From the Scholastic Bookshelf: How to Talk to Kids About Siblings

Being a brother or sister is a big responsibility. Here's how to start a conversation about it.

Feb 08, 2022



From the Scholastic Bookshelf: How to Talk to Kids About Siblings

Feb 08, 2022

When a child enters the family picture, households change forever. For families with more than one child, irreplaceable bonds are created between siblings. Whether you’re bringing a newborn home to meet an older brother or sister, or are mediating fights between teens, dynamics between siblings are constantly evolving. 

With new arrivals comes structure and responsibility. Siblings play a role in the family’s adjustment. You may discover your older child has feelings of jealousy or resentment toward your new child, or may feel neglected. As your children grow, you’ll navigate more complex personality clashes. Having resources at hand, especially a book with characters your child can relate to, can be an enormous help when discussing the unique bonds that siblings share. 

For its 100th anniversary, Scholastic spoke with experts to identify a set of tips, articles, and books that make starting a conversation with your child about a new baby or sibling dynamics easier. These resources are part of a broader initiative, called the Scholastic Bookshelf, created for Instagram to raise awareness around contemporary issues affecting children today. 

When you’re ready to talk to your child about what it means to be a sibling, older or younger, these resources can make the conversation a bit easier. 

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Little Reads for Big Brothers and Sisters:

Becoming a new big brother or sister is exciting — and more than a little scary! The adorable illustrations in I Am a Big Brother! by Caroline Jayne Church will ease your child into the role. Church’s sweet story, perfect for read-alouds, celebrates the joys of a new arrival while examining the transitions that take place. It’s a tender way to connect with your older child about what it means to be part of a growing family.

Some bumps are to be expected in the early years as siblings adjust to one another. Some may take to their new role as caretaker, while others may require extra space and independence. These years won’t be without a little competition and teasing as well, as each child carves out their own personality. 

In The Little Red Fort, Ruby is determined to build a fort from salvaged boards she finds — one of an endless number of creative ideas. She invites her brothers to help, but they shun the idea and doubt her builder abilities. When Ruby successfully constructs a fort that everyone wants to play in, she has the last laugh. It’s a new take on a classic premise, one that siblings especially can relate to.

Bigger Reads for Older Siblings:

Older independent readers approaching their teen years will be looking for stories they see themselves in. New York Times best-selling author Raina Telgemeier revisits her relationship with her younger sister and its rocky start in Sisters, a companion to the award-winning graphic memoir Smile

When a new baby arrives, she doesn’t take to Raina in the way Raina had hoped. For years after, their relationship doesn’t change much. But when a new baby brother arrives and a cloud appears over their parents’ marriage, Raina and her sister realize they must figure out how to get along if everyone is to make it through the storm.

In Twins, readers are confronted with the opposite situation: Previously inseparable sisters find themselves growing apart. Maureen and Francine Carter are twins and best friends who have always dressed alike and shared everything. But just before the start of sixth grade, Francine shortens her name to Fran and assumes a whole new set of ambitions, like joining the school chorus and dressing in outfits that distinguish her from her twin sister. Will Fran and Maureen stay best friends forever? Author Varian Johnson explores the interplay of family and identity in this graphic novel about siblings becoming individuals.

Be sure to visit the Scholastic Bookshelf for more resources on becoming a sibling. If you’re having talks with your child about this and other complex topics, and seek tips or book recommendations, visit our Tough Topics hub, where you’ll find a wealth of advice from Scholastic editors to help you navigate challenging conversations thoughtfully. Recent topic additions include:

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