The best books about aunts

4 authors have picked their favorite books about aunts and why they recommend each book.

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Miss Rumphius

By Barbara Cooney,

Book cover of Miss Rumphius

I have absolutely loved this beautiful story since I first read it to my children nearly 40 years ago! As someone who also wanted to see the world and then settle down, like Alice in the story, I knew that I also “must do something to make the world more beautiful.” And, like Alice, who finally figures out what that could be when she is an older woman, my epiphany came once my children were grown and gone. Sharing a love of nature with Miss Rumphius, I credit her with being part of the inspiration which spurs me on to restore natural habitat, giving me so much happiness along the way.

Who am I?

I’ve always enjoyed both gardening and children. As a former Virginia Master Gardener and Homeschool mom, and a current Lancaster National Wildlife Federation Habitat Steward, I now find myself encouraging others to look at gardening in a new light – not only as a way to decorate their yards, but also as a means to provide habitat for our diminishing wildlife population. I try to show how you can have both beauty and function at the same time and how much fun it is to engage children in this essential activity. I love books that show what a difference one person – even a young child – can make in the world.

I wrote...

Grandma Lisa's Humming, Buzzing, Chirping Garden

By Lisa Doseff,

Book cover of Grandma Lisa's Humming, Buzzing, Chirping Garden

What is my book about?

A Gentle Blueprint for Engaging Children in Creating an Enchanting Garden for Wildlife!

If you’re looking for inspiration to create a natural habitat of your own, or simply want to spark a love of nature in youngsters, join Grandma Lisa as she transforms her garden into a wildlife sanctuary with the help of her curious and eager grandchildren. Told in rhyme from a child’s perspective, children will enjoy learning about the benefits of native plants and insects, as well as important concepts such as host plants, food webs, and so much more. But be prepared…you just may find yourself pulling on your garden gloves, picking up a shovel, and heading outdoors to bring nature into the little piece of the planet where you live.

Dial A for Aunties

By Jesse Q. Sutanto,

Book cover of Dial A for Aunties

You would think a book in which a woman accidentally kills the man who tried to date-rape her and enlists her mother to help hide the body would be a gritty, intense thriller or a thought-provoking work of literary fiction full of social commentary. Sutanto turns this premise into a comedy about intergenerational female bonding, and it freakin’ works. Meddlin Chan’s manslaughter and cover-up take place against the bubbly backdrop of a Chinese-Indonesian resort wedding and a reconnection with her first love. What even is this book’s genre? Crime? Romance? Chick lit? Whatever it is, I laughed out loud through the whole thing.

Who am I?

When people ask what kind of books I like to read, I can’t answer with a genre. As a kid, I’d come home from the library with mysteries, Westerns, fantasies, non-fiction books, and comic books in the same stack. I’ve always liked books that introduce me to fun characters, take these characters on fantastical adventures, make me laugh at least a little, and leave me with a sense of hope and triumph. They can be anything from cheesy romcoms to dark thrillers to complicated biographies. This is reflected in my fantasy series, Thalia’s Musings, which has been praised for its realistic treatment of abuse and also compared to Friends.

I wrote...

A Snag in the Tapestry: Thalia's Musings Volume 1

By Amethyst Marie,

Book cover of A Snag in the Tapestry: Thalia's Musings Volume 1

What is my book about?

Thalia is the Muse of Comedy. She doesn’t affect real life with her powers the way the Twelve Olympians do. She spends her days making mortal playwrights jump through hoops in exchange for comedic inspiration, and totally not flirting with the god Apollo. But when Thalia helps Apollo raise a cursed nymph from the dead, the Fates want to test her limits. Thalia takes the Fates’ tests in stride with the same glib, bubbly snark that she brings to the Olympian Court’s drama—until her sister becomes a target for Zeus’s attention and Hera’s vengeance, and Thalia’s growing powers may be the only thing that can protect her.

Auntie Mame

By Patrick Dennis,

Book cover of Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade

Patrick Dennis’s “hyperbolized” version of his life with his aunt and legal guardian, Mame Dennis, has a history both on Broadway (“Mame” portrayed by Lucille Ball) and on the silver screen (“Auntie Mame” portrayed by Rosalind Russell). It was the film that led me to the book, which Dennis admits is filled with hyperbole and imaginary details. It is, however, based on the sometimes outlandish and often controversial life of his “progressive” aunt, who believed “life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving.”

