Better Together: Kids’ Books About Sisters and Sisterhood

Growing up, my sister and I didn’t get along. She was older, and I was the annoying baby sister. Our interests and temperaments couldn’t have been more different. We eventually found peace as adults, but oh, the fights. When I found out I was having my second daughter, I worried history would repeat itself. However, I can confidently say that my girls are growing up as best friends. They look out for each other, bathe together, play in the sandbox, make up dances, and do each other’s makeup (using my make-up, of course).

This is not to say that they don’t fight or get sick of each other, but they miss each other terribly when apart. As parents and caregivers, we hope our children will remain close as they grow up despite hormones, rivalries, life changes, and differing interests. Here is a reading list of books about sisters to help girls navigate the joy, laughter, fights, and tears of this incredible journey called sisterhood.

yes no Picture Books 9780593433188 Smart Sisters by Mechal Renee Roe

You are missing out if you have not read one of Mechal Renee Roe’s books. Her signature illustrations are cute, bright, and joyful. Reading her books always puts me in a good mood. Her fourth title, Smart Sisters, celebrates best friends and sisterly love with rhyming text and empowering pictures of girls exploring their interests together, like baking, soccer, STEM, and being princesses. The refrain, “My sister and me,” repeats on each page. This book is a fan favorite in our home.

9781101938836 Snow Sisters! by Kerri Kokias, illustrated by Teagan White

Sisters don’t have to do everything together. A snow day brings out different feelings and interests in these two siblings. One runs outside to play while the other relishes warm, cozy indoor activities like baking and snuggling under blankets with a book. By midday, the girls trade places and engage in the other sibling’s activities in a unique way. The illustrator cleverly lays out the book with two-page spreads highlighting and celebrating the siblings’ differences.

9780593377581 Sisters in Science by Linda Elovitz Marshall, illustrated by Anna and Elena Balbusso

Did you know Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie had a sister? This picture book biography shares the atomic power of sisterhood between Marie Curie and her older sibling, Bronia. Secretly attending a school for women, financially supporting each other’s college educations, war, and even loss could not shake their bond. These trailblazing women put a stamp on the fields of physics and healthcare at a time when women were expected to keep house and nothing more. It’s an excellent read for your science lovers, especially during Women’s History Month.

9780593385814 Good Night, Sister by Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt, illustrated by Lucy Fleming

Named an instant New York Times bestseller, this bedtime read-aloud touches on the emotions that accompany sleeping in separate rooms for the first time. While big sister Kate is excited to sleep in her new room, little sister Tina isn’t thrilled about being left behind. When a thunderstorm rumbles in, Kate needs her little sister more than she expected.

9780399176333 Twinderella, A Fractioned Fairy Tale by Corey Rosen Schwartz, illustrated by Deborah Marcero

This story of Cinderella and her lesser-known sister, Tinderella, a math whiz, adds math puns to the classic fairy tale, creating a fractioned story that’s sure to delight. With Tinderella’s math skills, the sisters divide chores, tend to the evil stepsisters, and split meals and a bed. But how does Cinderella become famous and end up on the throne — and what becomes of Tinderella? One fairy godmother plus two princes equals a happy ending for all.

9780670062874 Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

How do you feel about siblings attending birthday parties? If one sibling receives the invitation, do you send the other child as well? It’s a social minefield with nuances that spark heavy debate in online mom groups. In Rukhsana Khan’s Big Red Lollipop, Rubina has difficulty convincing her Ami (mom) and her middle sister Sana that you can’t bring an uninvited sibling to a party. So, Sana tags along to the party, where her antics cause havoc and embarrassment. She even steals Rubina’s party favor (a big red lollipop).

