Ten terrific books about sisters

Published on: 20 February 2023

In celebration of sisterhood, Shirley Marr, author of All Four Quarters of the Moon, has chosen her favourite books featuring sisters.

Credit: Emma Taylor Photography

Shirley Marr is a first-generation Chinese-Australian author living in Australia. Shirley describes herself as having a Western mind and an Eastern heart and likes to write in the space in the middle where both collide, basing her stories on her own personal experiences of migration and growing up. Arriving in mainland Australia from China as a seven-year-old in the 1980s and, alongside her little sister, experiencing the good, the bad and the wonder that comes with culture shock, Shirley has been in love with reading and writing from that early age. Her book All Four Quarters of the Moon is a big-hearted, magical story about sisterhood and a family finding their way in a new place.

Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary 

The front cover of Beezus and Ramona

As a big sister myself with a younger sister who could be unbelievably cheeky, this book resonated so much with me as a child. I wanted to write my own modern, multicultural version, which became All Four Quarters of the Moon!

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 

The front cover of Little Women

Despite our differences, my sister and I loved each other and as children we often wondered what it would be like if we had more sisters. This book was a fantasy daydream for me growing up. I thought of myself as Jo, the creative one who writes, of course.

Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner 

A classic Australian children’s novel about the seven Woolcot children. As a young migrant, this book satisfied my appetite to know more about the lives of Australian children and also what it would be like to be part of a huge Australian family!

The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead

Step-siblings are just as real as birth siblings, so that is why I have selected this beautiful book about young Bea whose dream to become a sister comes true when her divorced father marries again.

The Wintrish Girl (Talismans of Fate Book One) by Melanie La’Brooy 

Two unrelated and reluctant girls are magically bound together as sisters in this fantasy adventure, but it is what they sacrifice and do for each other that proves siblinghood is more than just blood alone – that siblinghood can be chosen! My favourite children's book for 2022!

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket 

A wonderfully curious set of stories about the Baudelaire children who, after being orphaned, find themselves in worse and worse situations. The children themselves are smart and capable and highlight the bonds that come with having each other, something I took for All Four Quarters of the Moon – that bad things can happen, but with a sibling one doesn’t need to weather the storm alone.

The Wishing Chair by Enid Blyton 

The front cover of The Adventures of the Wishing Chair

I love all the sibling groups in Ms Blyton’s classic stories, but my favourite would be this book. Oh, how I dreamed that I could be sitting in the magic chair along with Mollie and Peter when it sprouted wings and took them on adventures to magic lands!

I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child 

I discovered the sweet and funny sibling pair of Charlie and Lola as an adult when my son was a toddler. At age nine he has since outgrown this book, but I haven’t!

Huda and Me by H. Hayek 

Shortlisted for Book of The Year, Younger Readers in 2022 by the Children's Book Council of Australia, this wonderful Own Voices novel offers insight into the world of two young Lebanese-Australian siblings who decide to run away back to Beirut, tacking multiculturalism and family bonds in a touching and humorous way.

Lenny’s Book of Everything by Karen Foxlee 

Oh my feels! A simply magical tale about a young girl and her little brother Davey who hope to complete their Build-It-At-Home encyclopedia before Davey succumbs to his terminal condition. If you like my book, All Four Quarters of the Moon, you will love this sibling story about being able to discover the whole world within the realms of knowledge and imagination.


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