The best sibling books

26 authors have picked their favorite books about sibling and why they recommend each book.

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Gregor the Overlander

By Suzanne Collins,

Book cover of Gregor the Overlander

I know better than to judge a book by its cover. Still, I didn’t want to read Gregor the Overlander when I first saw the cover. It was recommended for 5th graders and I read it so I would be able to talk to my students about it. I am so glad I did because I loved the story, characters, and world building. When Gregor and his sister, Boots, fell through the grate in the laundry room I was right there with them. The world they discovered was so well described that I felt like I was in the Underland meeting the cast of characters that awaited them. The prophecy that involves Gregor made me nervous and excited, as I hoped he would be able to do what he needed to do. This is an adventure that will become a favorite of fantasy lovers!

Who am I?

We have been writing middle-grade and children’s picture book reviews on Fairday’s Blog for about 12 years. We started our book blog when we began our journey to publish The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow. In attending book shows, like the BEA, The Children’s Book Fair, various writing conferences, and book events, we were able to meet and interview many of the authors whose books we reviewed. It has been fascinating and fun to get the scoop on the story behind their stories and understand the books on a deeper level. We’ve read and reviewed many books on our path to publishing the Fairday Morrow books, and it’s been amazing connecting with readers and authors all over the globe and sharing our stories.


I wrote...

The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow

By Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson, Roman Muradov (illustrator),

Book cover of The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow

What is my book about?

Eleven-year-old Fairday Morrow is less than thrilled that her family is moving thousands of miles from civilization to the quiet country town of Ashpot, Connecticut, where she’s certain she’ll die of boredom.

As if leaving New York City and her best friend, Lizzy, the only other member of the elite Detective Mystery Squad (DMS), weren’t bad enough, Fairday is stuck living in the infamous Begonia House, a creepy old Victorian with dark passageways, a gigantic dead willow tree, and a mysterious past. Before she can unpack, strange music coming from behind a padlocked door leads Fairday up a spiral staircase and into a secret room, where a series of clues takes the members of the Detective Mystery Squad on an amazing adventure.

Milo Imagines the World

By Matt de la Peña, Christian Robinson (illustrator),

Book cover of Milo Imagines the World

This book, like the author’s award-winning Last Stop On Market Street, features a child taking a trip on public transportation to an unknown destination. Milo, the protagonist, imagines where his fellow passengers are headed in language that is believably childlike but also fresh and vivid. He is heading to prison, to meet his mother – and the surprise ending to this book begs the question of who has a right to judge anyone else, and sends a gentle but powerful message against making conclusions about people based on appearance.


Who am I?

Over 5 million children in the United States have had at least one parent in a correctional facility at one time or another. These children, and their parents, are our neighbors, our family, our friends. We might see them at a soccer match, or sit beside them at public libraries, or gather together with them regularly in prayer. They need to see themselves portrayed in a meaningful manner in the books they read. This shortlist includes two picture books, a middle-grade novel, and two young adult titles. I'm passionate about books on this topic because equity and inclusiveness and vital to me; and because I think excellent books such as these may enable us to start nuanced discussions and enhance our compassion. 


I wrote...

Born Behind Bars

By Padma Venkatraman,

Book cover of Born Behind Bars

What is my book about?

Kabir has been in jail since the day he was born, because his mom is serving time for a crime she didn’t commit. He’s never met his dad, so the only family he’s got are their cellmates, and the only place he feels the least bit free is in the classroom, where his kind teacher regales him with stories of the wonders of the outside world. Then one day a new warden arrives and announces Kabir is too old to stay. He gets handed over to a long-lost “uncle” who unfortunately turns out to be a fraud, and intends to sell Kabir. So Kabir does the only thing he can–run away as fast as his legs will take him.

How does a boy with nowhere to go and no connections make his way?

