Welcome to Sunday – and happy Mother’s Day! The top five articles on our website over the past week are displayed below.

Worth a read today: Did you ever stop to consider George Washington’s mother? She was a widow who raised five children on a farm with the aid of three enslaved people. Martha Saxton, a professor emerita of history from Amherst College, is the author of “The Widow Washington.” In a piece we published just this week, Saxton describes how her perspective on the mother of the nation’s first president differs from that of male historians who have described her as “illiterate, pipe-smoking, uncouth and slovenly.”

Saxton’s portrait of Mary Ball Washington got our editors talking about their own moms and their sacrifices – I hope it enriches your Mother’s Day as well.

Emily Costello

Managing Editor

Proxima Centauri is the closest star to the solar system and is home to a potentially habitable planet. Hubble/European Space Agency/WikimediaCommons

Massive flare seen on the closest star to the solar system: What it means for chances of alien neighbors

R. O. Parke Loyd, Arizona State University

Astronomers just measured the largest flare ever from Proxima Centauri, humanity's closest neighboring star. These flares could be bad news for life trying to develop on a planet orbiting the star.

When mental focus and reflection are called for, it’s time to crack open a book. Noam Galai/Getty Images

Why we remember more by reading – especially print – than from audio or video

Naomi S. Baron, American University

People tend to think of digital media as entertainment, so they devote less mental effort than when they're reading a printed book.