The graphic novel Sisters by Raina Telgemeir (Graphix, 2014) is one that tweenage and teenage sisters can certainly relate to. As is often the case, two sisters struggle to get along, specifically while traveling on a long road trip to visit family. The story alternates between the current day (stuck in the car) with when the preschool-aged Raina was eagerly awaiting a sister and through key moments in childhood.
As may be imagined, having a sister is not as fun for Raina as she anticipated, especially because baby Amara doesn’t do anything. This was so funny to me because, likewise, my 3 year old daughter was so disappointed when her baby sister wouldn’t try dancing, as she demonstrated, when she was just one week old. Flashbacks center around Raina’s increasing jealousy about the attention Amara receives, in addition to the conflict between them. The story of going to visit extended family provides a nice frame for the sisters to recognize that no one (not even cousins) can replace the bond between siblings.
I enjoyed how this story provided true and highly relatable insights into a sibling dynamic, along with such clever humor. I grew up with Calvin & Hobbes, and that is what I think of when I think of “comics”: humor that perfectly hits the point in just a few frames. While this was an overall novel-length story, Telgemeir provided plenty of those comedic punches to keep the reader laughing. The final sister agreement at the end was laugh-aloud funny. Now I know why this book was one that got my now-ten-year-old daughter so interested in continuing to read and engage in graphic novels a few years ago.
Sisters is a great step-into-reading graphic novel for all ages, beginning at whatever age a child is able to start reading it themselves.
Received the Will Eisner Award in 2014, for best graphic writers