Six Feet Below Zero

By Ena Jones,

Book cover of Six Feet Below Zero

I love a thrilling mystery with secrets, humor, and surprises. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out if anyone would realize Rosie and Baker were hiding their Great-Grandma in a freezer. It was all Great-Grandma's idea! The kids race against time to piece together clues to find a missing will and save the family home from destruction. Reminiscent of an Alfred Hitchcock story with unexpected twists and heart-pounding danger. Fun mystery!

Who am I?

My love for magical and mysterious books was inspired by Harriet the Spy, Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton, and Harry Potter. Since I was 8 years old, I longed to write my own mystery series—SO I DID! My latest mystery series, The Curious Cat Spy Club, is based on my own childhood club. My friends and I played cryptic games, spied on suspicious neighbors, and helped abandoned kittens. I love writing about mysteries + animals. And I’m excited to share my favorite mysterious and magical books with you!!


I wrote...

The Curious Cat Spy Club, #1

By Linda Joy Singleton,

Book cover of The Curious Cat Spy Club, #1

What is my book about?

Runaway zorse!! When a zebra-horse hybrid gallops down the street, aspiring spy Kelsey Case joins the chase—and finds three tiny kittens left to die in a dumpster. Kelsey and her new friends, Becca and Leo, can’t keep the kittens, so they secretly form the Curious Cat Spy Club. They care for the kittens and solve mysteries to help animals.

Siblings

By James J. Crist, Elizabeth Verdick,

Book cover of Siblings: You're Stuck with Each Other, So Stick Together

This was one of the first books targeting not preschoolers adjusting to a new baby but older kids struggling to get along. It is perfectly pitched to middle-grade readers, with just the right balance of direct talk and humor. The book normalizes sibling conflict while providing solutions 8-13-year-olds can implement on their own or with the help of a parent. Written in 2010, this book stands the test of time.

Who am I?

I am a Child Psychologist and Author turned Parent Coach who often hears about the bickering, put-downs, jealousy, and conflict sapping families with multiple children. Telling them to “cut it out” clearly does nothing. Kids need not only the skills (how to talk, how to listen, how to manage feelings and resolve conflict) but also the motivation to use them, a combination I have spent my career thinking about, writing about, and teaching. All of the books I have written, and all that I recommend, include this winning combination of skills and motivation with the aim of helping children live happier lives.


I wrote...

The Sibling Survival Guide: Surefire Ways to Solve Conflicts, Reduce Rivalry, and Have More Fun with Your Brothers and Sisters

By Dawn Huebner, Kara McHale (illustrator),

Book cover of The Sibling Survival Guide: Surefire Ways to Solve Conflicts, Reduce Rivalry, and Have More Fun with Your Brothers and Sisters

What is my book about?

Having a brother or sister can be tough. It can also be great, but it’s hard to see the great parts with so many bad parts getting in the way. Things like fighting and bossing. Teasing and jealousy. Tattling. Pestering. You get the idea. The Sibling Survival Guide speaks directly to children ages 9-12, teaching the skills needed to manage feelings, resolve conflicts, and strengthen bonds. Warm, witty, and packed with practical strategies, this interactive book educates, motivates, and empowers siblings to live in peace.

My Sibling

By Isabelle Filliozat, Éric Veillé (illustrator),

Book cover of My Sibling

My Sibling is an activity book with drawing prompts, stickers, crafts, and activities just right for 6-10-year-olds. Touching on jealousy, fairness, sharing, and more, the book gently guides children to try new ways of thinking and behaving towards their siblings. An extensive section for parents and caregivers more fully explains what parents can do to help their children get along.

Who am I?

I am a Child Psychologist and Author turned Parent Coach who often hears about the bickering, put-downs, jealousy, and conflict sapping families with multiple children. Telling them to “cut it out” clearly does nothing. Kids need not only the skills (how to talk, how to listen, how to manage feelings and resolve conflict) but also the motivation to use them, a combination I have spent my career thinking about, writing about, and teaching. All of the books I have written, and all that I recommend, include this winning combination of skills and motivation with the aim of helping children live happier lives.


