I’ve had a sister for forty years now but just found out this year that we have our own holiday: Sisters’ Day! It’s celebrated on the first Sunday of August. (I have also seen it promoted as singular “Sister’s Day” and the non-possessive “Sisters Day,” but since I have a sister and she has me, I’m choosing the plural possessive variety.)
As a little sister growing up in the late ’70s and early ’80s, sister books A Baby Sister for Frances and Me Too! were my jam. Those classics are still in print (and selling well at Queen Anne Book Company), but there are more recent picture books to celebrate sisters, too. I particularly like the Maple and Willow books by Lori Nichols. The sisters are loving but realistically so–they get their feelings hurt and they have misunderstandings, but their bond is always strong.
In the middle reader category, I grew up with more strong sister classics; I returned to the Ramona series and Little Women again and again. One classic I didn’t discover until its reissue in 2010 with Mary GrandPre illustrations was Betty MacDonald’s Nancy and Plum. The year in the life of these charming and resilient sisters still strikes a chord, so I make sure to keep it on our store’s shelves.
A contemporary novel featuring two more sisters I love is Here Where the Sunbeams Are Green. Madeline and Ruby (“Mad” and “Roo”) have very different personalities, but they work together to try to solve the mystery of their dad’s disappearance in a Central American jungle. It has great adventure and complex sister relationships that really resonated.
Coming out on August 9 is another wonderfully complex sister story for 8-12-year-olds: The Trouble with Twins. Henrietta and Arabella are twins who are nearly identical, but not at all alike. Henrietta commits a horrible act and is sent away. Despite their differences, both girls long to be together, so they both work to be reunited. There’s some delicious bad-girl mischief and a delightful narrative voice (together with hilarious mother-daughter reader asides that remind me of The Princess Bride) that begs to be read aloud.
For teen sisters, I highly recommend Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks. There’s love, jealousy, resentment, and the whole stew of teenage sisters’ emotions in a funny, poignant, entertaining novel.
Share some of your favorite sister books, old or new, below in the comments.
Tegan Tigani is a bookseller and children’s book buyer at Queen Anne Book Company in Seattle. When she was growing up, one of her nicknames was Me Too. She has a very wise and patient sister.