Gift Lists & Ideas Search Tips

Unique Bookish Gift Ideas for Mothers

Are you looking for a special gift for that special person in your life? Biblio has over 100 million used, rare, and out-of-print books. With a few search tips and unique ideas, you can find the perfect heartfelt and hand-picked present.

Exploring her roots:

Help your mom get in touch with her roots with vintage recipes or a guidebook from her hometown. Is there a famous novelist from the area where she was born, or a beloved book featuring that town?


Is your mom a foodie who always brings out Grandma’s recipes for family dinners? A cookbook that speaks to her heritage or that you remember seeing in her own mother’s kitchen may be the perfect gift.

Marcella Hazan’s The Classic Italian Cook Book was first published in 1973 and is credited with bringing Italian cooking to the US and UK. Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Simone Beck, and Louisette Bertholle is another classic that no chef should be without (and if they’re a very important chef in your life, a signed first edition is fitting).

The Joy of Cooking is one of the most published cookbooks in the US. It has been found in kitchens across the country since it first was printed in 1936. More than 20 million copies have been sold across nine editions. Another sought-after vintage cookbook that has multiple available editions is Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook.

Travel and City Guides

Does your mother love to travel, or is she homesick for the place where she grew up? Either way, a vintage travel guide is a unique and personal gift.

One popular and interesting choice might be the American Guide Series, written by the Federal Writers Project during the Depression. Called the WPA guides, they were initially published between 1937 and 1941. Some of the guides, like New York City, New Jersey, and Arizona, were reprinted in the 1980s.

If your mom was born in Idaho in the 1950s, you can search the keyword “Idaho” using our Advanced Search function and put in the years “1950 – 1959” in the ‘Published Between’ dates to see what comes up.

Playing around with different search terms, publishers, keywords, and years will come up with many interesting finds.

Studying Her Interests:

What was your mother’s favorite occupation? Did she become a nurse because of the Cherry Ames books she read as a child?

What are her hobbies? Gardening? Ornithology? Baseball? We have books that cover all kinds of moms.

Onward and Upward in the Garden is a collection of essays by Katherine S. White, wife of writer E.B. White. Katherine was a writer and editor as well, and these essays were first published in The New Yorker in 1958, then collected and edited by her husband after her death.

Celebrating her favorite (bookish) things:

Did she have a favorite series growing up – Nancy Drew Mysteries or The Bobbsey Twins?

What book did she share with you over countless bedtimes – The Poky Little Puppy or The Velveteen Rabbit?

Who is her favorite author? We have so many booksellers on Biblio that specialize in rare and collectible books, and a signed or first edition copy of her favorite book is an extraordinary gift.

The ‘Advanced Search’ function on Biblio allowed you to search by ‘signed’ or ‘first editions only,’ or both.

Whatever you find, we know that a book can be a treasure enjoyed for a lifetime, and passed down for generations to come.

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