It’s hard to tell where reality ends and fiction begins, but in truth you won’t want to. Auntie Mame manages to be both touching and hysterical as it follows Mame’s swinging New York lifestyle through the Great Depression into the workforce (a first for the heretofore wealthy heiress) and beyond into marriage into a “proper” Southern family, whose scrutiny Mame does not always survive intact.…

Who am I?

“Write what you know.” Every writer knows this. I have done that; first, in a novella, Losing Addison, which I recently made into a psychological thriller featuring Sherilyn Fenn (release date: June 28, 2022). The story is based on a nightmare I had in 2011. In addition, I have written two novels, By A Thread and The Falls, both of which involve Mormon missionaries caught up in events that test their integrity, forcing them to make difficult choices as said missionaries discover same-sex attractions more deeply rooted than they—and their superiors—would like to admit.

I wrote...

By a Thread

By Marty Beaudet,

Book cover of By a Thread

What is my book about?

"The time will come when the Constitution and the Government will hang by a thread and will be ready to fall...but this people, the Latter-Day Saints, will step forth and save it."

Thus prophesied the founding prophet of the Mormon Church. Is this prophecy on the verge of being fulfilled? Some adherents to the faith within the U.S. government think so. But what role will 21-year-old missionary Kevin "Red" Davis play when the CIA approaches him? What choices will he make when his faith, his patriotism, and his personal integrity come into conflict? Unfolding on the streets of Vienna, Munich, Washington, D.C., and in the confines of a prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, By A Thread is a tale of truth, trust, and betrayal.

The Secret Life of Violet Grant

By Beatriz Williams,

Book cover of The Secret Life of Violet Grant

Williams is another of my absolute favorite authors. I love anything she writes, but I chose to showcase the Schuler Sisters series because, again, it consists of an overarching saga with some fantastic mystery elements. Williams’ strength is that she is able to place the reader directly in the scene with her perfect attention to detail without overdoing it. She expertly weaves multiple storylines in different eras to produce one delicious book.  

Who am I?

As the author of a historical/mystery/romance series that has won over sixty international awards in multiple categories, I’m attracted to books that cannot be pinned to one genre. I love sweeping sagas with elements of all three, perhaps because I was so immersed in classic literature as a kid and fascinated by stories of the past. I suspect I may have once lived in the 1930s and, having yet to discover a handy time machine lying around, I have resorted to writing about the era as a way of getting myself back there. I am, not surprisingly, addicted to period dramas and big band music. 

I wrote...

A Girl Like You

By Michelle Cox,

Book cover of A Girl Like You

What is my book about?

Henrietta Von Harmon works as a 26 girl at a corner bar on Chicago’s northwest side. It’s 1935, but things still aren’t looking up since the big crash and her father’s subsequent suicide, leaving Henrietta to care for her antagonistic mother and younger siblings.

In desperation, Henrietta takes a job as a taxi dancer at a local dance hall, and just when she’s beginning to enjoy herself, the floor matron turns up dead. When aloof Inspector Clive Howard appears on the scene, Henrietta agrees to go undercover for him and is plunged into Chicago’s grittier underworld. While she attempts to uncover a potential serial killer, little does she know that the Inspector is keeping his secrets of his own.

Travels with My Aunt

By Graham Greene,

Book cover of Travels with My Aunt

Henry Pulling, a reluctantly retired bank manager, meets his 70-ish-year-old Aunt Augusta for the first time in more than 50 years at his mother’s funeral. His Aunt is vibrant, even outrageous, and he is anything but—a man whose only hobby is growing dahlias. An Aunt myself, I love a story about a wild, non-traditional Aunt, and her relationship with her nephew. As the title suggests, the story is told through the eyes of Henry. His views of his life and their travels are filled with humor and insight. The joy of this novel follows the challenges that arise when two generations confront their expectations of each other and themselvesexpectations that are never more alive than when we travel. 

Who am I?

I’m a Canadian author who has been fascinated with how others see the world since I was a child. I was captivated by Charlotte’s Web. If pigs and spiders could be having unheard conversations, what else was I missing? I delight in stories that invite me into the distinct world of the narrator, so it’s no surprise that my novel, Entitled, is written from a unique perspective—that of a book. When done well, these stories let us see life through the eyes of someone else. If we all experienced our surroundings, just for a minute, as others did, perhaps there would be more humanity in this world. 

I wrote...

Entitled: Life isn't easy when you're a book

By Cookie Boyle,

Book cover of Entitled: Life isn't easy when you're a book

What is my book about?