RELATED: Books About Siblings Getting Along (and Sometimes Not)

9780399162831 Maple & Willow Together by Lori Nichols

Lori Nichol’s follow-up to the book Maple is perfect for sisters who do everything together — until they don’t. In sunshine and rain, in spring and winter, Maple and Willow engage in imaginative play and fun until Maple becomes too bossy. Willow gets frustrated, and the girls argue. This sibling series continues with Maple & Willow Apart when Maple goes to Kindergarten and Maple & Willow’s Christmas Tree when the siblings hunt for their first live Christmas tree.

yes no Chapter Books & Middle Grade 9780593619841 Kitty Quest: Sinister Sister by Phil Corbett

The third book in the Kitty Quest series introduces us to Perigold’s little sister, Princess Horribelle. This huge reveal will delight series fans. Perigold (a.k.a. Scarygold) was heir to the throne of Awfullia. She left the bad life and her willfully bad kingdom behind for a fresh start in Pawdor. With an old nemesis and Princess Horribelle in town at the same time, can Perigold and her faithful friend Woolfrik call on their new friends to fight both evil threats? This graphic novel series has old-school Saturday morning cartoon vibes and will appeal to Dog Man and Zita the Space Girl fans.

9780593112298 The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family by Sarah Kapit

Lara is 12, autistic, and eager to start a detective agency without her younger sister, Caroline. After much debate, Caroline changes Lara’s mind by bringing the agency its first mystery. Yet, no sooner does she gain Lara’s trust than Caroline begins to keep secrets. She spends all her time texting a friend on her assistive tablet she uses to talk. With several family members keeping secrets, Lara’s “investigating” feels like snooping and drives the two girls apart. Told from alternating points of view, this middle school whodunit navigates sibling rivalry, Jewish family life, autism, and school drama with love and heart.

9780593376478 Sweet Valley Twins: Best Friends by Francine Pascal, illustrated by Claudia Aguirre, adapted by Nicole Andelfinger

Calling all fans of the bestselling Sweet Valley High series! Get ready to jump into these new graphic novels and follow identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield as they enter Sweet Valley Middle School. Sixth grade at a new school means the girls can start fresh and explore new interests. Jessica wants to join the exclusive Unicorn Club, and Elizabeth rolls up her sleeves and dives into the school newspaper. Can the girls still be friends if they are not identical in every way?

RELATED: Let’s Get Real: Realistic Fiction for Kids Ages 9 – 12

9781682632093 Nina Soni, Sister Fixer by Kashmira Sheth, illustrated by Jenn Kocsmiersky

Nina’s little sister Kavita randomly bursts into song and spills family secrets in public. So, Nina attempts to fix her sister’s embarrassing behavior with lists and math problems. When Nina’s best friend Jay invites her family to spend spring break at his family’s cabin, she is determined to cure her sister in three days. Sweet pieces of Indian culture mixed with American heritage weave throughout this story. It’s also a fantastic pick for STEAM lovers.

9781536217858 The Sisters of Straygarden Place by Hayley Chewins

Winnow, Mayhap, and Pavonine’s parents left them in a house with instructions to wait for them to return, sleep darkly, and never venture out into the grass. The enchanted house cared for the girls over the last seven years while they kept each other company and waited. One day, Winnow doesn’t want to wait anymore. She goes outside, and when she returns, everything the girls have known changes. Told in rich, detailed, and hauntingly beautiful prose, this story will stay with you long after you finish reading.

9780593379929 Operation Sisterhood by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

Four blended-family sisters try to beat New York City’s summer heat and discover what it means to be a family. Bo and her mom move in with her boyfriend Bill, his daughter Sunday, twins Lili and Lee, and their parents, along with a menagerie of animals. As Mom plans the wedding, Bo must find a way to be a sister when she was used to being an only child.

9780375831430 The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

The Penderwick sisters spend the summer at stuffy Mrs. Tifton’s estate on the coast. The four girls bond with music-loving Jeffery, Mrs. Tifton’s only child, who fears being sent to Pencey Military Academy in the fall unless they can change his mom’s mind. The summer is filled with adventures in the sprawling gardens, caring for pet rabbits, exploring a treasure-filled attic, and eating delicious gingerbread. It’s a modern-day classic reminiscent of Little Women and the type of lazy summer childhood we don’t see anymore.

RELATED: Brightly’s Book Club for Kids: The Penderwicks

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