My favourite contemporary sister-brother stories!

image of girl with black hair and glasses in jean jacket giving thumbs up inside green circle. box underneath reads Miss Mahee's Booklist. light blue background around white.
Booklists for you

Hello and welcome to 2022!! My first proper post is a book list with a few of my favourite sibling reads featuring an older sister and younger brother. These books will hopefully transport you to the lives of some very special characters. I hope you and your tween enjoy the selection I have set out for you below. Enjoy your reading!!

Let me start off with two of my favourite reads featuring older sisters who, in my opinion, have an extra role as mother to their younger brothers who fall into the autism spectrum. 

cover image of boy and girl inside boat looking at dolphin in clear water. trees and sun along skyline along top. white letters on sea read How to speak dolphin.
An engaging read

In How to speak dolphin by Ginny Rorby we meet Lily and Adam who live with their step-father Don. Although Lily loves her brother very much she can’t hang out with her friends as she has to help take care of Adam. When Adam has the opportunity to meet a young dolphin that was recently brought into captivity, Adam and the dolphin, Nori, bond instantly. Adam’s much happier, and Don and Lily hope it helps Adam’s problems. This beautiful story will have you in tears and laughing at the same time!! Highlighting not only the impact of taking care of an autistic sibling, the bond between the two is also expertly crafted. The cast of characters, both dolphin and human, bring a lovely story of love and friendship. 

Scarlet Ibis large red ibis flying in faded sky girl and boy in park underneath
An emotional story

Scarlet Ibis by Gill Lewis takes readers to England, to a pair of foster children as they navigate life together. Every night Scarlet tells her younger brother Red his favourite story – about the day they’ll fly away to the Caroni Swamp in Trinidad, where thousands of birds fill the sky. But when Scarlet and Red are split up and sent to live apart, Scarlet knows she’s got to do whatever it takes to get her brother back. Every single chapter of this had me hooked from beginning to end. Gill Lewis’ use of imagery in this story was exquisite and painted a captivating tale of the meaning of home. What I loved the most was the way Lewis portrayed the sibling bonds between Scarlet and Red!!

cover image of blue background with image of boy's head and-drawn inside. black hair with large-ish ears, one eye in light blue inside white face with word Wonder in black letters over eye.
An engaging read

I suppose in keeping with the theme of brothers with a disability you can’t forget the award-winning Wonder by R.J. Palacio featuring Auggie and the Pullman family. I know this isn’t exactly similar to the other two, but in one of the alternate voices we get to hear his sister’s version of events in his life. Plus I love the bond they have that’s depicted in the multiple voices that narrate the story. If you think this might be confusing to read, take heart everyone, as the movie is just as amazing!! You’ll get to experience middle school and all the many adventures Auggie and his new friends have in this amazing uplifting read!!

This next one: The Murk by Robert Lettrick is one I had featured for a Halloween-inspired post! 

The Murk green tentacles coming from swamp dark trees behind
Horror read

We accompany fourteen-year-old Piper Canfield, her brother Creeper, along with their friend and some local guides deep into the dark heart of the Okefenokee Swamp in search of a rare flower. Legend has it that the flower is protected by a deadly predator and Piper’s task is simple: find the flower…or die tryin. This is one of those reads I found a tad bit scary but I know some people won’t mind the spine-tingling horror described!! Piper’s relationship with Creeper is tested as well…along with a few other experiences they wouldn’t want to repeat!! I’ll let you find out by yourself though…

cover image of boy and girl riding bikes along brown field. sky behind light orange with darkening clouds above them. white cursive letters above them read Summerlost.
An interesting read

Summerlost by Ally Condie is actually a teen read but I enjoyed the story quite a bit. Although the story isn’t about the sibling bonds, the fractured family does find a way to heal through their experience together. Cedar and her mother and brother are spending their summer in Iron Creek where her mother grew up. They’re all finding a way to move forward after losing their father and younger brother Ben in an accident. The magic of summer and new friends brings Cedar hope and courage to find strength to move on. All the characters in this book make an entertaining read!! Some of the mystery is quite captivating and young Leo is one who will find it quite hard to forget. 

The London Eye Mystery red and black letters along pole under London Eye Siobhan Dowd on other pole. boy and girl looking up from underneath. Big Ben and Westminister in left corner. plane overhead between spokes of Eye.
A fascinating story

In The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd, we meet brother and sister duo Ted and Kat in London as they watch their cousin Salim board the London Eye but never depart. The siblings find themselves following a trail of clues to solve the mystery of their missing cousin as the police are even baffled. Although the story is mostly about the remarkable abilities young Ted uses to solve the mystery, his bond with his sister helps them both solve the mystery. This story was truly a masterpiece!!

These next two I found quite recently and felt they deserved to be in this list.

cover image of four kids holding paper reading Jessica McDougle. waterfall and blue cliffs with green trees behind them. black and white letters at top read Nadia Knox and the Eye of Zinnia.
An engaging read

In Nadia Knox and the Eye of Zinnia by Jessica McDougle we meet two pairs of siblings accompanying their parents in search of lost civilizations through the jungles of Uganda. The descriptions of the distinct African setting, cast of characters and magical storyline make this story a delight to read. Even if the younger brothers do seem a bit annoying to the sisters, the adventure that follows them is fascinating!! 

red cover background with image of eagle in middle. inside eagle images of mountains, forest and river. white letters behind eagle read Lenny's Book of Everything. Karen Foxlee along bottom.
A poignant read

And lastly, Lenny’s book of everything by Karen Foxlee. This poignant and moving story set in the 1970’s about a young girl and boy who are being raised by their single mother. Lenny’s younger brother Davey won’t stop growing. The one thing they look forward to every week is the latest issue of the Burrell’s Build-it-at-Home Encyclopedia. The siblings experience the wonders of the world as each issue arrives. This read had me sobbing and laughing at most chapters. The bonds of the siblings are tested and the meaning of family gains layers as each issue of the encyclopedia combines. This was truly a lovely heartwarming read for me!!

So, there you have my selection of favourite sibling stories. I hope you enjoy reading these titles as I did writing about them! If anyone has read anything similar I’d love to hear from you!

Stay safe and keep reading

Miss Mahee

five-grid box. top left image of section of London Eye viewed from ground in yellow, brown and blue pod. black and red letters read The London Eye Mystery. top right image of red birds flying in blue sky with green trees and grass below. red letters Scarlet Ibis below. large image below of girl and boy inside boat on water looking at dolphin in water. white letters below read How to speak dolphin. bottom left image of green monster creeping out into yellow letters reading The Murk. left middle image of red-brown background with multi-coloured bird with wings spread. white letters read Lenny's Book of Everything.
My favourite contemporary sibling reads

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