Episode 56: Let's Celebrate Mother's Day with Author Jodi Meltzer


Hello and welcome to a special Mother’s Day episode of The Library Laura Podcast, your week’s dose of book recommendations, library love, and literary enthusiasm. Today’s guest is author Jodi Meltzer, here to talk about her precious children’s book, “When You Lived in My Belly.” When I found out this book, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk about it with you all today. We have a great chat about the delights and dilemmas of motherhood, as well as swapping some book recommendations for both Jodi and her 11-year-old son!

List of books from the episode on Bookshop.org

Follow Jodi on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and her website and pick up a copy of When You Lived In My Belly 

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When You Lived in My Belly

Jodi Meltzer wrote "When You Lived In My Belly" after her very curious son asked the question, "What was it like when I lived in your belly?" several years ago. This was shortly after Jodi had lost her own mother to illness. Before her mother died, Jodi learned that her mom had always wanted to write a kid's book, and Jodi vowed to fulfill her mom's dream. Yet, it wasn't until this pivotal question from her son that it all came together. She knew she'd found the idea that would be the perfect book. She said, "my mom and my son are the only two people who know what my heart sounds like on the inside," and they were both instrumental in the creation of this book.

When You Lived in My Belly is written in verse, and looks back at a time that a child never knew and a mom will never forget -- the 9 months between conception and birth. Lovingly illustrated by Jodi's childhood best friend (and her mom!) Jody King Camarra and Caryn King, it's the perfect book to answer a child's probing question, or to reminisce on the unique journey of pregnancy. 

Jodi also has a second book, Goodnight Star, Whoever You Are, that's coming out in Fall 2021 in advance of Child Grief Awareness Day, which is November 18th. It's based on the experience of her kids losing a loved one, and looking to the stars for a reminder that their loved one is always in their hearts. It sounds like a precious and timely book (thousands of children have lost loved ones to COVID and other causes this year alone) and I can't wait to see it in a few months. 

Encouragement to Mothers on Mother's Day

I asked Jodi to share a bit of encouragement and some of her thoughts on motherhood. Jodi's been writing and blogging about motherhood for many years (on media such as Mommy Dish, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, and The Mighty) and enjoys sharing from her own experience. You definitely want to listen to the whole episode to hear everything she shared, but here's a few things that stuck out to me:
  • Be gentle on yourself
  • Don't compare yourself or your child to others
  • Motherhood has lots of opportunities for self doubt. remember that you're enough. 
  • Bloom where you're planted (one of her mom's favorite sayings) 
  • The days are long, but the years are short
  • To be loved and safe is what your kids need
  • Kids are an awesome responsibility, and it's like your heart is walking around outside your body
  • My goal is to have kind, loving kids with good hearts. That's my contribution to the world. 
  • You are fortunate to be a mom, regardless of the path. (Jodi became a mom to her "bonus daughter" when she was 8 years old, and then several years later became a mom to her biological son, so she's had more than one path to motherhood herself!) 

Somehow we ended up on the topic of moms just needing a moment to themselves, and this viral video of a mom eating licorice in the pantry came to mind. Enjoy!

I also want to add these words to this blog post, which I also said in the outro of the podcast episode: Whether you have a mom or are a mom, I hope that today is a day full of love. I know there are many feelings that one can experience on a day like today…perhaps grief that a loved one is no longer with us, or sorrow at not yet having that sweet baby you long for in your arms. Know that I am sending you love today, too. 

Books Jodi Enjoys Reading

When it comes to looking for books, Jodi wants books that are well-written and highly relatable. She especially gravitates toward women's fiction (chick lit) and historical or biographical works. 
  • A Promised Land by Barack Obama - Appreciates for the behind-the-scenes look at recent history
  • Jennifer Weiner's books - we specifically mentioned "Big Summer" which I've read, and "Good In Bed," which was Weiner's debut novel. 
  • Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn - came up when we were discussing Jen Deluca's books (recommended below), which also follow different characters in each book in the series. 

Books Laura Recommended to Jodi

Laura holding a copy of Jodi Meltzer's book, When You Lived in My Belly after recording their podcast interview. 

Books Jodi's 11-year-old son enjoys

As a little boy reading with his grandma: 
Jodi has read many, many books to her son. These days she and her son also like to listen to audiobooks together before bed.

Currently he's enjoying: 

Books Laura Recommended to Jodi's son

Turtle Boy by M. Evan Wolkenstein - about a boy who learns to love playing the drums  and likes turtles (also addresses illness, death, bullying)
Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland - my friend's kids about that age are eating these up right now 
The Greystone Secrets series by Margaret Peterson Haddix - absolute page turners! 
New Kid and Class Act by Jerry Craft - graphic novels that are amazing and relatable. Jodi said this recommendation was especially timely as her son will be going to a new school in the fall. 
The Vanderbeekers series by Karina Yan Glaser - I love this family and their life in Harlem. First four books take place in winter, spring, summer, and fall. Book 5 coming later in 2021! 
Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan - one of the audiobooks I love to recommend. I think Jodi and her son will both enjoy it. I especially love the music featured in the audio version. 


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Library Laura
Laura is an avid reader who is happiest when surrounded by books, tea, blankets and/or friends. Host of the Library Laura Podcast.


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