Family Stories

Family Stories

Multigenerational dramas, intriguing siblings, parent-child stories and more can be found in this digital display of books and movies featuring families.

All the items on this digital display are available for free online with your library card.

Click on each section below to browse our recommendations. Each title is available through one (or more) of the Naperville Public Library's digital resources.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Madeleine Thier
Master storyteller Madeleine Thien takes us inside an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations-those who lived through Mao's Cultural Revolution and their children, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square. At the center of this epic story are two young women, Marie and Ai-Ming. Through their relationship Marie strives to piece together the tale of her fractured family in present-day Vancouver, seeking answers in the fragile layers of their collective story. Catalog Hoopla

A Woman Is No Man

Etaf Rum
Etaf Rum tells the story of three generations of Palestinian-American women struggling to express their individual desires within the confines of their Arab culture in the wake of shocking intimate violence in their community. Set in an America at once foreign to many and staggeringly close at hand, this is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and closed cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive

The Mountains Sing

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai
With the epic sweep of Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing and the lyrical beauty of Vaddey Ratner's In the Shadow of the Banyan, The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Trần family, set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War. Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Việt Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict while showing us the true power of kindness and hope. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive Axis360

Salt Houses

Hala Alyan
Lyrical and heartbreaking, Salt Houses is a remarkable debut novel that challenges and humanizes an age-old conflict we might think we understand-one that asks us to confront that most devastating of all truths: you can't go home again. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive Axis360


Alex Haley
It begins with a birth in an African village in 1750, and ends two centuries later at a funeral in Arkansas. And in that time span, an unforgettable cast of men, women, and children come to life, many of them based on the people from Alex Haley's own family tree. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive


Michael Chabon
Following on the heels of his New York Times bestselling novel Telegraph Avenue, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon delivers another literary masterpiece: a novel of truth and lies, family legends, and existential adventure-and the forces that work to destroy us. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive Axis360

The Blessings

Elise Juska
The Blessings rally around one another in times of celebration and those of sorrow, coming together for departures and arrivals, while its members harbor private struggles and moments of personal joy. Through the lens of one unforgettable family, this beautifully moving novel explores how our families define us and how we shape them in return. Hoopla

Angle of Repose

Wallace Stegner
Set in many parts of the West, Angle of Repose is a story of discovery—personal, historical, and geographical—that endures as Wallace Stegner's masterwork: an illumination of yesterday's reality that speaks to today's. Hoopla

The Children

Ann Leary
The Children is a story of a wealthy but unconventional New England family, told from the perspective of a reclusive 29-year-old who has a secret (and famous) life on the Internet. With remarkable wit and insight, Leary pulls back the curtain on one blended family, as they are forced to grapple with the assets and liabilities - both material and psychological - left behind by their flawed patriarch. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive

The Dutch House

Ann Patchett
The Dutch House is the story of a paradise lost, a tour de force that digs deeply into questions of inheritance, love and forgiveness, of how we want to see ourselves and of who we really are. Filled with suspense, you may read it quickly to find out what happens, but what happens to Danny and Maeve will stay with you for a very long time. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive Axis360


Ann Patchett
Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive Axis360

Saint X

Alexis Schaitkin
Hailed as a "marvel of a book" and "brilliant and unflinching," Alexis Schaitkin's stunning debut, Saint X, is a haunting portrait of grief, obsession, and the bond between two sisters never truly given the chance to know one another. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive

The Grammarians

Cathleen Schine
Cathleen Schine has written a playful and joyful celebration of the interplay of language and life. A dazzling comedy of sisterly and linguistic manners, a revelation of the delights and stresses of intimacy, The Grammarians is the work of one of our great comic novelists at her very best. Catalog Hoopla

The Last Romantics

Tara Conklin
A sweeping yet intimate epic about one American family, The Last Romantics is an unforgettable exploration of the ties that bind us together, the responsibilities we embrace and the duties we resent, and how we can lose-and sometimes rescue-the ones we love. A novel that pierces the heart and lingers in the mind, it is also a beautiful meditation on the power of stories-how they navigate us through difficult times, help us understand the past, and point the way toward our future. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive Axis360

The Nest

Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
The Nest is a warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive Axis360

