The best books about family 📚

Browse the best books on family as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of The Misfortune of Marion Palm

The Misfortune of Marion Palm

By Emily Culliton

Why this book?

I love the concept of the main character, Marion Palm. She's a sort of anti-hero, exactly the sort of woman society expects us not to celebrate: she commits crimes, and then abandons her family when she's been found out. She goes on the run, like the characters in The Last Flight but for different reasons. And yet I found myself rooting for her. Her crime is almost victimless (or rather, the victims are mostly stuck-up rich people we are not exactly encouraged to sympathize with), and her motives are not selfish. In the end, I took this as a book…

From the list:

The best books by women about women, beyond romance, motherhood, or emulating men

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Book cover of The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra

The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra

By Helen Rappaport

Why this book?

Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia: the four daughters of Nicholas II are sometimes known as OTMA and often seen as a collective. With their carefully curated public images, Rappaport refers to them as the “Princess Dianas of their day.” At the same time, their individual personalities come to life via diary entries, correspondence, and fascinating reconstructions of their experiences as young women coming to age in the last days of imperial Russia, nurses during WWI, and prisoners after the Revolution.

From the list:

The best books on the last Romanovs

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Book cover of My Mother's Son

My Mother's Son

By David Hirshberg

Why this book?

This award-winning novel combines a boy’s coming-of-age story with a well-wrought picture of American life and culture in Boston after the Holocaust. Told by a radio host remembering his growing up years in Boston in the 1950s, this book incorporates major events of the times – such as the Korean War, the polio scourge, events in baseball and politics – with the personal experience of growing up in a Jewish family in the post-Holocaust years. In the flashbacks, the voice of the child is perfectly rendered, and his adult views of his youth and of aging are delivered with wry…

From the list:

The best novels set during the post Holocaust period

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Book cover of Wild Game: My Mother, Her Secret, and Me

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Secret, and Me

By Adrienne Brodeur

Why this book?

I read Wild Game in a weekend—and that’s unusual for me, but I just couldn’t put the book down. Brodeur brought me into a world of treachery, lies, and mother-daughter entanglement that I found absolutely compelling. The mother in this book, Malabar, is a larger-than-life character whose willingness to sacrifice her daughter’s well-being for her own ends was horrifying and believable. I rooted for the daughter all the way through this beautifully crafted book, but it was the mother I found unforgettable.
From the list:

The best books on the drama, conflict, loyalty, and love of the mother-daughter knot

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Book cover of A Family Is a Family Is a Family

A Family Is a Family Is a Family

By Sara O’Leary, Qin Leng

Why this book?

Many kids secretly fear the questions that come up at the beginning of the school year about their family. If you are living in foster care or have been going through something difficult in your home life, talking about family can be challenging. This playfully illustrated story helps create a safe space for all different kinds of families. Great for reading at home with your child or with the whole class to nurture a welcoming environment.

From the list:

The best children's books for back to school

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Book cover of Stitchin' and Pullin': A Gee's Bend Quilt

Stitchin' and Pullin': A Gee's Bend Quilt

By Patricia McKissack, Cozbi A. Cabrera

Why this book?

Patricia McKissack introduces the quilts of Gee’s Bend to young readers in this charming picture book. McKissack not only read about Gee’s Bend but she visited and learned how to quilt. Her text is written in poems that capture the lilt and rhythm of Gee’s Bend women. The speaker, “Baby Girl,” describes how she learned how to quilt from her grandma. The soft, painterly illustrations by Cozbi A. Cabrera resemble Gee’s Bend quilts, and depict the colorful scraps of material the women used. The story includes the visit of Dr. Martin Luther King to “the Bend” on his way to…

From the list:

The best books on quilting created by African American women to tell their stories

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