Children's books about siblings who get along
May 23, 2011 5:22 PM   Subscribe

Books for children about nice big siblings?

My son can be very literally minded, and has picked up the idea from books and TV shows that big brothers always pick on their little sisters.

Can you suggest books that show the opposite? He's eight years old but can read anything you put in front of him. Especially helpful are funny books that have been published in the last ten years.

Books he's recently liked include: Ook and Gluck, Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Captain Underpants, Deltora Quest, Percy Jackson, all sorts of comic books but especially Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes, Sherman's Lagoon, Batman, Spiderman, Superman, Pearls Before Swine, the Lego catalogue... your basic 8- to 12-year-old kid stuff. He'll read picture books and easy readers, too, so long as they don't look babyish.

Nothing religious, please. Amusing, not preachy.
posted by The corpse in the library to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Chronicles of Narnia?
posted by J. Wilson at 5:33 PM on May 23, 2011


Oh, damn, I read a picture book recently that was all about these bizarre, scary people a kid sees on his/her rounds, and at the end it turns out they're all part of her/his family. It was cute and seems to do what you want, but I need help remembering more. Maybe a librarian can get something useful from that description?
posted by mediareport at 5:41 PM on May 23, 2011


I know you've specified published in the last ten years, but maybe have a look at The Boxcar Children. They've aged really well, and you won't find a set of siblings who get along better without being treacly. The kids are on their own a great deal of the time, and IME their independence is very appealing to kids who have grown up in the scheduled-playdate world. Boys and girls alike in my son's third grade class tore through them.

The wikipedia link suggests that in recent years additional books have been written about the characters, and are set in the present day. I haven't read them, but might be worth checking out.
posted by apparently at 5:57 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


If he can get over the fact that they take place in the 1890s (no small task - I know!) he might really love the Great Brain series. They are honestly really funny books about a boy (maybe 12 years old?) at boarding school who is very protective of his little brother. There's religious content in the sense that they are at a Catholic school, and there's some identity stuff around being a religious minority (the family lives in Utah) but I wouldn't consider them religious per se.
posted by moxiedoll at 6:12 PM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


On the picture book side, Charlie and Lola.
posted by kmel at 6:31 PM on May 23, 2011


Sheila Rae the Brave is another lovely picture book. Oh, that's two sisters.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:04 PM on May 23, 2011


Max and Ruby are awfully nice to each other as well.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:11 PM on May 23, 2011


The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles shows siblings working together and getting along, even though sometimes they fight. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler also jumps to mind, as does A Wrinkle in Time. All of these have a certain amount of normal sibling conflict but in the end the family bonds are more important.

Noel Streatfield and Edith Nesbit almost always feature families and siblings having adventures (with fights but in the end support); also The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, with the later books having families to a lesser extent.

All of mine are old.

Modern YA doesn't seem to feature families as much as YA used to, I guess because there are more only children generally, and some things about isolated protagonists are easier.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:30 PM on May 23, 2011


Chie and the Sports Day is a (sadly out of print) Japanese picture book which offers both a charming portrayal of Japanese village life and a sibling story I enjoyed as a little sister.

The Christmas Tree Forest
is another picture book with a generous brother (not religious unless you consider Santa Claus a deity).

The Brothers Lionheart
is chapter book about heroic devotion between an older and a younger brother.

The Series of Unfortunate Events books are funny and feature strong sibling relationships, though the oldest is a girl.
posted by unsub at 7:40 PM on May 23, 2011


Patrick's Dinosaurs and What Happened to Patrick's Dinosaurs are picture books and the two brothers are not really the focus, but I've always really loved the way they relate to one another. The big brother is very patient and takes the time to answer all his little brother's questions, and the little brother clearly looks up to his big brother.
posted by Dojie at 8:54 PM on May 23, 2011


The Boxcar Children? Overly wholesome and the series goes on forever, but they satisfied my super-independent-kids-save-the-day kick as a kiddo.

Lisa is a kickass older sister doing right by all the younger kids in The Girl Who Owned a City. Warning: post-apocalyptic plague kills all the adults, but offscreen. Additional warning: Wikipedia says it's Ayn Rand kiddie lit, which has never, ever occurred to me.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:07 PM on May 23, 2011


Julia in the high school Betsy-Tacy books is much nicer than in the grade school ones.
posted by brujita at 9:39 PM on May 23, 2011


Russell Hoban's "Frances the Badger" books.
posted by nicwolff at 9:57 PM on May 23, 2011


Unsub beat me to The suggestion of The Brothers Lionheart, which is fantastic and beautiful, but breaks absolutely all your requirements, especially about lighthearted (death/suicide of children, betrayal by loved ones, etc). So very, very worth it.
posted by Iteki at 10:17 PM on May 23, 2011


Oh, oh, and The Dark is Rising Sequence. Characters are 11 and up, and all the sibs have got each others' backs. Also not comedy or published in the past 10 years, but very good.
posted by deludingmyself at 10:35 PM on May 23, 2011


I'd have to echo what kmel said, and heartily recommend the Charlie and Lola texts.
posted by Faintdreams at 4:10 AM on May 24, 2011


The Magic Tree House is a recent series featuring a pair of siblings who get along well. My son loved these books (warning: the repetitive formula will drive an adult crazy after about 4 books; kids don't seem to care).

If you're open to more than books: one of the nicest, most realistic sibling relationships I've seen is in the animated movie My Neighbor Totoro.
posted by apparently at 7:08 AM on May 24, 2011


They are picture books but they are two complimentary series "Stella" and "Sam" by Marie Louise Gay about a sister and her younger brother who help each other explore their world. They really helped my kids although they are a bit younger. Might be good to read to the two of them together.
posted by rosebengal at 9:26 PM on May 24, 2011


The series about the Melendy family that starts with The Saturdays is wonderful that way. They're by Elizabeth Enright. Four kids in a family with about a ten year age spread between them. They support each other, and when they do make mistakes in their treatment of one another - they apologize.
posted by Ellemeno at 8:07 AM on May 26, 2011


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