We Recommend: Being Nice to Your Brother

It's We Recommend, in which we use our superpowers to find readers the perfect book. Got a kid who needs a recommendation? Write us at thediamondinthewindow (at) gmail (dot) com with the age, reading tastes, favorite books, and any other relevant (or irrelevant) information, and we'll give it a shot. And really? All the good suggestions are in the comments.

OK, here's one speaks to many of us, I think. Because there's that whole thing about wanting to, you know, sort of kill your siblings, even while you want to play with them. Which can be, in a word, tiring, at least for the parents. Here are the basics:

I've got a 5.5 year old boy and a 3 year old boy.  The 5.5 year old is reading–not terribly interested in reading chapter books without pictures, but capable of reading whatever he wants to read. For the most part, he is a deep-thinking, lovely child who, like other five year olds, is into all animals, dinosaurs, sports, and good tales.  Lately he has been getting his brother into trouble and he is engaging in less constructive, more competitive, play with his brother.  Do you have any books out there (with pictures/illustrations please–even if they are the black-and-white Quentin Blake variety) about being nice to younger siblings?  If you don't have any great suggestions, can you at least tell me that this, too, will pass?

This makes me think of a whole bunch of things, none of which are exactly what is being asked for (sorry!), but here we go:

1. This

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I know, I know—she didn't ask for a book for her. But still! I found it really helpful.

Then there's this:

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The problem? It's really perfect for a kid where there's a new baby or really little one in the house disturbing everything, but not all that helpful for this particular situation maybe.

OK, here's the real recommendation, which is STILL not the right thing, because it's not a book, BUT! My sister, who has two boys exactly the same age with the same, er, challenges, swears by it. Says it is MAGIC.

Max

I know, I know—it's really not a book! But it's a game where you are working with the other kid to defeat the enemy! And protect the little bird or whatever. And maybe the kid can read the directions? It's fine for the very small, and per my sister, when her kids play there is no fighting! No destruction! Only happy cooperation, leading to peace, harmony and jumping around hugging each other in joy. "But what if, you know, the enemy wins?" I asked her. "Oh, it doesn't, they cheat," she told me, which I can see working well in this context, you know?

So there you go. A game, not a book. But maybe someone can rectify this by leaving a suggestion in the comments? Maybe?

9 thoughts on “We Recommend: Being Nice to Your Brother

  1. The Boxcar Children would be fabulous for this kiddo! The siblings work together and take care of one another and solve mysteries together. Plus, there are a bajillion of these books (only the first few were actually written by Gertrude Chandler Warner, though). Enjoy!

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  2. I have two boys that are two years, nine months apart. One of their favorite “brother” books when they were small was “My Big Brother” by Valerie Fisher. It helped my older son to realize that his younger brother looked up to him, and it helped the younger brother feel not so small. In any case, sibling bickering never ends (at least in my house!), and the only thing that changes is my own reaction to it. I have found Wolfe’s book “Mom, Jason’s Breathing on Me” immensely helpful.

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  3. Frances! Not Bedtime, not Bread and Jam, not A Bargain, but there’s another one, I forget which…Oh! It’s Best Friends for Frances! It is very much about girls, though– one of Frances’s friends starts a No Girls Club, and she and her little sister overcome their sibling rivalry to show him what girls can do, kind of thing. I’ll try to think of more. I know there are lots.

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  4. Ramona and Beezus – that’s where Beezus feels terrible because she (understandably) dislikes Ramona for various naughtinesses. Anyway, she learns that that’s perfectly natural and ok, and that they’ll laugh at all this when they’re older. Just read it to my 5yo boy and enjoyed nodding knowingly when I wondered aloud if he had ever felt like his sister was exasperating or annoying.

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  5. I really like the Charlie and Lola books for siblings, just because Charlie is such a good and patient big brother. He’s a great role model, and the artwork is bold and fun.

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  6. At a thrift shop we found a book called “Surviving Fights With Your Brothers and Sisters” by Joy Wilt, copyright 1978. Funky ’70’s illustrations and very clear explanations about causes of conflict and ways to resolve them. Part of the Ready Set Grow series.

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  7. Two more suggestions: I’ll Fix Anthony, by Judith Viorst, and the Zelda and Ivy series by Laura Kvasnosky. Both are from the p.o.v. of the younger sibling, but they might give the older some food for thought.

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