11 of the Best Moms
in Children’s Literature

by the Brightly Editors

Mothers really are a wonder — both in real life and between the covers of our favorite books. Moms in children’s literature have done it all, from vanquishing evil forces to pioneering on the frontier to desperately seeking out a few minutes peace (a marvel in and of itself). They’ve been there for the goodnight kisses, the moments of much-needed encouragement, the midnight snacks, course corrections, and more. In honor of them, and all the great moms out there, we asked our contributors to share some of their best-loved mothers in children’s literature. Here are the ma’s, mothers, and grandmas — kind, funny, smart, and strong — who’ve touched their hearts.

  • Vlapid’s Mother

    from Always Listen to Your Mother by Florence Parry Heide, illustrated by Kyle M. Stone

    "My favorite mom in kids’ lit encourages kids to do all the things I discourage my son from doing every day. In Always Listen to Your Mother, written by Florence Parry Heide and illustrated by Kyle M. Stone, Ernest’s mother makes sure he always listens, always helps, and is always very good. His friend Vlapid’s mother, however, is a lot more fun. Although she is never given a name, she’s unforgettable, because in her house, young boys swing from ceilings and write on the walls and get in all sorts of trouble while she takes a long hot bath. Gotta love a woman with priorities." —Devon Corneal

  • Mama

    from A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams

    "Mama is a believable and hardworking single parent, who I came to love just as her daughter Rosa does in the book. She's a great role model for Rosa. Together, Mama, Rosa, and Rosa's grandma find significance and purpose through their hard work and saving to buy a brand-new chair after losing everything in a fire. When their savings jar is finally full, the family goes chair shopping to find the perfect replacement. In the end, Grandma has a chair to sit in during the day, Mama has a comfy chair to sit in after a long day working in a diner, and Rosa has a chair where Mama and Grandma can read her bedtime stories." —Charnaie Gordon

  • Mrs. Quimby

    from the Ramona Series by Beverly Cleary

    "I have a soft spot for Mrs. Quimby, of the Ramona books. The Quimbys weren't perfect parents, they argued. And when Ramona threatens to run away, Mrs. Quimby pulls the ultimate parenting kung fu move — she offers to help. I always thought, oh, I'll keep that in my back pocket for when this happens to me — because I know it will happen to me. I'm all about the "good enough" mother — as opposed to the "perfect mother" — and, in the realm of children's books, Mrs. Quimby fits that mold. (But also, because I love a bad mom, Mrs. Wormwood from Matilda is kinda fun, too.)" —Laura Lambert

  • Hazel’s Amazing Mother

    from Hazel’s Amazing Mother by Rosemary Wells

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    "My favorite mom in children's lit is the titular heroine of Hazel's Amazing Mother by Rosemary Wells. Sure, I was impressed by Hazel's mother's domestic prowess: she not only makes Hazel a doll, she makes her an entire wardrobe, including blue silk shoes! But what really impressed, no, amazed me was Hazel's mother's extraordinary ability to be in the right place in the nick of time." —Liz Lesnick

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  • Mother Pig

    from the Oliver and Amanda Pig Series by Jean Van Leeuwen, illustrated by Ann Schweninger

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    "I love Mother Pig from the Oliver and Amanda Pig series. I think she's the perfect mom! She does fun things with her piglets, from baking cookies to pretending to fly in an airplane to Grandmother's house, but she also expects her children to entertain themselves and she's not afraid to correct them when they make bad choices (like pouring a whole bottle of bubble bath in the tub to bathe their stuffed animals). And when Amanda pretends to be the mother and tucks Mother into bed and Mother falls fast asleep? Well, I can relate". —Janssen Bradshaw

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  • Ma

    from the Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

    "When it comes to awesome moms in literature, Ma is one of the best. She's the 1800s version of a supermom. Eternally patient and kind, Ma doesn't let the hard times get her down. She braves the dangerous American frontier and doesn't shy away from the difficult and often frightening situations that come with it. More than that, she teaches her daughters what it means to be a strong woman at a time when women were often overlooked." —Dena McMurdie

  • Mrs. Murry

    from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

    "Mrs. Murry, brilliant scientist and successful mother, must deal with raising four kids alone when her husband goes missing on a secret government project. Does she whine and complain like I would? No way. She perseveres. She has family dinner and makes them hot chocolate when they are up in the middle of the night. She appreciates what makes each of her children special and unique and brings out the best in each of them. She inspires me to want to be a better mom." —Kari Ness Riedel

  • Mrs. Weasley

    from the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

    "My favorite mom in literature is Mrs. Weasley from the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. She's an incredible, caring mom and a strong warrior woman in her own right. She clearly loves her kids and their friends (Harry and Hermione get to stay at the Burrow anytime) yet still has rules and expectations (Ron's embarrassing Howler). She's imperfect but her love shows in everything she does. That, in my eyes, is the best kind of parent." —Melissa Taylor

  • Marilla

    from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

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    "Marilla in Anne of Green Gables has a special place in my heart. She would not even call herself a mother — remember, she wouldn't even let Anne call her 'Aunt'— but we all know the truth. Like all us moms, she was forever transformed by a child's love, and by the surprising depths of her own heart." —Sharon Holbrook

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  • Sam's Mom

    from Kiss Good Night by Amy Hest, illustrated by Anita Jeram

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    "Sam's mom plays the bedtime game with him and creates a ritual that any child would love. She is both calming and fun, showing a true love for Sam and an understanding of his needs." —Jennifer Ridgway

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  • Nana

    from Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson

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    "A special shout-out to grandmas, who offer their own kind of treasures. One of my very favorites is CJ's grandmother in the joyous Last Stop on Market Street. Not only is the special bond between CJ and Nana sweet and touching, it's so important to CJ's perspective. Nana helps CJ see the true beauty in the things around him and appreciate what's really valuable in life." —Wesley Salazar

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Who are some of your favorite moms in children’s literature? Let us know in the comments below!