Getting along with your sister is never easy—especially if your brains work in different ways! Based on the author’s childhood, Me and My Sister is a gentle exploration of growing up with an autistic sibling.
Life in a neurodiverse home isn’t straightforward: these siblings communicate and behave in different ways. They’re also unique people with different likes and dislikes. Misunderstandings are bound to happen! But despite the occasional bickering and confusion, maybe this brother and sister can discover new ways to love and help one another.
Siblings of all backgrounds will connect to this playfully illustrated story about embracing difference.---from the publisher
32 pages 978-0802855428 Ages 3-7
Keywords: family, brothers and sisters, sisters and brothers, neurodiverse, getting along, feelings, love, understanding others, accepting others, acceptance, emotional intelligence, 3 year old, 4 year old, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, Character Building Curriculum, autism, person with autism
Also published in Finnish: Minä Ja Minun Siskoni
“My sister likes to watch TV by herself
and I like to listen to music…”
ME AND MY SISTER is an upbeat picture book about a sister whose differentness makes her an outsider in the outside world. Nevertheless, she is a beloved insider in her intimate world of family and friends.
The story is narrated by her brother.
Back in my days of conducting circle times that included a read-aloud, I would not have considered reading an author’s note to a bunch of preschoolers and pre kindergarteners. I still wouldn’t.
The biographical note included here, on the copyright page, is relevant to help adults understand the story: It explains that the author/illustrator grew up with an autistic brother. But the story doesn’t rely on young audiences hearing or reading that note, understanding autism, or even knowing ahead of time that one of the sibling characters is differently-abled.
The story begins with just the brother and sister. It’s likely that young audiences will initially see the story as a portrayal of siblings who have different personalities and interests and needs, with the (presumed younger) sister sometimes misbehaving. But it’s clear that these differences never affect their caring for one another.
“We do different things
...and we both learn a lot!”
As the story unfolds, the brother speaks positively about his sister. When she occasionally misbehaves, he conveys that fact in a non-judgmental tone. Through two-thirds of the story, the only secondary characters we encounter are family and friends. Everything is mellow.
But then we reach a two-page spread with a Wow! moment:
“But strangers don’t always see her the way I do.
(Sister) “POO DEE POO DEE POOO!!”
At this point, the brother has a look on his face that contains some embarrassment and maybe even a hint of shame. But following that encounter with scowling, judgmental strangers, the story returns to just the brother and sister at home. As before, they are sometimes jointly engaged in activities, and sometimes doing their own things. Again, the strong emotional bond between the siblings is clear.
ME AND MY SISTER will make for an excellent read-aloud and discussion starter. Had it been around back in the day, I would have readily chosen this one for presenting at circle time.
Recommended by: Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA
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