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Ask a Bookseller: A picture book that makes busy moms feel seen

You Be Mommy book cover
"You Be Mommy" by Karla Clark and illustrated by Zoe Persico is a story about a busy mom who offers one of her daughters the chance to be mommy for the night.
Macmillan Publishers

Ashley Valentine is celebrating the one-year anniversary of Rooted MKE, her BIPOC children's bookstore and academic support center in Milwaukee, Wis., and she's done it while caring for her two children under age 5.

She singled out the picture book "You Be Mommy" as one where she sees her own journey reflected.

Written by Karla Clark, "You Be Mommy" shows a busy mother of three who comes home from her tech job and taps into mom-mode: driving to soccer practice, making dinner to her three kids' taste specifications, washing the dog, etc.

In this story, she offers one of her daughters the chance to be mommy for the night. The daughter is delighted to take on this role and to read her mom a bedtime story. But, come bedtime, the daughter is worn out, so her mommy gets out of bed and tucks her in so she can fall asleep.

“My four-year-old can articulate, “Oh, this mommy's doing a lot. This mommy looks really tired,’” Valentine says. “I hope that is planting a little seed for him so that he, too, can see that Mommy's doing a lot. So if there's opportunities for you to help out, that's really amazing and really helpful. And then when you get tired, I can take over and be mommy again.”

Valentine enjoys Zoe Persico's calming pictures in a cozy home filled with plants, adding, “It was really refreshing to me to see brown characters in the book as well. Seeing a family that looks similar to my own family made it even that much more relatable for me.” 

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