A World of Mothers and Motherhood

Hélène Delforge; Illustrated by Quentin Gréban

Available to buy

Quick Look

  • Quentin Gréban's stunning imagined portraits feature mothers from different eras and cultures, sharing the idea that emotions and experiences of motherhood are universal and timeless
  • Hélène Delforge's accompanying text, inspired by her own experience of being a mother, sensitively tackles feelings of worry, joy, frustration, nostalgia, guilt and love
  • This is a gorgeous, large-format hardback with decorative endpapers and luxury paper
  • Mama would be a memorable and heartfelt gift for any mother, to cherish for themselves and to share with their children

A stunning collection of portraits and intimate reflections on motherhood, sharing what unites mothers from different times and diverse cultures. A perfect gift for mamas and grandmas with lyrical words and striking artwork by an award-winning illustrator

300 x 238 mm
Floris Books
Picture Books; Art & Literature
colour illustrations
50 pages
Publication date:
17 Feb 2022


Powerful, emotive, unforgettable -- Mama speaks to all mothers in the international language of love.

This is a stunning collection of vivid portraits and intimate reflections on motherhood from around the globe. Mama uniquely portrays the emotions and experiences that unite mothers from different times and diverse cultures.

Twenty-one striking watercolour portraits and lively pencil sketches by acclaimed artist Quentin Gréban are paired with Hélène Delforge's lyrical words to create a thought-provoking celebration of motherhood in all its complexity: the satisfaction and the sadness, the frustration and the fun -- and, always, the love.

This moving and joyful book is a perfect gift for mamas everywhere.


'A gorgeous, moving look at motherhood from different cultures and eras. Each of Gréban's breath-taking pencil and watercolor illustrations of a mother and child is paired with a free form poem by Delforge imagining the experience and thoughts of that mother. A wonderfully diverse portrayal of motherhood is presented, including a mother who's been left behind by a child's father, a mother who has lost their child, mothers who are frustrated with unwanted advice, and mothers who have mixed feelings about motherhood. An array of cultural dress and styles are also presented in this stunning book... A first purchase for all libraries serving new parents.'
-- School Library Journal

'Though both these contributors live on the same street in Brussels, this is very much a book about motherhood with a global outlook. How unusual. And welcome. I wouldn't go so far as to say all the world is here, but there's a hell of a lot more of it than we usually see in the Eurocentric west. And Greban's illustrations are exquisite... Delforge's words are simple, sweet, sentimental, and affecting. Mama is tender, beautiful, sweet, imperfect, partial, sometimes disappointing, over-sentimental, and infuriating. Just like motherhood.'
-- Chitra Ramaswamy, author of Expecting: The Inner Life of Pregnancy

'This is a book that sinks into your soul the more you read it. Incredibly powerful, at times raw. Motherhood with all its power and vulnerability. Mama: A World of Mothers and Motherhood is something phenomenally special. This would make a wonderful gift for Mother's Day.
It's a book of hopes, dreams, joys, frustrations, guilt, despair and everything in between. The myriad of emotions you can feel in just one day as a mother.
I adored Quentin's representation of different periods of time and cultures from around the world. There's a whole story and more in each of his portraits and the delicate line drawings that are on each double spread.'
-- Busy Busy Learning

'This is a beautiful book taking an inclusive view of many facets of motherhood: the highs and lows, the pleasures and pains of being the primary carer for a young child... This would be a wonderful gift for someone reflecting on motherhood.'
-- Kindling

'This is the most gorgeous celebration of motherhood. What's wonderful about the book is that it acknowledges the range of motherhood in all its meanings. There are voices from mothers around the world, covering a spectrum of motherhood experiences and all that being a mother can mean to different people: feeling bored on the bus, then regretting that the journey time ever felt wasted; covering a changed body with tattoos; the grief of losing a child; the guilt of going to war and leaving a child; parenting alone; exhaustion; old age. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful. This is a wonderful book full of emotion.'
-- Juno

'A beautiful dedication to the mother figures of the world... The stories are beautiful and very emotional. I appreciated the diversity of the illustrations: indigenous women are displayed, women of color, working mothers, mothers who are exhausted, and mothers who are happy. The illustrations look like paintings.'
-- Youth Services Book Review

'This gorgeous book just sent me on a rollercoaster of emotions -- from smiling, to laughing, to tears, and back to smiling. I was completely swept away by the images and especially by the words -- so many memories and so very poignant. Every mom should have this book!'
-- Kit Little, NAIBA (New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association)

'Originally published in French, the sentiments and illustrations in this oversize book easily translate into several different languages. That isn't because of the simplicity of the text, which is powerful, intimate, moving, and eloquent, capturing effectively the various feelings mothers have for their offspring, but because the sentiments are so relatable and timeless. In the lines, mothers ponder their own futures as well as their children, worry about their health, spend time guiding them in the right directions, and offer as many kisses as are requested, even a hundred or more, to reassure the little ones of love. The striking images, full-page paintings featuring mothers from around the world, offer different perspectives of motherhood and focus on a mother's eyes, her feet, her tattooed back, her watchful eyes in the rearview mirror of a car, always careful, always on guard against the world that might do harm to her precious one, and in one case, mourning a loss and pondering if a death means that one is no longer a mother. Gorgeous, glorious illustrations worthy of framing in a museum are accompanied by carefully-chosen words.'
-- Barbara, Goodreads reviewer

'Tender and beautifully illustrated book to encourage mothers. Delforge takes readers on a trip through all the emotions and activities of motherhood. Moms everywhere will connect with her words and rhythms as they move through their lives. Greban's illustrations capture the exhaustion, worry and love involved in this special bond between a mother and her child.
A beautiful gift book for new mothers.'
-- Pam, Goodreads reviewer

'The artwork in this book was completely stunning. It depicts motherhood across cultures and history, with each illustration accompanied by text reflecting a mother's thoughts to her child. I imagine this would be an enjoyable book to add to any parents' collection.'
-- A. J., Goodreads reviewer


Hélène Delforge is a journalist, writer, mother and stepmother. She studied languages and literature and has been a journalist for over 20 years. At home in her native Brussels, Helene writes with a cat asleep in her desk drawer. Mama is Helene's first book and was co-created with her brother-in-law, illustrator and artist Quentin Gréban.

Quentin Gréban is a world-renowned illustrator and artist. He studied illustration at the Saint Luc Institute in Brussels, Belgium, and since 1999 has published more than forty-five children's books. Quentin is the recipient of a Saint-Exupery award and his books have been translated all over the world. He works from a studio at home in his native Brussels, surrounded by drawings of his children and listening to his dog snoring. Mama was co-created with Quentin's sister-in-law, author and journalist, Helene Delforge.

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