The Rainbow Hand: Poems about Mothers and Children

Mother's Day gift book

American Booksellers Association Pick of the Lists

Penn State University, Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor

When I wrote the poems for The Rainbow Hand: Poems about Mothers and Children, I hoped to write a book that a child (eight or forty-eight) would want to share with a mother, maybe with a mushy little note tucked inside. Not all the poems in The Rainbow Hand are loving and sweet, though, and a few of the poems are even a bit angry at this meat loaf cook who ruins plans and nags about the messy house (as my mother still does). No one drives me crazy the way my mother can, this onion of a mother who makes me cry. But without her, who would I be?

When young readers and their mothers and fathers and uncles and aunts and teachers finish reading The Rainbow Hand, I want them to say, “Yeah, I love my crazy mother, too,” as they sit down to write a poem of their own.

Illustrated by Jennifer Hewitson
Originally published by Simon & Schuster (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
Now available as a CreateSpace reprint on and

“In an exquisite and moving collection of poetry, Wong explores the myriad emotions connected to the word and image of ‘mother’ . . . a gift book for children to read with adults.” —Kirkus

“Like the presence of a mother’s hand, Wong’s thoughtful and reflective volume is comforting and easily accessible. The poems are solid and steady reminders of the connections between mothers and children . . . Universal love, discipline, strength, and emotion are all in evidence here.” —School Library Journal

“All of [the poems] hold a kernel of truth that readers of all ages will recognize . . . Children will find their own tangled feelings here.” —Booklist

created by Jennifer Hewitson

Mother’s Day
from The Rainbow Hand: Poems about Mothers and Children
by Janet Wong
illustrated by Jennifer Hewitson

Mother’s Day morning
and I have no present.
No money.
I walk outside.

Kicking the dirt,
my toe hits a rock.
A smooth speckled oval,
it could be a gargoyle egg.
Or a paperweight.
Stuck in a box,
wrapped in the gold paper
Mother saved from Christmas,
the old tape peeled off,
it looks like a good gift.

She shakes the box, smiling,
while I stare at her hands
untying the ribbon,
tearing the paper,
lifting the lid.
She holds the rock with flat fingers,
like some rotten egg.

Mother walks into the kitchen,
puzzling. She puts a clove of garlic
on her thick round cutting board
and brings the rock down hard.

“A garlic rock,” she says,
pulling chunks of garlic
from the broken skin.
“Just what I needed.”

Copyright ©1999 by Janet S. Wong. All rights reserved.