You want your children to read quality books—why settle for less for yourself? Here are a handful of exceptional books that explore the many moods of motherhood.

The Color of Water (Riverhead, 1997) was written by James McBride about his mother, Ruth McBride, an immigrant Polish Jew who leaves her family in Virginia, moves to Harlem, marries a black man, and ultimately raises 12 children despite racism and poverty.

Lit (Harper Perennial, 2009), is a riveting account of Mary Karr's spiritual awakening, which requires her to admit her alcoholism, make amends with her own mother, and learn how to be a single mother to her son.

My Hollywood (Knopf, 2010), Mona Simpson’s most recent novel, takes turns telling the story of Claire, a new mom and composer, and Lola, the Filipino nanny Claire hires to take care of her daughter while she tries to keep her career alive.

Deep Down True (Penguin, 2011) by Juliette Fay takes a sympathetic, realistic, and touching look at raising kids, dating, and friendship after divorce.