It’s always a tight-rope to talk about mothers in kids’ books or YA books. On the one hand, there are lots of mothers, good, bad, and indifferent, who make appearances in books for young people. However, since kids’ books are supposed to be about the kids, and YA books about the teens, the mothers often have to be shuffled into the background. It seems like a disproportionate number of YA protagonists have mothers who are dead or absent, while picture book mothers are often too perfect, since the protagonist kids need to have their adventures against a relatively safe background.
With that said, here are some picture book and YA mothers who have stuck out to me. I know I can’t begin to cover all of them, so please add your favorites (or least favorites!) in the comments, and check out Wendy Daughdrill’s post that celebrates mothers in YA lit.
The Berenstein Bears and Mama’s New Job by Stan and Jan Berenstein. The Berenstein Bears are one of those picture book families in which the mother sometimes seems a little too perfect. I feel like this tendency is more pronounced in later books in the series, especially in the ones where poor Papa Bear becomes the bad example time and again. However, the series also has a lot of good, realistic parenting moments (maternal and paternal), and I think Mama’s New Job is one of these. It shows the process of Mama going from a stay-at-home bear to a working woman and how the whole family makes the adjustment and helps her along the way. Continue reading Young Adult-Picture Book Pairings: Happy Mothers’ Day!
I hope everyone had a lovely Mother’s Day. Truthfully the holiday is bittersweet for me, since my mom passed away nine years ago this month. But I do have happy memories of her, and many of them are connected to books and to reading. She was a voracious reader who passed that love of books on to me. I’d rather read than do almost anything else. (This is why my house looks like it does.)
When I was small, she read to me daily. We shared Pauline Palmer’s The Just Alike Princes, No Flying in the House by Betty Brock, Margery Clark’s Poppy Seed Cakes, and many, many fairy tales and fables. As soon as I could read on my own, she let me have free rein in the public library. While she checked on what I was reading, she never stopped me from reading anything. This led me to discover The Bobbsey Twins, Harriet the Spy, and every word Judy Blume ever wrote.
My mom’s favorite genre was Science Fiction. She loved Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Series and Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? When the movie Blade Runner came out (it was based on Do Androids Dreamâ€¦) mom and I eagerly went to the cinema together to see how the adaptation worked.
This love of SF led me to read everything from Asimov’s I, Robot to Frank Herbert’s Dune to Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series to novelizations of Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars to Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Continue reading My Mom Made Me a Reader
If you are hanging around The Hub, chances are you’re a reader. And if you love to read, statistically speaking, you probably had a mom, or some other motherly figure, who read to you when you were small. (I know, I know, lots of you are screaming that it was your dad. This is Mother’s Day. Wait your turn.) So if you are still looking for a last-minute Mother’s Day gift, why not show your appreciation by introducing her to a YA mom as fabulous as she is? Just match Mom’s style to one of the titles below, each with one of the best mothers in YA and plenty of adult appeal. You may need to include a box of tissues!
For the Mess-with-My-Kid-and-I’ll-Take-You-Down momâ€”Divergent by Veronica Roth (2012 Teens’ Top Ten winner). It’s no secret that adults everywhere are devouring this series, especially since the movie came out, but fierce mothers will have a particular appreciation for Natalie Prior. Butâ€¦butâ€¦Tris’s mom is Abnegation, isn’t she? The picture of selflessness, she supports her children’s choices and wants what is best for them, even if it means watching them walk out of her life. But threaten one of her kids, andâ€¦let’s just say a whole other side of her comes out.