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Mothers’ Day is coming up and with that comes the age-old question: what do you get for the most important person in your life, the woman who instilled your love of reading and is always ready with a book recommendation and an audiobook review? You create a tribute to your favorite mothers in literature by genre, of course.

 

Middle Grade: Isabel Pullman from Wonder

When we think about our favorite middle grade mother, Isabel Pullman from R.J. Palacio comes to mind immediately. Sure, she’s a little overbearing and maybe didn’t prepare Auggie for the transition from homeschool to middle school as well as he would have liked. But it’s clear that Isabel has a deep love for her children, and a desire for them to all become independent and self-assured young adults. And we really love her for it. Thank you, Isabel!

Buy the book:

Amazon | Books A MillionBarnes & Noble | Bookshop

 

Comics: Alana from Saga

When Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples introduced the world to Alana, she was on the brink of becoming a mother. Now in her eighth year as a beloved comic book character, Alana remains one of our favorite mothers in literature. She has real fight in her, literally. (She was once a soldier in the waging interstellar war.) But she’s also incredibly loving and vulnerable, sharing fears and uncertainty with her daughter Hazel and her husband Marko. As an added bonus, this entire story is told from the perspective of her daughter, pieced together from stories and observations over the years. It’s beautiful and exciting in all the right ways. Thank you, Alana!

Buy the book:

Amazon | Books A MillionBarnes & Noble | Bookshop

 

Speculative Fiction: Offred from The Handmaid’s Tale

It’s hard to think of a more motivated and challenged literary mother than Offred in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. We see most of her motherhood story in flashback, in the time before the red dresses and The Ceremony. But there’s a reason she’s been given the Handmaid designation: she has a young daughter who was taken from her. And she’ll be searching all of Gilead to find her, even if it means risking her own life in the process. It’s definitely one of the darker stories of motherhood, but an important one all the same. Thank you, Offred.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Books A MillionBarnes & Noble | Bookshop

 

Fantasy: Molly Weasley from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

J.K. Rowling’s Molly Weasley makes a beautiful and firm impression, so it’s no wonder we’re including her on this list of true icons. When we read that first Weasley scene in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, we immediately wanted her to be our mother too. (No offense to our own mothers. We can have many mothers!) And the fact that she’s a witch isn’t even the most interesting thing about her. She’s fiercely loyal to her family, while remaining true to herself. She’s smart and funny, but warm and gentle when the occasion calls for it. And she’s always there with a hand-knit sweater. Thank you, Molly!

Buy the book:

Amazon | Book A MillionBarnes & Noble | Bookshop

 

Literary Fiction: Ma from Room

When Emma Donoghue gave us Ma, she had no idea so many of us would be quarantined in our homes, unable to explain this new reality to the very young children in our lives. And while we hope that none of our readers are quarantined with abusers like Ma is, we know that this is a reality for so many people right now. Ma’s mothering is loving and gentle, creating joy out of the most difficult circumstances imaginable. Her relationship with her son lives in a world of rich imaginations and a deep drive to create a new world for the two of them. Thank you, Ma.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Books A MillionBarnes & Noble | Bookshop

 

Happy Mothers’ Day to all the mothers, grandmothers, caretakers, and motherly figures out there. We hope you have a calm and literary day.


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Danielle Mohlman

Danielle Mohlman is a playwright, bookworm, and library connoisseur. You can find her on Twitter and Tumblr. (She has a lot to say.) And on Instagram. (She never foodstagrams.) When she grows up, she wants to be Leslie Knope.