The extraordinary adventures of an extraordinary book.

Entitled is a charming, humorous novel told from the perspective of a book seeking to find a home. As it is read, misplaced, loaned, and abandoned, our book, like its Readers, discovers love and heartbreak, loneliness and friendship, and ultimately becomes the author of its own journey. In the end, Entitled reveals the pull between the story we are born with and the one we wish to create for ourselves.

Jamaica Inn

By Daphne du Maurier,

Book cover of Jamaica Inn

Jamaica Inn is another grand literary role model, though it gave me a sense of something missing. It was too glamorous, too romanticised. The harsh underside of life needed more prominence. However, it narrative pace, sustained sense of drama and suspense cannot be faulted, can never fail as a creative catalyst.  

Who am I?

The collection Little Musings, available on Amazon, covers several decades of Joy's work as poet and painter. It touches on many aspects of her life, including the loss of her mother, in Do Not Mourn Her and Loss - Double Rainbow. Her childhood was spent in Plymouth, and in A Plymouth Girl Reflects, she recalls the aftermath of the air raids. Being in close proximity to Cornwall, that area also a major theme here, especially in Newquay, Cornwall, and On Air, By Melancholy. Four of the poems, "Absent Friends," "Isle of Thanet," "At Jim's Cafe," and "Captain Ahab of Thanet" are focused on the Thanet area of East Kent, where Joy now lives.

I wrote...

The Lamorna Reach: A Cornish Saga

By Joy V. Sheridan,

Book cover of The Lamorna Reach: A Cornish Saga

What is my book about?

The Lamorna Reach presents a Zola-esque tableau of raw, elemental life in early 19th Century Cornwall. Issy, the heroine, is incredibly beautiful and talented, but these qualities do not secure her a happy, comfortable life. She is born a foundling, under the most brutal circumstances, and is fostered. Issy undergoes rape and abuse, and is pressurised into an oppressive marriage. There is a saga of mutual obsession between her and the fascinating dark and menacing Tobias Carmichael, who seduces but does not control her. There are brief glimpses of euphoria and romance. Issy is a fiercely independent spirit; true to form, she disguises herself as a man and goes on a maritime expedition. Eventually, jealousy and prejudice conspire to take her life; but her spirit lives on.

Missing May

By Cynthia Rylant,

Book cover of Missing May

My all-time favorite middle-grade novel about grief. The recipient of the 1993 Newbery Medal, Missing May holds up for today’s readers. No matter how many times I read this beautiful little book, I sob at certain points in the story. Rylant takes the reader through every stage of grief, and the emotions are relatable to those of all ages. Whirligigs, gardens, and grief...they blend together gorgeously in this sparse and poetic novel. As someone who’s always looking for a sign after someone I love dies, I related with Rylant’s protagonist Summer and her desperate search for a sign from May.

Who am I?

I have passion for the topic of grief among middle-school-aged children, as I struggled with my grief when I was ten and my beloved grandmother died. My dad came from a very large family, and so other relatives passed during my childhood, with me always dealing with feelings of confusion after the loss. I think that children need to know that they are not alone when they are facing a loss, whether it be of a human or a pet.

I wrote...

One Amazing Elephant

By Linda Oatman High,

Book cover of One Amazing Elephant

What is my book about?

A poignant middle-grade animal story from talented author Linda Oatman High that will appeal to fans of Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan. In this heartwarming novel, a girl and an elephant face the same devastating loss—and slowly realize that they share the same powerful love.

Twelve-year-old Lily Pruitt loves her grandparents, but she doesn’t love the circus—and the circus is their life. She’s perfectly happy to stay with her father, away from her neglectful mother and her grandfather’s beloved elephant, Queenie Grace. Then Grandpa Bill dies, and both Lily and Queenie Grace are devastated. When Lily travels to Florida for the funeral, she keeps her distance from the elephant. But the two are mourning the same man—and form a bond born of loss. And when Queenie Grace faces danger, Lily must come up with a plan to help save her friend.


By Shivaun Plozza,

Book cover of Frankie

I really loved reading Frankie. The feisty main character, Frankie, meets Xavier, who claims to be her half-brother. When he goes missing in Melbourne, she is determined to find him, and you really feel you are there with her in her quest. It is a poignant and touching story, and the climax leaves your emotions reeling. You’ll want to read more from this author.

Who am I?

