13 quotes from literature on mothers

Al Woodworth on April 30, 2020

13 quotes from literature on moms, mothers, and mommies

Mother's Day is coming up and to celebrate we've rounded up quotes from some of our favorite books about moms. From laugh-out-loud novels like Where'd You Go, Bernadette to new memoirs like What We Carry, these descriptions of mothers are full of spark, care, and ferocious love.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.”—Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

“I can pinpoint that as the single happiest moment of my life, because I realized then that Mom would always have my back. It made me feel giant. I raced back down the concrete ramp, faster than I ever had before, so fast I should have fallen, but I didn't fall, because Mom was in the world.”—Maria Semple, Where’d You Go, Bernadette

What We Carry: A Memoir by Maya Shanbhag Lang

“She is my first phone call, the one who makes any piece of news real, any achievement official, any blow less painful. The mere act of greeting one another can cause us both to laugh. 'Hi, Mom!' I sing the words. My joy at getting her on the line is palpable, like an addict getting hold of a drug.”—Maya Shanbhag Lang, What We Carry

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

“Once, a long time ago, she was Mommy and I held her neck, her arms, her belly tight with dimpled baby hands. I remember that. How I reached and reached and reached for her. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy.”—Jacqueline Woodson, Red at the Bone

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by Adrienne Brodeur

“All I knew at that moment was I felt lucky. My mother had chosen me, and, together, we were embarking on a great adventure.”—Adrienne Brodeur, Wild Game

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

“My mom smiled at me. Her smile kind of hugged me.”—R.J. Palacio, Wonder

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

“She was the force around which our world turned. My mother was propelled through the universe by the brute force of reason. She was the judge in all our arguments. One disapproving word from her was enough to send us off to hide in a corner, where we would cry and fantasize our own martyrdom. And yet. One kiss could restore us to princedom. Without her, our lives would dissolve into chaos.”—Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

“The clocks were striking midnight and the rooms were very still as a figure glided quietly from bed to bed, smoothing a coverlet here, settling a pillow there, and pausing to look long and tenderly at each unconscious face, to kiss each with lips that mutely blessed, and to pray the fervent prayers which only mothers utter.”—Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Hollywood Park: A Memoir by Mikel Jollett

“Is that a mom? Someone who you can't ever remember not loving you?”—Mikel Jollett, Hollywood Park

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

“In a child’s eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way. I am convinced that this is the greatest power in the universe.”—N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

milk and honey by Rupi Kaur

I struggle so deeply/ to understand/ how someone can pour their entire soul/ blood and energy/ into someone/ without wanting/ anything in return/ I will have to wait till I’m a mother”—Rupi Kaur, milk and honey

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

“He didn't realize that love as powerful as your mother's for you leaves its own mark.”—J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

“She had watched other women with infants and eventually understood what she craved: the boundless permission—no, the absolute necessity—to hold and kiss and stroke this tiny person. Cradling a swaddled infant in their arms, mothers would distractedly touch their lips to their babies' foreheads. Passing their toddlers in a hall, mothers would tousle their hair even sweep them up in their arms and kiss them hard along their chins and necks until the children squealed with glee. Where else in life, Mabel wondered, could a woman love so openly and with such abandon?”—Eowyn Ivey, The Snow Child

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