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)

'This picture book combines lyrical text with striking pencil and watercolour portraits by a renowned Belgian illustrator. Each two-page spread captures a moment in time, a snapshot of the myriad ways of being a mother. Brimming with love but also recognising how hard motherhood can be, this book is essentially a beautiful letter of support for mamas everywhere.'
-- Five Books

'So incredibly beautiful, so detailed, and portrays a wonderfully diverse group of mothers. The poems were written for and inspired by these gorgeous portraits, and each one is so fitting, sharing the trials and tribulations of motherhood. From those sweet moments to the most challenging ones, sharing the beauty and vulnerability of motherhood itself.'
-- Kids Corner Book Club

'WOW! Is all I can say about this STUNNING book of portraits and poetry. Each page reflects on the universal journey that is young motherhood. The beauty, heartbreak, bone crushing fatigue, and hope for the future that comes with taking care of little ones. This large format hardcover book is beautiful and unforgettable.'
-- Drama Mama Reads

'It is so incredibly beautiful, so detailed, and portrays a wonderfully diverse group of mothers. The poems were written for and inspired by these gorgeous portraits, and each one is so fitting, sharing the trials and tribulations of motherhood. From those sweetest moments to the most challenging ones, sharing the beauty and vulnerability of motherhood itself. [...] A wonderful gift for mom this Mother’s Day.'
-- Kids Corner Book Club

'This book made me reflect on all the small moments both in my short six years as a mother and in the generations before me that all add up to many whole women whose experiences are so intertwined in this powerful identity of motherhood. Conversely, how that identity is only one facet of who I am even if all the decisions I made in my life now revolve around the well-being of this perfect small human who began life growing inside of me. This book is one to sit with, one to reflect with, one to gift to moms to be in your life, and to those who are deep in the muck alongside you. It celebrates our babies (both beside us, and those no longer earthside), our bodies, and all of the feelings that run through our heads each and every day.'
-- Inclusive Story Time

'If there's a book you should buy for yourself this Mother's Day, this is 100% it. Buy it for your sister too. And your mom friends, sister-in-laws, maybe even your own mother, too. Matter of fact, buy it for every Mama you know because it's that wonderful! And, if you love poetry as much as I do, you will absolutely LOVE the way this book is written. This entire masterpiece is full of the most genuine & real aspects about motherhood that you were never able to put into words yourself. I love that this book connects all mamas together, regardless of their parenting journey. There is no judgement, no shame, no guilt, just mamas being mamas and loving their babies with every fiber of their being. It's no secret that these illustrations are the first thing you notice about this book. They're gorgeous, how could you not?! Throughout the entire book, these breathtaking snapshots into motherhood bring even more beauty to the pages pairing so perfectly with the words.'
-- Oh the Books We Love

'Since I started this account there have been two picture books to make me cry, Saturdays are for Stella & The Longest Letsgoboy, and now Mama makes the third. There is a reason this book is all over bookstagram right now. This beautiful new release does a great job at capturing the complexities of parenting, good and the bad. Child loss is mentioned which feels like a major aspect of parenthood that's often overlooked in picture books. It feels like a timeless book to have around that can mean many different things to readers at different stages in life in the best way. I loved the depiction of motherhood through a worldwide lens highlighting what a universal human experience raising children is. The artwork is gorgeous with lyrical thought provoking text that make this a wonderful pick as a gift for mothers everywhere.'
-- Kid Lit is Lit

'What a gorgeous, gorgeous book. First, let me be clear. This is a book FOR mamas. Sure, it's a picture book, and you can read it with your kids, but mamas this one is for you. Just be sure that you have some tissues handy. To begin with, the illustrations are stunning. This could easily be a coffee table book based on the cover, and every illustration inside is just as beautiful. But the words! Written in captivating verse, they are a story of motherhood - with perspectives from the past, the present, and from all around the world - from both mothers and children. Stories of hearing that first "mama"" to the sacrifices we make. Of the mistakes mamas make to the anxious thoughts we have about keeping our babies safe. Of loss and exhaustion - and always, love.'
-- Girls Read the World

'I am going to hold on to this book forever. As a woman/mother we go through a lot from sleepless nights to hormonal imbalances, from loss to surrogacy, from IVF shots to memory loss. Mama is a thought-provoking celebration of motherhood: happiness, satisfaction, sadness, frustration, fun, and love. This powerful and moving celebration of mamas everywhere explores the experience of motherhood through strikingly intimate portraits and thought-provoking reflections. A book filled with emotions and experiences that unite mothers from different times and diverse cultures.'
-- Homeschooling Abhi

'Featuring moms from different cultures, time periods, and circumstances, there are sure to be multiple passages in this book that resonate with your motherhood experience. The beautiful verses capture the wide array of emotions we experience in motherhood: joy, fear, exhaustion, pride, guilt, grief, appreciation, hope but most importantly love. What I find especially fascinating about this book is that the words were inspired by the illustrations, instead of vice versa. It gives this book a unique feel and opens up the illustrations for interpretation based on our own experiences as mothers.'
-- The Blossoming Bibliophiles

'This is such a beautiful heartwarming book. It's more for mothers than for kids. The author has written about motherhood from different eras and cultures. I loved reading all the writings and just thinking how relatable they all are. The illustrations are so captivating and stunning you really can't stop looking at them. This makes a perfect gift for a first time mom or any mom really.'
-- Nura's Little Library

'Captures the myriad of emotions and experiences mothers have regardless of time and place.'
-- Kids Read the World

'Powerful, filled with love, unforgettable... This is a beautiful and lyrical collection of vivid portraits and intimate reflections on motherhood from around the globe.'
-- Books and Cookies LA

'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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