I am an Australian author and an avid reader. Although I love reading books set in other countries, I particularly enjoy stories that take place in Australia, as I can really identify with them. I especially relate to those set in the Australian outback or small rural towns, as for several years I lived in remote indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. I understand how in small towns it is very difficult to keep secrets, as everybody knows everyone else’s business, and I now realise this is becoming an underlying theme in my writing. I have a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Tasmania.

I wrote...

Jilda's Ark

By Verity Croker,

Book cover of Jilda's Ark

What is my book about?

A sixteenth birthday celebration cruise for twins Jilda and Rosa quickly becomes a nightmare. While her family enjoys an excursion on a Fijian island, Jilda, who is unwell and remains onboard, finds their ship has sailed off, leaving most of its passengers stranded on shore.

An unknown group has overtaken the ship. After a few days, they collect thousands of new passengers from a distant archipelago, making conditions onboard overcrowded and uncomfortable. Nobody knows where they’re headed, so the mood on the ship rapidly deteriorates. Though Jilda is desperate to reunite with her family, she meets someone who comforts her and completely changes her world. But how will her new friend Jade feel when she learns Jilda has a boyfriend back home in Australia?

Getting Near to Baby

By Audrey Couloumbis,

Book cover of Getting Near to Baby

This award-winning, middle grade novel begins with Willa Jo and her little sister refusing to come down off their Aunt Patty’s roof. Drawn to get as close to the sky as possible, they stay up, wrestling with the recent death of their sibling. I read this book shortly after my baby died, and it gets everything right about the confusion, the magical thinking, the incomprehensible behavior of those who don’t know grief, and especially, the inability to understand a world that has, in an instant, been so dramatically altered. 

Who am I?

When I sold the manuscript that became The Way Back from Broken, my editor asked why I wrote it. I said, “I wrote a book about the two things I’m an expert in: grief and canoeing.” It took me ten years to find my own way back from being broken after the death of my daughter. Along that difficult and heartbreaking trail, I came to loathe people who said things like “Time heals all wounds” or “It was meant to be.” I craved those brave few who spoke and wrote with deep authenticity about how grief and loss force us to reconsider everything we’ve ever known about the world. 

I wrote...

The Way Back from Broken

By Amber J. Keyser,

Book cover of The Way Back from Broken

What is my book about?

Rakmen’s baby sister died in his arms, his parents are on the verge of divorce, and he’s flunking out of high school. The only place he fits is at Promise House, otherwise known as support group central. Not that he wants to be there. Talking doesn’t bring back the dead. When he’s shipped off to the Canadian wilderness with ten-year-old Jacey, another member of the support group, and her mom, his summer goes from bad to worse. He can’t imagine how eight weeks of canoeing and camping could be anything but awful. Yet the vast and unforgiving backcountry just might give Rakmen a chance to find the way back from broken... if he’s brave enough to grab it. 

The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season

By Molly Fader,

Book cover of The Bitter and Sweet of Cherry Season: A Novel

I love that this story is set around cherry harvest. The description and storytelling were done in broad strokes of imagery. This story stayed with me because of the grief and longing one of the main character struggles with. Seeing through the perspective of the little girl was entertaining. All the characters had extraordinary personalities. I loved this book because it was a universal truth. Life is a hill with boulders of various sizes, set on fire, headed straight for you. Staying put is only going to get you knocked the [email protected]#! Out.

Who am I?

Like many, I am a sucker for a Happy Ever After. I want to drift upon the clouds of peaceful surrender. But let's face it, we hurdle back to reality and face plant. And because of that, I write romance with the heartache of truth. I gravitate toward contemporary romance because of the tough topics characters face as they find love. I’ve written seven romance novels and one YA. I run three writing groups and work for Munchkin Lane developing/designing Early Childhood Readers. I have a master’s degree in creative writing with an emphasis in Young Adult and a bachelor's in creative writing. 

I wrote...

Midnight's Dream: Book One of the Verbecks of Idaho

By R.E.S. Tidmore,

Book cover of Midnight's Dream: Book One of the Verbecks of Idaho

What is my book about?

Emma Verbeck has always lived in the shadows of her older brothers. After a tragic accident befalls the Verbeck family, her loving brothers are too overprotective, and Emma has been struggling ever since to find her own voice. Her sensitive and empathetic nature as the town doctor offers her an identity all to herself.

In the first book of the Verbecks of Idaho series, the past has the power to turn lives upside down and family loyalties are tested. This is a story about love against all odds and learning how to forgive.

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