The Children's Crusade

Ann Packer
Ann Packer's talents are on dazzling display in The Children's Crusade, an extraordinary study in character, a rare and wise examination of the legacy of early life on adult children attempting to create successful families and identities of their own. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive Axis360

Searching for Sylvie Lee

Jeanne Kwok
A deeply moving story of family, secrets, identity, and longing, Searching for Sylvie Lee is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive portrait of an immigrant family. It is a profound exploration of the many ways culture and language can divide us and the impossibility of ever truly knowing someone-especially those we love. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive

The Kinship of Secrets

Eugenia Kim
Two sisters grow up a world apart—one in war-torn Korea, the other in America—in this "finely wrought novel" by the author of The Calligrapher's Daughter (Publishers Weekly). Told through the alternating perspectives of the distanced sisters, and inspired by a true story, The Kinship of Secrets explores the cruelty of war, the power of hope, and what it means to be a sister. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive Axis360

The Summer We Lost Her

Tish Cohen
It's been a busy-and expensive-few years for Matt and Elise Sorenson and their young daughter Gracie. Matt, a Manhattan lawyer, has just been offered a partnership, and Elise's equestrian ambitions as a competitive dressage rider may finally vault her into the Olympics. But her long absences from home and endless hours of training have strained their relationships nearly to the breaking point. Now they're up in the Adirondacks, preparing to sell the valuable lakefront cabin that's been in Matt's family for generations. But as they navigate the memories the cabin holds, Gracie disappears without a trace. Catalog Hoopla


Chandra Hoffman
A young caseworker increasingly entangled in the lives of adoptive and birth parents faces life-altering choices when an extortion attempt goes horribly wrong in Chosen. Hoopla

Finding Jake

Bryan Reardon
Simon Connolly's successful wife has gone to her law office each day, while he has stayed home to raise their children: Jake and Laney. Now that his children are in high school, Simon should be able to relax, to worry less. He's never given that chance. On a warm November day, he receives a text: There has been a shooting at the high school. Catalog Hoopla

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Betty Smith
By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the Nolans' daily experiences are tenderly threaded with family connectedness and raw with honesty. Betty Smith has, in the pages of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, captured the joys of humble Williamsburg life-from "junk day" on Saturdays, to the special excitement of holidays and everything in between. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive Axis360

We Love You, Charlie Freeman

Kaitlyn Greenidge
The Freeman family have been invited to the Toneybee Institute in rural Massachusetts to participate in a research experiment. They will live in an apartment on campus with Charlie, a young chimp abandoned by his mother. Isolated in their new, nearly all-white community not just by their race but by their strange living situation, the Freemans come undone. And when teenage Charlotte discovers the truth about the Institute's history of questionable studies, the secrets of the past begin to invade the present. Catalog Hoopla Axis360

Laura and Emma

Kate Greathead
Laura hails from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, born into old money, drifting aimlessly into her early thirties. One weekend in 1981 she meets a man. The two sleep together. He vanishes. And Laura realizes she's pregnant. Enter: Emma. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive

Every Last One

Anna Quindlen
This moving, suspenseful, and surprising new novel by beloved author Anna Quindlen is about a suburban family and the unintended, explosive consequences of what seem like small, casual actions. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive

The Corrections

Jonathan Franzen
The Corrections brings an old-fashioned world of civic virtue and sexual inhibitions into violent collision with the era of home surveillance, hands-off parenting, do-it-yourself mental health care, and globalized greed. Richly realistic, darkly hilarious, deeply humane, it confirms Jonathan Franzen as one of our most brilliant interpreters of American society and the American soul. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive

The Namesake

Jhumpa Lahiri
The Namesake takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans. On the heels of their arranged wedding, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli settle together in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An engineer by training, Ashoke adapts far less warily than his wife, who resists all things American and pines for her family. When their son is born, the task of naming him betrays the vexed results of bringing old ways to the new world. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive Axis360

Nuclear Family: A Tragicomic Novel in Letters

Susanna Fogel
Told entirely in letters to Julie - a heroine we never meet - we get to know the Fellers through their check-ins with Julie over the course of three decades: their thank-you notes, letters of condolence, family gossip, and good old-fashioned familial passive-aggression. Together, their missives-some sardonic, others absurd, others heartbreaking-weave a tapestry of a very modern family trying (and often failing) to show one another they care. Hoopla

