Our 44 Favorite Literary Mothers and Books To Celebrate Moms

Updated Jan. 19, 2019

There are many different types of moms. We've made the ultimate list of our favorite literary moms or motherly figures (whether they gave birth or not). From hugs and kisses, comfort and smiles, magic or reality (is there actually a difference when it comes to mothers?), these moms show what motherhood is all about: love. Plus, a whole lot of strength, intelligence, hard-work, and selflessness. Whether they're working moms, adoptive mothers, grandmas, or another motherly figure, we're pretty sure you'll fall in love with all of them.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone book
#1
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Written by J. K. Rowling
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

Molly Weasley is hands down my favorite mother-figure in all of literature. She's warm and over-flowing with love for her own children as well as for everyone else in her life that she can feel needs a little extra care. She's also perfectly imperfect—stressed about her mis-behaving children, flustered by the details of a wedding, her worst nightmare is her dead family, she will swear at your if you try and kill her children, etc.—which makes her real and relatable in a way that literature mothers so rarely are. She'll knit you handmade sweaters, bake you a birthday cake in your favorite shape, and send you a loud warning if you step a toe out of line!

Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Anne of Green Gables (Puffin in Bloom) book
#2
Anne of Green Gables (Puffin in Bloom)
Written by L.M. Montgomery
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Puffin in Bloom is a charming assortment of classic novels with coming-of-age themes, aimed at the young reader. Bond, a stationary artist with Rifle Paper Co. renowned for her floral patterns, puts her signature touch on the covers in this line, because just as a flower blossoms, a young child comes into her own.

Mama Seeton's Whistle book
#3
Mama Seeton's Whistle
Written by Jerry Spinelli and illustrated by LeUyen Pham
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This is the sweetest book about a mother's love for her children! I love the sweet text and that the tradition of whistling was passed down to her children. The illustrations are lovely, too!

Without even thinking about it,Mama Seeton puckered her lips and whistled.It was not a loud whistle.Or a fancy whistle. Just a simple two-note whistle. When Mama Seeton whistles, her children run home for chocolate cake, hugs, kisses, and shared memories. But as time passes, they travel farther and farther away from the familiar sound. Can mama's whistle be heard all over the world, and bring her children home one more time? Newbery Award-winning author Jerry Spinelli's sweet lyrical text and New York Times bestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham's charming illustrations show the timeless love between a mother and her children.

Little Women  book
#4
Little Women
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-14
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Marmee is my all-time favorite literary mother. The wisdom, love, and grace she shows is remarkable, and I love the example she sets to her children of kindness, service, faith, and the importance of family. She lovingly teaches and softly admonishes, and reading about her will basically just melt your heart!

Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Alcott wrote the books rapidly over several months at the request of her publisher. The novel follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March—detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood, and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters. Little Women was an immediate commercial and critical success, and readers demanded to know more about the characters. Alcott quickly completed a second volume (entitled Good Wives in the United Kingdom, although this name derived from the publisher and not from Alcott). It was also successful. The two volumes were issued in 1880 in a single work entitled Little Women. Alcott also wrote two sequels to her popular work, both of which also featured the March sisters: Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886). Although Little Women was a novel for girls, it differed notably from the current writings for children, especially girls. The novel addressed three major themes: "domesticity, work, and true love, all of them interdependent and each necessary to the achievement of its heroine's individual identity."

Wally Does Not Want a Haircut book
#5
Wally Does Not Want a Haircut
Written and illustrated by Amanda Driscoll
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Wally the sheep does not want to get the haircut he really needs, even after all the other farm animals get new hairdos, but when his shaggy wool gets him in trouble, he has no choice but to ask for a trim.

Bunny Roo, I Love You book
#6
Bunny Roo, I Love You
Written by Melissa Marr and illustrated by Teagan White
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love this beautiful book! The illustrations are fantastic, and I love the concept. The loving mom talks about all the baby's traits and likens them to animals and shares how she cares for and loves her baby. Such a sweet read!

A warm and tender welcome to the world! In a gorgeous picture book that’s playfully sweet and visually captivating, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr and talented new illustrator Teagan White celebrate the many ways parents make their new babies feel at home. The world can seem like a big, bewildering place for new babies—fortunately, their mamas know just how to soothe and comfort them. Through enchanting scenes portraying all kinds of mama animals looking out for their little ones, the mother in this story reassures her baby, and young children everywhere, that their caretakers will always love them and keep them safe. This beautiful picture book has the feel of a classic and its heartwarming premise should make it a family favorite.