I wrote...

The Sibling Survival Guide: Surefire Ways to Solve Conflicts, Reduce Rivalry, and Have More Fun with Your Brothers and Sisters

By Dawn Huebner, Kara McHale (illustrator),

Book cover of The Sibling Survival Guide: Surefire Ways to Solve Conflicts, Reduce Rivalry, and Have More Fun with Your Brothers and Sisters

What is my book about?

Having a brother or sister can be tough. It can also be great, but it’s hard to see the great parts with so many bad parts getting in the way. Things like fighting and bossing. Teasing and jealousy. Tattling. Pestering. You get the idea. The Sibling Survival Guide speaks directly to children ages 9-12, teaching the skills needed to manage feelings, resolve conflicts, and strengthen bonds. Warm, witty, and packed with practical strategies, this interactive book educates, motivates, and empowers siblings to live in peace.

His Royal Highness, King Baby

By Sally Lloyd-Jones, David Roberts (illustrator),

Book cover of His Royal Highness, King Baby: A Terrible True Story

When King Baby arrives, a young princess is forced to share her kingdom. The princess protests her new brother and his attention-demanding ways. She plots to break the spell King Baby holds over the rest of the kingdom until she discovers that perhaps there are benefits to co-ruling after all. Filled with humor, this voice-y princess is sure to be a hit with young rulers everywhere.


Who am I?

I am a picture book author living in Los Angeles with my husband and two small children. Through my work, I hope to make children laugh, to inspire curiosity, and to create a magical world readers can lose themselves in time and time again.


I wrote...

How to Return a Monster

By Charlotte Offsay, Rea Zhai (illustrator),

Book cover of How to Return a Monster

What is my book about?

In this hilarious and heartfelt book about sibling relationships, a girl can't believe it when her parents bring home a fussy, stinky, attention-stealing monster. She hatches a plan to send it back to where it came from, with hilarious results . . . and along the way, she learns that maybe monsters--and baby siblings--aren't so bad after all.

The Bossier Baby

By Marla Frazee,

Book cover of The Bossier Baby

Boss Baby is used to being in charge but when his baby sister arrives, it is clear that there is a new CEO in town, and he is not happy about the perks she is getting that he never got. Boss baby feels replaced and ignored until an unexpected move from the new CEO shows that perhaps there is room for two CEOs after all. With a loud fun voice and adorable artwork, this is a hilarious and heart-squeezing read.


Who am I?

I am a picture book author living in Los Angeles with my husband and two small children. Through my work, I hope to make children laugh, to inspire curiosity, and to create a magical world readers can lose themselves in time and time again.


I wrote...

How to Return a Monster

By Charlotte Offsay, Rea Zhai (illustrator),

Book cover of How to Return a Monster

What is my book about?

In this hilarious and heartfelt book about sibling relationships, a girl can't believe it when her parents bring home a fussy, stinky, attention-stealing monster. She hatches a plan to send it back to where it came from, with hilarious results . . . and along the way, she learns that maybe monsters--and baby siblings--aren't so bad after all.

The Seven Silly Eaters

By Mary Ann Hoberman, Marla Frazee (illustrator),

Book cover of The Seven Silly Eaters

I love this book as a parent because it is a joy to read. Its rhyme is sheer perfection (which is hard to pull off) and the conclusion is pure genius, as Hoberman deftly weaves a tapestry out of seemingly random strings. This is a hilarious book about a mother who grows more and more weary from the demands of her seven children and their very particular and fussy eating habits. This kitchen-bound, short-order-chef hero of a mom gets a lovely surprise at the end that makes all the chaos seem worth it. Kids will giggle, moms (or dads or other caregivers) will relate.


Who am I?