Exit Elena

Nathan Silver
Elena takes a job as a live-in aide and is thrust into the middle of a family crisis. She strikes a balance until the family's prodigal son comes home. Nominated for Best Film at the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema. Hoopla Kanopy

A Picture of You

J.P. Chan
In this critically acclaimed indie favorite and New York Times Critic's Pick, estranged siblings, Kyle and Jen, travel from New York City to rural Pennsylvania to pack up the home of their recently deceased mother. While there, they inadvertently make a shocking discovery that turns their world upside-down. Winner of Best Screenplay and nominated for Best Narrative Feature at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Nominated for Best Narrative at CAAMFest. Kanopy

What They Had

Elizabeth Chomko
Bridget (Hilary Swank) returns home to Chicago at her brother's (Michael Shannon) urging to help deal with her ailing mother (Blythe Danner) and her father's (Robert Forster) reluctance to let go of their life together. Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival. Nominated for Best First Feature at the Philadelphia Film Festival. Catalog Kanopy


Ari Aster
When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter Annie (Toni Collette) begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more she discovers, the more he family finds themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited. Nominated for Best Female Lead and Best First Feature at the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival. Catalog Kanopy


Andrew Bujalski
BEESWAX revolves around the personal and professional entanglements of twin sisters Jeannie and Lauren living in Austin, Texas. Charming and intimate, this is a story about how we depend on our families, the kind we're stuck with, and the kind we build for ourselves and the beeswax that holds them all together. Official Selection at the Berlin International Film Festival and the SXSW Film Festival. Kanopy

20th Century Women

Mike Mills
A strong-willed single mother (Annette Bening) raises her teenage son with the help of two unconventional younger women in this funny, heartwarming look at a makeshift family's comic adventures in Santa Barbara during the summer of 1979. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and two Golden Globes, and for Best Female Lead and Best Screenplay at the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Catalog Hoopla Kanopy

Tortilla Soup

Maria Ripoll
Three grown sisters, Maribel, Leticia and Carmen try to cope and live with the fact that their father Martin, a veteran chef, is slowly losing his sense of taste. Martin has one simple rule: be at home for Sunday dinner and attendance is both mandatory and non-negotiable. A rift in the family develops when the sisters develop relationships and an obnoxious woman sets her sights on Martin's affections. Catalog Hoopla Kanopy

Daughters of the Dust

Julie Dash
At the dawn of the 20th century, a multi-generational family in the Gullah community on the Sea Islands off of South Carolina - former West African slaves who adopted many of their ancestors' Yoruba traditions - struggle to maintain their cultural heritage and folklore while contemplating a migration to the mainland, even further from their roots. Winner of the Cinematography Award and nominated for the Grand Jury Prize in the Dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Catalog Kanopy

The Farewell

Lulu Lang
In this funny, heartfelt story, Billi's (Awkwafina) family returns to China under the guise of a fake wedding to stealthily say goodbye to their beloved matriarch--the only person that doesn't know she only has a few weeks to live. Golden Globe winner for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy. Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival. Catalog Kanopy

Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig
Directed by Greta Gerwig and nominated for five Oscars, LADY BIRD is a warm, affecting comedy about a high schooler (Saoirse Ronan) who must navigate a loving but turbulent relationship with her strong-willed mother (Laurie Metcalf) over the course of her eventful and poignant senior year of high school. Catalog Kanopy

Hearts Beat Loud

Brett Haley
New York single dad and record store owner Frank (Nick Offerman) is preparing to send his hard-working daughter Sam off to college, while being forced to close his shop. Hoping to stay connected through their shared musical passions, Frank urges Sam to turn their weekly "jam sesh" into a father-daughter live act. After their first song becomes an Internet breakout, the two embark on a journey of love, growing up and musical discovery. Catalog Hoopla Kanopy

The Nightingale

Ye Ying
Accompanied by his granddaughter (Xin Yi Yang) and his pet bird, a widower (Baotian Li) leaves Beijing to return to his native village in this heartwarming family drama. Nominated for Best Narrative Feature at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Kanopy