When I was nearly ten years old, my mother was pregnant with her fifth child. She went into labor when my father was out of town so his secretary whisked her to the hospital. My older brother, Bob, was left in charge. His way of caring for us was to lock us in our rooms while he watched television. My younger brothers, Frank and John, climbed out a window with me and we high-tailed it to a neighbor’s house. We were relieved when Mom came home with a sweet little baby girl. A sister! I was thrilled and still am.
Though Jeanne Marie is nearly a decade younger than me, age has never seemed to matter. I took her most places with me when she was young. Together we have dealt with many difficult family situations including cancer, mental illness, and death. And there have been wonderful events – marriage, births, graduations, and many celebrations. We have been field trip companions and, most importantly, life companions.
Today is the day set aside to celebrate the relationships sisters share. Though Jeanne Marie and I aren’t in the same place today, I am celebrating National Sister Day – with books, of course!
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Written in 1868, the classic Little Women is considered to be one of the top 100 children’s novels. The story follows the four March sisters – Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy as they grow up during the Civil War and then deal with the aftermath. They face many problems due to the family’s poverty and Beth’s untimely death is considered to be one of the saddest passages in children’s literature.
Little Miss, Big Sis by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (author) and Peter H. Reynolds (illustrator) HarperCollins 2015
This sweet book written by one of my favorite authors describes the delight of a little girl who becomes a big sister. With a simple rhyming text and softly colored line drawings, this book describes how life changes for a family with the arrival of a new little sister.
Unfortunately, Amy Krouse Rosenthal left us too soon. Shortly before she died she wrote an essay, You Might Want to Marry My Husband, which was published in the New York Times. You really need to read it and, if you are like me, you will want to read everything she wrote.
Big Sister, Little Sister by Leuyen Pham (author and illustrator) Disney-Hyperion 2005
This delightful book turns the normal narrative around because it is written from the viewpoint of the little sister. Though there are conflicts, love and friendship triumph over all.
Sisters by David McPhail (author and illustrator) HMH 1984, 2010
is a lovely picture book which describes the ways that sisters are alike and different and how the bond of sisterhood develops through shared experiences and memories. It is currently available as a board book.
Sisters by Raina Telgemeir GRAPHIX 2014
This autobiographical graphic novel explores the complex relationships between family members. Raina can’t wait to be a big sister but things don’t turn out quite the way she imagines. The sisters argue and torment each other but they love each other despite the trials that take place in their lives. The main action occurs over a road trip the family is taking to attend a family reunion. There is humor throughout this engaging and heartwarming book which will be enjoyed by students in grades 3-7.