Skip to main content


May 7, 2021

Wild About Books

We wrap up this year’s Mother’s Day Author Blog series with Elin Hilderbrand, whose latest novel, GOLDEN GIRL, releases on June 1st. It revolves around a Nantucket novelist who has one final summer to protect her secrets, while her loved ones on earth learn to live without their golden girl. As a prolific author, mother of three, and an avid reader, traveler and runner, Elin leads an active and productive life. Although her career keeps her busy and often requires her to travel, she always prioritized reading to her children --- and did so every night throughout elementary school. In our final Mother’s Day blog post of 2021, Elin reflects on the joys of motherhood and why a certain picture book was her all-time favorite to share with her kids.


Although I like to think of myself as a good mother, it probably would be more accurate to say that I have been “good enough.” I’m a terrible disciplinarian, for example. And because my career demands a considerable amount of travel, I missed a lot of things while my kids were growing up: dance recitals, basketball games and eighth-grade graduations, to name a few. I console myself about my failures by reminding myself of my successes. I am a very good cook, and my kids were always well-fed. They are all terrific swimmers due to the hundreds of hours I spent in the balcony of the Nantucket High School pool during their lessons and the endless summer days we spent at the beach. And I read to my children every night throughout elementary school.

It’s this last thing --- the reading --- of which I am particularly proud. I was, in modern parlance, obsessed with reading to my kids. When my sons were young, we didn’t have a lot of extra money, but I spent what we did have on picture books. I was determined to build a library. I wanted the kids to have books everywhere. I used to fill the pouches in the backseat of my Honda Pilot with books and switch them out at regular intervals so that the boys wouldn’t get bored as I drove them the six minutes to school. When we took the kids traveling (another parenting success –-- we used to take the kids away for six to eight weeks every winter to far-flung locations like Perth, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam). I used to pack two-dozen paperback books, and then inevitably we would buy more while we were away.

Every night before bed, we would read three books. Every night. Always three. For a while, I insisted on “theme nights.” We would read three books about pigs or three books about sharing --- and we had books for every holiday.

What were my favorite titles? I loved Holly Hobbie’s Toot & Puddle books, the Bear books (especially BEAR SNORES ON) by Karma Wilson and HOW DO DINOSAURS SAY GOODNIGHT? by Jane Yolen. In 2005, once my daughter was born, I insisted on books with female protagonists, and we especially loved Olivia the Pig! But my all-time favorite book to read to my kids was WILD ABOUT BOOKS by Judy Sierra and Marc Brown --- where the Bookmobile comes to the zoo, and all the animals start reading. A book about reading! How could this not be my favorite?