Happy National Siblings Day! In our imagination having a big family is beautiful, with kids playing together and enjoying each others company. In real life there are often quite a bit of fights, tears and insecurities involved, too.
So here are some great books that show the high and lows of having brothers and/or sisters!
Sam McBratney /Anita Jeram
WEN HAST DU AM ALLERLIEBSTEN?
Mama and Papa Bear have three little bears and every night when tucking them in they assure them they are the most wonderful baby bears in the world. But one day the kids - as so many kids with siblings - start to wonder: maybe the parents like the siblings more then me?
A cute book for toddlers (and preschoolers) to teach them that everybody is lovable, however different we are and that parents love all of their children.
2 years and up
ALFONSO, DAS MACHT MAN NICHT!
Natalie loves her little brother. But sometimes he really irritates her. When he chews on her favorite book, she gets really upset and she lets him know - she paints a picture showing all the things she wants him to happen! Then she takes a bath - and suddenly gets very worried by the noises coming from the other room. Is Alfonso hurt?
This picture book with bold colors and graphic pictures addresses a situation kids with toddler siblings can relate with all too well. It shows the low of sibling life - and a happy end and offers a great opportunity to talk about how to resolve situations like these.
3 years and up
Similar in topic is this picture book for slightly older kids of a girl and her younger brother (or a boy and her older sister...) She always has to be in charge, he breaks her stuff. But on the other hand: she builds the highest towers with blocks and he tells the best stories.
The fun part of this picture book is that it tells the story of both perspectives - one side tells her story, then you flip the book and read his. The illustrations are modern and adorable and offer lots of details to discover. It doesn't have too many words, so it works great for even not too proficient bilingual kids and is a great starting point to talk about what they love about their brothers and sisters and what not so much.
3-4 years and up
Stephanie Schneider / Astrid Henn
ICH BRAUCH EUCH ALLE!
The five siblings Otto, Luigi, Martin, Pelle and Bertil couldn't be more different! Luigi knows a magic trick with live frogs, Martin works as a plastic bag police man, Pelle knows the art of making knots in spaghetti, Bertil is an inventor. And Otto loves his stuffed animals. This is increasingly annoying his other brothers, as he always wants to sleep with all of them in their common bed. Things get really difficult when they win an enormous pink piggy at a raffle. Luckily Bertil quickly invents a lovey-brother-machine and they all work together to built it.
Super fun and cute book that shows kids in their diversity - and the benefits of compromise.
4 years and up
ICH UND MEINE SCHWESTER KLARA
If you and your children want to laugh out loud during story time, this book is a great pick. A little boy (whose name we never learn) and his older sister Klara are up to no good. Not so much because they mean to cause upheavel, it is rather their inquriring minds ready to explore everything in real life too. So they try to tame lice, learn to swim in the bath tub or give away lots of their parents' things to help others.
5 years and up
Annette Pehnt / Jutta Bauer
RABEA UND MARILI
The award-winning author Annette Pehnt in this book tells 22 stories about being an older or a younger sister., with lots of everyday topics such as quarreling, loosing ones way, being sick or Rabea is five, she can write her name, paint (almost) everything, talk to animals.. Her siser Marili is three and both of them are the only ones that can see a little fairy that helps them when in need.
Some things are also best done together, such as packing a citrus press on the vacation to Italy, so they can press lemons and make lemonade as soon as they see a lemon tree or inventing a chocolate machine.
Annette Pehnt writes refreshingly well, which makes reading aloud a hue pleasure. While telling everyday life situations of kids we (and they) all know, she gives a them a twist full of imagination.
5 years and up
FRÄULEIN SCHMALZBROT & BILLIE BALLONFAHRER
Fräulein Schmalzbrot things Fraulein Gummibärchen would be much more fitting name, but when her mom was pregnant with her, she had cravings for bread with a certain spread, so this is her nickname. Parents are weird sometimes, so Fräulein Schmalzbrot is delighted she will have a sibling, a smaller sister. But it can be hard, too... Rieke Patwardhan, mom of two girls herself, psychologist and book seller does a great job of tellings the stories from the kids' perspective and kids (boys and girls) will love these stories (and parents, too.). There is a second volume with the Indian grand mom coming to pay a visit from India, too.
5 years and up
Kirsten Boie / Silke Brix-Henker
KLAR, DASS MAMA OLE LIEBER HAT
Kirsten Boie is one of Germany's best and most important current kids' books authors. She is a master of picking the topics children can relate, too and many of her books are bestsellers. This title is a little older and deals with sibling jealousy. Just like the books SIBLINGS it tells the story from both kids' perspective - Anna is convinced her mother prefers Ole and Ole thinks Anna is their mom's favorite.... But when their mother is out, they discover no matter whom they mother likes best, it is just wonderful they are together.
If you want kids' books that reflect only ideal behavior and language, you might want to steer away from this book. But for everybody who is into books who tell it how it is, I highly recommend this modern classic.
5 years and up
DIRK UND ICH
Andreas Steinhöfel narrates in this super funny episode book adventures he had with his own brother when they were kids. Times have changed - nowadays particularly in the US kids don't get to roam around by themselves anymore - but little things gone wrong and creating havoc still makes for great stories! Andreas and Dirk go sledging and land in the creek, Christmas, having a new sibling, moving..
8 years and up