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Growing Reader

15 Books About Siblings Getting Along (and Sometimes Not)

by Janssen Bradshaw

Photo credit: Jamie Grill, Iconica Collection/Getty Images

In my fantasy family life, it would be all love and unity all the time between my four little girls.

Unfortunately, my fantasy life and my real life don’t always match up.

There are frequent squabbles and sibling rivalries and tears. So. Many. Tears.

Of course, for me, the answer is almost always to turn to a book, and it’s been really helpful to find books that show sibling relationships.

And not just the warm and fuzzy moments, but the lows too.

These 15 books explore all sides of the sibling dynamic and have been wonderful for gently introducing delicate conversations about how we want our family relationships to grow and develop.

  • The Evil Princess vs. the Brave Knight

    by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Matthew Holm

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    In this delightful picture book, written and illustrated by sibling team Jennifer and Matthew Holm, an "evil princess" and a "brave knight" share a castle together — and take their right to torture one another seriously! Though it seems like it's their sole mission to wreak havoc, can the Magic Mirror get them to play nice?

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  • The Unbudgeable Curmudgeon

    by Matthew Burgess, illustrated by Fiona Woodcock

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    Sometimes your brother or sister is so incorrigibly grumpy, there’s no better word for it than a curmudgeon. In Matthew Burgess’s playful take on bad moods and determined siblings, a young girl tries to bribe and budge her brother out of his funk — only to become so frustrated, she becomes curmudgeonly herself. This one starts helpful conversations about how to interact with a grouchy sibling.

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  • Tales of Amanda Pig

    by Jean Van Leeuwen, illustrated by Ann Schweninger

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    Amanda wants to be big just like her brother Oliver. And it turns out she can do lots of the things he can do (and even a few that he can’t). Oliver and Amanda Pig are one of my favorite fictional sibling duos and they perfectly capture the best and not-so-best moments of being brother and sister.

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  • Dollop and Mrs. Fabulous

    by Jennifer Sattler

    Bunny sisters Dollop and Lily (AKA Mrs. Fabulous) have different ideas about what makes a fun play day. Dollop wants to pick up their latest monster party, but Lily is in the mood for a fabulous tea party. To Dollop’s dismay, there are a lot of RULES to this game. Can they align their imaginations to make everyone happy?

  • Maple & Willow Together

    by Lori Nichols

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    Maple and Willow might be my favorite pair of sisters in picture books. Their relationship is delightful but there are also moments where a big sister can’t seem to help being bossy and a little sister can’t stand to be left out of anything. Best of all, I love that it shows them making up at the end.

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  • Mia Moves Out

    by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Paige Keiser

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    Mia isn’t thrilled about sharing her bedroom with her little brother. His stuff is everywhere! She wants a space of her own! So she packs up a suitcase and starts searching for some solo real estate. But nothing feels quite right, and Mia starts to wonder if sharing a room isn’t so bad after all.

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  • Owl Babies

    by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Patrick Benson

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    When your parents are gone, it can be a little scary. Fortunately, these three little owl babies have each other to turn to for reassurance as they await their mother’s return. This is the perfect story when parents are leaving for an evening out or a trip and your little one needs some reminding that mommy always comes back. And that siblings are there to wait together.

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  • Philomena’s New Glasses

    by Brenna Maloney

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    Do your children insist that whenever one child gets something everyone else must have that exact same thing? I know something about this with four daughters that are close in age. These little guinea pig sisters insist on having everything the other ones do until eventually they realize just how ridiculous they are being.

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  • Peter’s Chair

    by Ezra Jack Keats

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    Of course, we all love Ezra Jack Keats’s A Snowy Day — but did you know Peter’s also had to deal with sibling rivalry? There’s a new baby sister in the house, and Peter’s dad is painting everything pink. Ick! Peter and his dog Willie decide to run away, but the happy ending will steer your little ones away from their own runaway daydreams.

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  • Charlie and Lola Series

    by Lauren Child

    The Charlie and Lola series is a treasure trove of sibling ups and downs, starring patient older brother Charlie and spunky little sister Lola. A classic example of their dynamic can be found in Slightly Invisible, in which Charlie and his friend Marv invent an invisibility potion only for Lola to intervene and wreck their clever plans. (Also known by some of us parents as just another Tuesday.)

  • Big Red Lollipop

    by Rukhsana Khan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

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    Rubina has FINALLY been invited to a birthday party and she can’t wait. Until her mother insists that her little sister be allowed to attend as well. It goes about as well as you might imagine (Sana must win every game and afterward, she steals Rubina’s party favor). But months later, when Sana is invited to a birthday party, Rubina chooses the higher road and doesn’t take the chance to even the score.

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  • Lola Reads to Leo

    by Anna McQuinn, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

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    In this charming addition to the Lola Reads series, little Lola learns what it means to be a big sister. And of course, she finds a way to incorporate books into that esteemed new title. While mommy and daddy prepare for Leo’s arrival, Lola reads books about brothers and sisters and sets aside her favorites for Leo. Perfect for families with a new baby on the way, and those hoping to encourage sibling read-alouds.

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  • The Bad Birthday Idea

    by Madeline Valentine

    What do you do when one sibling gets a birthday gift that the other sibling desperately wants? In this one, you get to see a child make a very poor choice and then try to hide that choice. In our house, it’s always a little hard on the other children when it’s one child’s birthday, and this book is a gentle way to discuss it before the big day arrives.

  • Secret Tree Fort

    by Brianne Farley

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    Wonderful for all siblings but especially those with significant age gaps, Secret Tree Fort features an imaginative little sister trying her best to lull her bookish older sister into her magical hide-out. What kinds of stories must she spin to get her sister’s attention? An ode to make-believe and sibling bonds wrapped up a vivid, mixed-media package.

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  • Just Like My Brother

    by Gianna Marino

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    This sweet depiction of Little Giraffe’s adoration for her big brother is a great sibling-themed addition to Gianna Marino’s picture books about family dynamics (see also Following Papa’s Song and Meet Me at the Moon). As the siblings play hide-and-seek in a lush African landscape, Little Giraffe extols her brother’s virtues to all the animals she enlists to help her — discovering along that way that she’s pretty admirable, too.

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