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‘This Is Us’: 5 Moving Books About the Love and Acceptance of Family

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Familial relationships are complicated and wrought with a unique cast of characters. Like a TV show, the American family is the sound stage of our lives and we are the actors. We live, we laugh and we love, never really knowing what will happen in the next episode.

Last year, NBC brought us a wonderfully complex story about a family throughout various stages in their evolution and development. This Is Us has captivated American TV viewers unlike any show in recent years because of its honest portrayal of a family that is not perfect, but is perfectly guided by love. Actor Sterling K. Brown won an Emmy earlier this month for his stunning portrayal of Randall Pearson in the series. Tonight, This Is Us returns for its second, and much anticipated, season and we can’t wait. Here are some reads about families as complex and engaging as the Pearsons to get you ready for what is sure to be another great season.

Sisters First, Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush

Sisters First Jenna Bush HagerJenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush reflect on their lives and family in Sisters First. The former First Daughters and First Granddaughters open up about their loves and losses in what People Magazine calls a poignant and personal story about the bond between sisters.

Things That Happened Before The Earthquake, Chiara Barzini

Things That Happened Before the Earthquake Chiara BarziniWeeks after the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Italian teen Eugenia, is transplanted from her haven in Rome to a new strange world in the San Fernando Valley. While her parents struggle to make it in Hollywood, Eugenia spirals into a world of sex and drugs in order to cope with her new surroundings, new adventures, and unfamiliar territory she comes to call home.

No One Is Coming To Save Us, Stephanie Powell Watts

No One is Coming to Save Us Stephanie Powell WattsWatts’ debut novel is about the strength and resiliency of an African American family in North Carolina. Compared to The Great Gatsby, Watts’ novel is more like the stories of so many African American families in the south who have remained over the years, struggling to survive among factory closings, high unemployment and limited opportunities. Told from the perspective of protagonist JJ Ferguson, who returns to North Carolina after many years with substantial wealth seeking to rekindle a romance and possibly start a family of his own with a love from his past, No One Is Coming To Save Us looks at how sometimes more than enough is never enough.

Where The Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir, Amy Tan

Where the Past Begins Amy TanAuthor of The Joy Luck Club and The Valley of Amazement gets personal in this memoir about her life as a writer, her childhood and a very complicated relationship with her father. Tan explores her family mythology and uncovers some very difficult truths and secrets about her maternal candor. Honest and at times funny, Tan takes readers on a meaningful journey through memory, imagination and the endurance of the human spirit.

Real American: A Memoir, Julie Lythecott-Haims

Real American Julie Lythcott-HaimsThis New York Times Bestselling author who had one of the most popular TED Talks of 2016 discusses her experiences growing up biracial in America and navigating the racial landscape with footing in both a black and a white world. Lythecott-Haims’ story is illustrated through poetry and prose that expresses the many challenges of mixed race American families, like the Pearsons in This is Us face in crafting a unique identity that is purely American.

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Aisha K. Staggers has been writing since middle school. She had her first major publication in her local newspaper's entertainment section while a sophomore in high school, a publication in another state paper followed. Aisha has been contributing to various paper, magazines and textbooks for over 15 years. In addition to her time as an instructor of social sciences in higher education, Aisha has served as a director of education and policy research centers, and on the staff of legislative commissions. Aisha previously served on the Executive Board of the CT Young Democrats Women's Caucus and has remained active in politics and public policy. She is an alumni of Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, CT and Fisk University in Nashville, TN where she earned Bachelor's and Master's Degrees, respectively, and completed the South Carolina Education Policy Fellowship Program in 2008. Currently, Aisha is Senior Editor for BookTrib, a division of the literary public relations firm, Meryl Moss Media. In addition to her own work, Aisha will be writing the liner notes for an upcoming Prince tribute album and contributing a chapter to a 2018 scholarly work on Prince and the Minneapolis Sound.

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