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A friend of mine asked if I could suggest a few books that focus on family and parenthood, and since Family Day is right around the corner I thought I’d share my list with you. These books have all received great reviews from both the media and the staff here at HarperCollins. I’ve included titles for adults and for kids so everyone in the family has a book to enjoy!

1. Divergent by Veronica Roth      

Set in a dystopian future, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to a particular virtue—Abnegation (selfless), Candor (honest), Amity (the peaceful), Erudite (intelligent), and Dauntless (the brave). Once they turn sixteen, each citizen is given the option of switching factions. Once that choice is made, however, there’s no going back. If you choose to leave the faction you were born into, you risk never seeing your family again. There’s a reason why Divergent is appearing on so many “Must Read” lists-simply put, this was one of the best books of 2011. I guarantee you will not regret reading Divergent this weekend!

2. All the Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson      

Beginning in 1930, this moving novel follows eighteen-year-old Feng as she struggles to survive in a household where duty and tradition take precedence over all else. I finished reading this a few days ago and I can’t stop thinking about it. As the story progresses, you see Feng change from a naïve, young bride to a bitter and resentful mother who you can’t help but sympathize with.

3. This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel

This is a Young Adult book that’s been on my To Read list for a while. Victor Frankenstein, his twin brother, Konrad, and their cousin, Elizabeth, discover a hidden library in the Frankenstein chateau. They are intrigued by the ancient books and odd instruments they find, but the twins’ father forbids them from returning to the Dark Library. When Konrad becomes ill, however, Victor uses one of the texts to find the legendary Elixir of Life and save his brother from death. Some of my favourite books are ones that focus on the dynamic between siblings. I love reading about the sacrifices they make for one another and how their relationship changes with time. This prequel to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is definitely my pick for this weekend.

4. Room by Emma Donoghue

Told entirely from the perspective five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of the deep bond between parent and child.  Almost everyone I know has already read (and loved) this book. It’s gotten to the point that if I tell someone I haven’t read it, they give me a shocked look, and then, with a smile on their face, they list the many reasons why Room is an unforgettable novel. The rave reviews from the staff here have motivated me to move Room to the top of my To Read pile.

5. Borderline by Allan Stratton

When Sami Sabiri’s father becomes the center of an international terrorist investigation, the gutsy Muslim-American teen must fight to clear his family’s name. This was one of the titles that received a lot of attention at OLA (Allan was there doing a signing!) The book has also been praised as a great resource for encouraging cultural tolerance.

6. Joyner’s Dream by Sylvia Tyson    

This is a multi-generational story that begins in England during the 1780s and ends in present-day Toronto. It follows various members of the Joyner-Fitzhelm family who are connected by a love for music, a secret family journal and one long-lived violin. Fans of historical fiction and epic family sagas will love this!

7. Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

When Somer, an American doctor, discovers she will never have a child of her own, she adopts Asha, a beautiful baby from a Mumbai orphanage. Meanwhile, Asha’s mother, Kavita, lives each day with regret over her decision to give her child away. Exploring themes of family, motherhood and diverging cultures, this book is a must read!

8. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, with illustrations by Jon Klassen 

This beautifully illustrated book would be great to read together as a family this weekend. Parents and children alike will fall in love with Annabelle, a sweet little girl who comes across a box full of colorful yarn and decides to knit clothes for her friends, animals, and even buildings and trees!

What books are you most excited to read this long weekend? Have you already read any of these? Let us know!

– Suman
Follow me on Twitter @suman_says

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