Nurture - May 6, 2020

6 Books That Honor Our Parents During Mother and Father’s Day

Our parental figures have an enormous influence on our lives. From the lessons they teach us to the unconditional love they show, it’s difficult to describe just how much they mean to us. Thankfully, there are plenty of books by people of all backgrounds who can put these feelings into words, both the beautiful and complicated moments. 

Right on time for the Mother’s and Father’s Day season, here are some books by authors who capture authentic relationships with their parents. So no matter how or if you’re celebrating Mother or Father’s Day, there are themes we can all connect with in each of these books: self-discovery, resilience, and honoring the legacy of our Mother and father to mold our own. 


The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Myth, and Manipulation by Melissa Rivers

Perhaps one of the closest mother-daughter relationships in the public eye, Joan and Melissa Rivers, had an iconic bond both on and off the screen. The comedic memoir captures the late entertainer and entrepreneur’s life through her daughter’s eyes. Each chapter contains snapshots of Rivers’ personality with a mixture of advice, personal narratives, lists, and photographs that celebrate her brash, but generous character.

Throughout the book, it’s clear that Joan’s wicked wit lives on through her daughter. Melissa’s lighthearted, bittersweet memoir reminds us to cherish every moment we have with our mothers.

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Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from Storycorps edited by Dave Isay

Since 2003, Storycorps has been sharing stories to keep the spirit of human connection memorable and accessible to anyone. Part historical archive and part interactive oral storytelling website, their mission is simple: “to teach the value of listening.” 

Maybe you didn’t value listening to your mom growing up, but this collection gathers some of the best examples of why you should start if you haven’t already. Divided into themes of wisdom, devotion, and enduring love, each interview presents universal lessons to readers of any background. It’s fantastic for readers who like to read in bite-sized amounts or need a little variety in between the pages as well. 

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Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou

The late poet and memoirist is still hailed as one of the most iconic writers to have ever lived. Mom & Me & Mom is no exception. 

Angelou’s third memoir fondly describes her initially rocky relationship with her mother, who later becomes her rock through the obstacles in her life. Though Angelou’s mother abandoned her early in life, she re-enters her life when Angelou is a teen. From the birth of her son, a broken marriage, and the bumpy roads in her career, her mother goes from a complete stranger to the most important influence in Angelou’s life.

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The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar

While it’s unlikely that you will ever experience something like Matar’s own life, there is still a universal quality to his story that will make you hug your father a little tighter.

Returning to his native Libya after many years of living in political exile for his safety, Matar explores the mystery surrounding his father’s disappearance. An influential businessman who actively spoke out against the government, Matar’s father was captured as a political prisoner under the Gaddafi regime. Holding on to hope that his father is still alive, Matar goes into both personal and public history to create a memorable account of his father’s life, preserving the memories.

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Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

Former President Barack Obama’s first book was first published in 1995, long before he was the nation’s 44th leader and even before he pursued politics. Though the memoir mostly focuses on Obama’s early life and everything leading up to his career, his father makes brief but notable appearances in his story that shape the rest of his narrative.

Through Obama’s quest to find out more about his father and his side of the family, he reflects on his biracial identity and what it means to be black. The book is a moving coming of age memoir that will make you think about the little ways father figures shape our journeys.

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The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

Parent-child relationships can be complicated; Jeanette Walls’ The Glass Castle faces it head-on as she recounts the story of her bizarre upbringing. Living as nomads, Walls traveled across the United States with her family, learning to take care of her siblings as their parents chase their impossible dreams. 

The memoir, which also has a movie adaptation, demonstrates some of the most important lessons she learned from her parents: the power of healing, imagination, and living life on your own terms. 

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