Contributions by: Robin Calland, Lauren Causey, Karen Coats, Sara K. Day, Lisa Rowe Fraustino, Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore, Anna Katrina Gutierrez, Adrienne Kertzer, Kouen Kim, Alexandra Kotanko, Jennifer Mitchell, Mary Jeanette Moran, Julie Pfeiffer, and Donelle Ruwe. Living or dead, present or absent, sadly dysfunctional or merrily adequate, the figure of the mother bears enormous freight across a child's emotional and intellectual life. Given the vital role literary mothers play in books for young readers, it is remarkable how little scholarly attention has been paid to the representation of mothers outside of fairy tales and beyond studies of gender stereotypes. This collection of thirteen essays begins to fill a critical gap by bringing together a range of theoretical perspectives by a rich mix of senior scholars and new voices. The range of critical approaches in this volume will provide multiple inroads for scholars to investigate richer readings of mothers in children's and young adult literature.