 3). They were immediately drawn to it when I started reading the descriptions of the characters, of varying races and abilities, who all, by chance, had flower-related names. They enjoyed naming the children throughout the book when they saw them on the various pages.
The characters in the story experience a range of emotions that they share with Mama Mary in her garden. What a nice way to introduce to little ones the concept of bringing our joys and sorrows to our Blessed Mother and asking her to be a mother to us too.
As an added bonus, the author’s website has downloadable worksheets with coloring and other crafting activities that go along with the book. All three of the kids wanted their own copies to work on. Now we're inspired to create our own Mama Mary Garden outdoors this summer!
Ask for My Mama's Garden at your local Catholic bookseller, or order online from Amazon.com or directly from the author at CreatingToLove.com.
Copyright 2023 Amanda Lauer
Images: copyright 2023 Amanda Lauer, all rights reserved.
About the Author
An avid reader since childhood, award-winning author and journalist Amanda Lauer is the author of the Heaven Intended Civil War series and two time-travel novels, Anything But Groovy and Royal & Ancient. Amanda—who’s been married to her husband John for more than four decades—has had the privilege of being a Catholic mom for 30-some years and is a Catholic grandma to seven.