Little House in the Big Woods book
#7
Little House in the Big Woods
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder and illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Caroline, the mother in the Little House series, is a fabulous example of a loving, hard-working mother. She takes care of so many household chores to keep things up and running, takes care of her children, and teaches her children to work hard. She is well educated and passes along a love of books to her children, which of course makes me a big fan. :)

Laura Ingalls's story begins in 1871 in a little log cabin on the edge of the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Four-year-old Laura lives in the little house with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters Mary and Carrie, and their trusty dog, Jack. Pioneer life is sometimes hard, since the family must grow or catch all their own food as they get ready for the cold winter. But it is also exciting as Laura and her folks celebrate Christmas with homemade toys and treats, do the spring planting, bring in the harvest, and make their first trip into town. And every night they are safe and warm in their little house, with the happy sound of Pa's fiddle sending Laura and her sisters off to sleep. And so begins Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America's frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story.

Mommy's Best Kisses book
#8
Mommy's Best Kisses
Written by Margaret Anastas and illustrated by Susan Winter
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I absolutely love this sweet book! The illustration style reminds me more of books I read when I was little--sweet, soft, and warm. It's fun that each page is a different animal child and mom. But mostly, I just don't know how anyone can resist a book about all the kisses from mommy!

Every mother knows that the sweetest way to say "I love you" is with a kiss. This loving book shows that animals know all about a mother's love, too.

On the Night You Were Born book
#9
On the Night You Were Born
Written and illustrated by Nancy Tillman
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

On the night you were born, you brought wonder and magic to the world. The moon stayed up till morning. Polar bears danced. Here is a book that celebrates the one and only ever you! Now available in its entirety in board book format, Nancy Tillman’s masterpiece is perfect for acknowledging the special people in our lives that they are loved.

My Mom Is Magical book
#10
My Mom Is Magical
Written and illustrated by Hello!Lucky
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This book is full of affirmation for mom and a fun way for kids to learn how amazing their mom is! I like how colorful and cute the book is, and this will especially be a hit for any unicorn lovers. :)

My Mom Is Magical, featuring a magical unicorn, and My Dad Is Amazing, featuring a mythical yeti, are joyful tributes to just how amazing parents (and their kids!) are.

I've Loved You Since Forever book
#11
I've Loved You Since Forever
Written by Hoda Kotb and illustrated by Suzie Mason
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Lyrical text and illustrations of baby animals and their mothers show the love of a parent.

A Wrinkle in Time book
#12
A Wrinkle in Time
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-14
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Mrs. Murry is a fantastic mother to Meg and Charles. Apart from being smart (she's a scientist), she shows such devotion to her missing husband and courgageously and patiently parents while faithfully hoping for his return. She never lets the judgement of others get her down.

Meg Murry and her friends become involved with unearthly strangers and a search for Meg's father, who has disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government.

Love You Forever book
#13
Love You Forever
Written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Sheila McGraw
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Booksellers have sold more than 30 million copies of Love You Forever in paperback and hardcover. Now we have a board version, printed on light, crisp whiteboard and slightly reduced for child-sized hands. Yet it contains every word of the original, which is much-loved by grandparents and parents everywhere. Watch for major promotion this fall. A young mother holds her baby, and while she sings to it she rocks it back and forth. And through her life, and the stages of his life, she holds her son and rocks him back and forth as she tells him that she will love him forever.

Our Love Grows book
#14
Our Love Grows
Written and illustrated by Anna Pignataro
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In the deep green forest, Pip asked, "Mama, when will I be big?" Pip is an adorable, roly-poly little panda who sees the world changing and growing. But Pip is feeling a bit left behind. Luckily Mama is there to show playful and curious Pip that, like the trees in the forest and the stars in the sky, he's growing and changing too. And no matter how much Pip grows, the one thing that will never change is how much Mama loves him!

Bear of My Heart book
#15
Bear of My Heart
Written by Joanne Ryder and illustrated by Margie Moore
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

There are so many bears in the world dear, but there's no other one that will do. You are the bear of my heart, dear, and I am the one who lives you. Every mother makes promises to share the joys and wonders of the world with her children and Mother Bear is no exception. As Mother Bear introduces her child to the hills, lakes, caves and starry nights, she reminds Baby that no matter what, he will always remain the bear of her heart and she will always be there for him. With Joanne Ryder's heartfelt lyrical text and adorable illustrations by Margie Moore, this beautiful hardcover is now available in board book and is perfect book for sharing on Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, or any day of the year!

The Kissing Hand book
#16
The Kissing Hand
Written by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Nancy M. Leak, Ruth E. Harper
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

When Chester the raccoon is reluctant to go to kindergarten for the first time, his mother teaches him a secret way to carry her love with him.

