Celeb moms share book faves
By Leanne Italie
Love and magic live in children's books. Just ask mom!
From opera stage and TV kitchen to fashion design and gold-winning soccer, we've assembled a panel of famous moms to offer their favorite kid-lit lines and explain why they resonate:
MARIA CANALS-BARRERA, Theresa Russo on Disney Channel's "Wizards of Waverly Place"; Connie Torres in Disney's "Camp Rock."
Mother of two daughters, ages 3 and 5.
Her favorite line: "After all, a person's a person no matter how small," from "Horton Hears a Who" by Dr. Seuss.
She says: "It reminds them of how significant they are as little kids. Just cause they're little, it doesn't mean they're not powerful, meaningful, important and worthy of respect."
RENEE FLEMING, lyric soprano.
Mother of two daughters, ages 13 and 16.
Her favorite line: "A mother held her new baby and very slowly rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she held him, she sang: I'll love you forever/ I'll like you for always/ As long as I'm living/ My baby you'll be," from "I'll Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch.
She says: "It's a simple but pointed illustration of the life cycle. It prompted much discussion from my daughters with me about death. From 'The Lion King' on, today's children seem far better equipped to accept that death is natural and not to be feared, unless untimely. One of the greatest lessons I've learned as a parent is that being honest about even difficult topics is far less anxiety-provoking than the secrecy of protectionism."
GINA NEELY, co-host of the Food Network's "Down Home with the Neelys"; co-writer with hubby Pat of the May release "Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook."
Mother of two daughters, ages 14 and 20.
Her favorite line: "We girls hold up this world as we build our self-esteem. We know that discipline will turn a princess into a queen," from "Girls Hold Up This World" by Jada Pinkett-Smith.
She says: "That is so true, and I tell my girls all the time that they are the best, that everyone shines in different lights, and that you have to find and figure out your light and let it shine through. I teach them to follow their own minds and that they always have choices and consequences."
BRANDI CHASTAIN, sports bra-baring soccer legend, helped deliver Olympic gold in 1996 and 2004.
Mother of one son, age 2, and one stepson, 20.
Her favorite line: "Could a little turtle really make a difference?" from "Baby Honu Saves the Day" by Tammy Yee.
She says: "It's at the end when Baby Honu realizes that even though he is much smaller than most of the creatures in the vast ocean, he can still make a difference. My son has learned the lesson of never giving up and to always believe in yourself. It's a great book."
JUNE LOCKHART, Timmy's mom, Ruth Martin, in the 1950s-'60s CBS series "Lassie"; Maureen Robinson in another CBS show, the 1960s "Lost in Space."
Mother of two daughters, ages 54 and 56, and one stepson, age 66.
Her favorite line: "There never was such a goose," from "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens.
She says: "The movie made in 1938 of 'A Christmas Carol' starred my mother and father as Mr. and Mrs. Bob Cratchit and it was my movie debut (as Belinda Cratchit), so it always had special meaning to me. I would always read the Christmas dinner scene from the book to the kids at Christmas."
CYNTHIA ROWLEY, fashion designer.
Mother of two daughters, ages 4 and 9.
Her favorite line: "Up to the moon and back," from "Guess How Much I Love You" by Sam McBratney.
She says: "It's the last line in the book, but it's just a jumping-off point for us. The girls fall fast asleep saying things like, 'I love you to infinity and back.' "
POPPY MONTGOMERY, Samantha Spade on the CBS series "Without a Trace."
Mother of one son, 16 months.
Her favorite line: "So ... be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray, or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea, you're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So ... get on your way!" from "Oh, The Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss.
She says: "I love this line because it's so inspirational and a great self-esteem builder."
LORI LOUGHLIN, Debbie Wilson on the CW's "90210"; Aunt Becky on the 1980s-'90s ABC series "Full House."
Mother of two daughters, ages 9 and 10, and one stepson, age 17.
Her favorite line: "You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you," from "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White.
She says: "I read 'Charlotte's Web' to both of my daughters before bedtime when they were younger. I try to teach my girls how crucial it is to value your friends and be open and kind to others because you never know when you're going to meet your next lifelong friend."
COKIE ROBERTS, political commentator; author of "We Are Our Mothers' Daughters" with 10th anniversary edition out this month.
Mother of one daughter, age 38, and one son, age 40.
Her favorite line: " 'But he has nothing on!' a little child cried out at last. 'Just hear what that innocent says!' said the father, and one whispered to another what the child had said. 'But he has nothing on!' said the whole people at length. That touched the Emperor, for it seemed to him that they were right; but he thought within himself, 'I must go through with the procession.' And so he held himself a little higher, and the chamberlains held on tighter than ever, and carried the train which did not exist at all," from "The Emperor's New Clothes" by Hans Christian Anderson.
She says: "I love the story because it's so pertinent to the political world, but children also love it. I took my youngest grandson to a play based on the story when he was 2 or 3 and he completely understood it."
CATT SADLER, co-host of E!'s Daily 10.
Mother of two sons, ages 4 and 8.
Her favorite line: "Remember this, Little One ... The Broken Truth, and life itself, will be mended only when one person meets another — someone from a different place or with a different face or different ways — and sees and hears ... herself. Only then will the people know that every person, every being, is important, and that the world was made for each of us," from "Old Turtle and the Broken Truth" by Douglas Wood.
She says: "I love this entire story because it speaks to how beautiful our Earth is and how our differences as human beings should be celebrated. The book warns against self-absorption and being blind to the 'mirrored beauty in the lakes or the ladders to the stars.' My children benefit GREATLY from this message of inclusion!"