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Reading Recommendations for National Siblings Day

By Konstantopoulou, Caroline Dowse, Zalak Shah, Megan Cradock and Ana Cecilia Matute

Family can be complicated, and relationships with siblings even more so. People often characterise their relationships with their siblings as some of the most important in their lives. Inspired by National Siblings Day, here is a compilation of books to explore and better understand this complex, sometimes frustrating, but mostly beautiful connection. Love them or hate them, it’s impossible to ignore them!

Stepping Up by Sarah Turner

A novel laced with humour and themes of openness, Stepping Up is proof that turning one’s life around is not only possible, but magical too. Sarah Turner, known as ‘The Unmumsy Mum’, has crafted a story like no other: what happens when the irresponsible, lost, thirty-year-old Beth finds herself at a crossroads? Life often has its own plan, one that stubbornly refuses to align with personal wishes, so, when Beth’s sister, Emmy, falls into a coma after a tragic accident, Beth has no choice but to step up. Through a tangled web of challenges, Beth resets her life and starts over, slowly learning how to raise a teenager and a toddler while unexpected friendships – and more – are formed along the way. Everything Beth does is for her sister, whose health predicament helps Beth to realise the depth of sibling love. Like a shining star, Beth’s love for Emmy guides her along this new path. 

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is more than a fantasy adventure, it is also a story about sibling relationships. Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie are evacuated to the countryside during the Blitz in 1940. While exploring their new home, Lucy enters an old wardrobe which leads her to the magical land of Narnia. Her siblings do not believe her tale, but the next time she enters the wardrobe, Edmund follows and meets Narnia’s evil ruler, the White Witch. She persuades him to bring his siblings to her, promising to make him a prince if he complies. The children enter Narnia together and learn of Edmund’s betrayal. Now they must work together with Narnia’s true ruler, a lion named Aslan, to save Edmund’s life and end the White Witch’s tyranny. This classic novel celebrates the bonds between siblings and demonstrates how that powerful connection endures and grows in the face of adversity. 

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

“Korede, I killed him.” When Korede receives this message from her sister, Ayoola, for the third time, she knows exactly what to do: she cleans up the mess whilst reconciling herself to the fact that her sister is a serial killer. Ayoola is beautiful, charming and favoured by everyone – even their mother. Korede is the dependable sister, the practical one who never gets her due; she is always looking out for her younger sister, and she detests it. So, when Ayoola kills her third boyfriend in a row, and shortly after starts seeing the only man Korede has ever had feelings for, Korede is caught in a dilemma. Who should she protect: her sister or the love of her life? Disturbingly funny and witty, My Sister, The Serial Killer will make you question your own morality and the lengths you would go to in order to protect the ones you love.

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

While the theme of family is strong throughout this book, it is the bond between siblings that is at the heart of the story. Shiori’anma, Princess of Kiata, has always had a close relationship with her brothers, but in recent years she has begun to feel lonely, despite living in a kingdom of thousands. When her stepmother, Raikama, a powerful, dangerous sorceress, discovers that Shiori somehow possesses magic, she curses Shiori and her brothers. Raikama turns the six brothers into cranes and uses her magic to cast Shiori far away, preventing anyone from recognising the princess, and warning Shiori that for every word she utters, one of her brothers will die. Alone and unable to speak, Shiori is faced with an impossible task: locate her brothers and break Raikama’s curse. The fierce loyalty and love between siblings are tested time and time again in this story of family, magic and trust.

The Silent Twins by Marjorie Wallace

An interesting and enigmatic true story unfolds in Marjorie Wallace’s book, The Silent Twins. The narrative revolves around identical twins, June and Jennifer, who live in Wales. From a tender age they make a mutual decision to cease communication with the outside world, forging a unique bond between themselves. Their relationship deepens as they mirror each other’s actions, engage exclusively with one another and withhold their thoughts from others. As time passes, their path takes a darker turn, leading to involvement in criminal activities and eventual arrest. Prompted by this enigma, Marjorie Wallace embarks on a quest to delve into the depths of their perplexing lives and unravel the complexities of their relationship. Drawing on the twins' personal diaries, as well as extensive interviews, Wallace exposes the intricacies of their repressive dynamic. Perhaps most intriguingly, after Jennifer's demise, June finds her voice once more, shedding light on the mysteries that have shrouded their lives. Immensely fascinating, Wallace’s book explores a unique aspect of the intense bond between siblings. 



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