Blueberries for Sal book
#17
Blueberries for Sal
Written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

What happens when Sal and her mother meet a mother bear and her cub? A beloved classic is born! Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk! Sal and her mother a picking blueberries to can for the winter. But when Sal wanders to the other side of Blueberry Hill, she discovers a mama bear preparing for her own long winter. Meanwhile Sal’s mother is being followed by a small bear with a big appetite for berries! Will each mother go home with the right little one? With its expressive line drawings and charming story, Blueberries for Sal has won readers’ hearts since its first publication in 1948.

1-2-3, You Love Me book
#18
1-2-3, You Love Me
Written and illustrated by Jill Howarth
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

From one bear hug to twelve pretty red roses, 1-2-3, You Love Me will foster lots of hugs, kisses, and affection between parent and child while teaching young ones to count from one to twelve. With charming love-filled illustrations, sturdy pages, and clever rhyming text, this is the perfect gift for baby for Valentine's Day or any time of year. Sipping on yummy shakes, cuddling puppies, counting the colors in a rainbow, and making music with friends are all ways that children can express their love for their friends and family with Jill Howarth's delightful board book.

Someday book
#19
Someday
Written by Alison McGhee and illustrated by Peter H Reynolds
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A mother reflects on the all the milestones, from walking in a deep wood to holding someone else's hand, that her child will achieve during life.

I Love You the Purplest book
#20
I Love You the Purplest
Written by Barbara M. Joosse and illustrated by Mary Whyte
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

From the bestselling author of Mama, Do You Love Me?— and finally available in a board book format—this classic read-aloud provides a poetic and comforting answer to a universal question: Who do you love more? In this warm celebration of unconditional love, a wise mother reassures her children that each of them has a very special place in her heart, making this a perfect gift for the whole family.

Miss Maple's Seeds book
#21
Miss Maple's Seeds
Written and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Fans of Miss Rumphius will adore this gorgeous picture book which introduces the kind, nature-loving Miss Maple, who celebrates the miracle in each seed. Miss Maple gathers lost seeds that haven’t yet found a place to sprout. She takes them on field trips to explore places to grow. In her cozy maple tree house, she nurtures them; keeping them safe and warm until it’s time for them to find roots of their own, and grow into the magnificent plants they’re destined to become. Eliza Wheeler’s luminous paintings feature gorgeous landscapes, lush foliage and charming details. Her tender story celebrates the potential found in each seed—since even the grandest tree and most brilliant flower had to grow from the smallest of seeds. Celebrate every season with Miss Maple, from Earth Day to graduations to harvest festivals.

Baby Penguins Everywhere! book
#22
Baby Penguins Everywhere!
Written and illustrated by Melissa Guion
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Can there be such a thing as too many adorable penguins? One day a penguin sees a most unusual sight: a hat floating in the icy water. Even more unusual? Out of the hat pops a baby penguin. But not just one baby penguin . . . or even two. But a third, and a fourth, and on and on! At first the mama penguin is happy for the company. Until she realizes that taking care of a family is very hard, very tiring work, and what she could really use is just a moment alone. Yet as newcomer Melissa Guion reminds us in her adorable debut picture book, alone time is all well and good, but, it’s family time that’s best of all. Perfect for any mama penguin with a family, or classroom, full of mischievous little ones. And perfect for toddlers who will smile over all the little penguins and the silliness that ensues.

Hugga Bugga Love book
#23
Hugga Bugga Love
Written by Diane Ohanesian and illustrated by Gillian Flint
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A little boy has had enough of his mom giving him hugs, kisses, and cuddles. She calls it "hugga bugga love," and it's a special love that the son eventually accepts because he learns his mom's hugga buggas show him how much she loves him. Please, Mama! No more kisses. I get kisses all day through! I need some space! And it's MY face. One hug and kiss will do! Mom loves kissing, hugging, and cuddling her precious little boy. She calls it hugga bugga love--but he has had enough! From lunchtime to playtime to bath time to nighttime, there's no escaping her hugga bugga love. He isn't even safe just pulling off his socks! But he learns to accept his mom's affection, because he realizes that he's hers and she's all his, and her hugga buggas show him how much she loves him.

Owl Babies book
#24
Owl Babies
Written by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Patrick Benson
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

When three baby owls awake one night to find their mother gone, they can't help but wonder where she is. Stunning illustrations capture the owls as they worry about their mother: What is she doing? When will she be back? Not surprisingly, a joyous flapping and dancing and bouncing greets her return, lending a celebratory tone to the ending of this comforting tale. Never has the plight of young ones who miss their mother been so simply told or so beautifully rendered.

A Kiss Goodnight book
#25
A Kiss Goodnight
Written by Claire Wright and illustrated by Veronica Vasylenko
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

It's bedtime for Little Hare, but first he needs a goodnight kiss! It's almost time for bed, but Little Hare isn't sleepy! Luckily Mommy Hare knows just what her bouncy hare needs before he goes to bed. Enjoy this wonderfully cozy story—perfect for bedtime!

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!