I have written seven picture books, one of which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and many of which have been award nominees. My books have been translated into five languages and are enjoyed by kids from Denmark to Korea. As a mom, I know that when a child loves a book they want it read to them repeatedly. That’s why I admire books that are written for the enjoyment of both the adult and the child. I dislike preachy books filled with lessons. I prefer when books entertain and contain a nugget of gold that readers can take with them when the book is done.


I wrote...

Noni Says No

By Heather Hartt-Sussman, Geneviève Côté (illustrator),

Book cover of Noni Says No

What is my book about?

Noni Says No is about a people-pleasing girl who can’t say “no”, even when it means she has to share a special toy or agree to a hideous haircut. When Noni finally finds her voice, the reaction is not what she (or you) might expect.

As an overly accommodating adult, I too have trouble saying “no!" I find myself agreeing to events and workloads that I know I don’t have the time, or the inclination, to handle. In this book, I wanted both parents and children to find comfort in Noni’s experience of standing up for herself while still being a good friend.

Ish

By Peter H. Reynolds,

Book cover of Ish

For anyone who has kids who are perfectionists or are perfectionists themselves, this is a perfect book! It helps kids recognize that something does not have to be perfect to be beautiful. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, especially with art. But in my opinion, this message can apply beyond art and help parents talk with their kids about being beautiful just as they are. This was a popular one in my house and one that we still reference even now that the kids are older.


Who am I?

As a mom of three girls, I taught my daughters to celebrate the differences in themselves and others. My older two girls were diagnosed with Celiac Disease prior to the trend of gluten-free foods being widely available. They had to bring their own food to birthday parties and food-based school events, and it was harder to be spontaneous and stay at a friends’ house for dinner or sleepover. Needless to say - they felt different. One of the things that helped them begin to appreciate their difference, was reading picture books that demonstrated that it is differences that make people special and keep life interesting. I am hopeful that my story will do the same for the kids who read it.


I wrote...

The Worm Family Has Its Picture Taken

By Jennifer Frank, David Ezra Stein (illustrator),

Book cover of The Worm Family Has Its Picture Taken

What is my book about?

Emma Worm is excited for her worm family to have their portrait taken. But when she sees her other friends' portraits, she gets discouraged. "We had the most beautiful smiles," Ellie the Chipmunk squeals. Abigail the Cat meows, "I looked gorgeous with my big poufy hair." The worm family doesn't have teeth...how will they show their beautiful smiles? They don't have hair either...how can it look big and poufy?! So Emma gathers wigs, giant fake teeth, and colorful clothing for her parents and sisters.

But it's only after taking off their costumes that the worm family is able to wriggle and squiggle and squeeze into a delightful pose that only a worm family can make. And Emma? She thinks it's perfectly perfect.

The Tunnel

By Anthony Browne,

Book cover of The Tunnel

What does happen when you get into a dark tunnel? When you quit reality to enter the realm of dreams and nightmares? A great story by the great Anthony Browne, which also deals with the relationship between sister and brother.


Who am I?

I’m the happy father of five children, born between 2000 and 2017. So in my adult years, I have quite constantly lived in the company of young children, and I’ve started inventing stories for them. I have now six albums published in France, all of which were originally imagined for my kids just before we switch off the light for sleeping. Born in 1975, I live in Paris, I’m the chief editor of Philosophie magazine (a monthly publication with 50 000 readers), and I’ve published twenty novels and essays alas not available in English. I’m the president and co-founder of a creative writing school located in Paris, Les Mots.


I wrote...

Dragons in Love

By Alexandre Lacroix, Ronan Badel (illustrator),

Book cover of Dragons in Love

What is my book about?

Strokkur is a little dragon, living alone with his daddy. Then, he’s got a problem: when a charming little girl grants him a kiss on his cheek, he feels his fire burning inside… He’s terrified, a dragon shouldn’t be in love, otherwise, he may hurt the one he loves with his flames… Like in his previous adventure, Dragons. Father and Son, also illustrated by Ronan Badel, Strokkur we’ll have to solve a moral dilemma.

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