#WomenReadWomen2019 Books Early Readers Features Genre It's Monday What Are You Reading Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Reading Themes Sisterhood and Female Bonds

[Monday Reading] A Day In The Life Of Sisters in Picturebooks

"A Most Unusual Day" by Sydra Malfery and E. B. Goodale | "Secret Tree Fort"by Brianne Farley.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community. 

These are two fairly recent picturebooks that feature sisters and the day, slightly unusual, that they get to spend together.

A Most Unusual Day

Written by Sydra Malfery Illustrations by E. B. Goodale
Published by: Greenwillow Books (2018)
ISBN: 0062364308 (ISBN13: 9780062364302)Borrowed a copy from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

From the minute Caroline woke up, it is clear that today is no ordinary day. She has not kept to her usual routine and even forgot her socks and lunch box. Her parents also do not seem to be around as it was her Grandma who helped her catch the bus on her way to school.

At school, Caroline also appeared distracted. There is something that is evidently on her mind and has her anxious and counting down the hours until school ends – quite unusual for this girl who enjoys helping out in school and participating in class activities.

I especially loved the image above. As an educator, it is a gentle reminder that young kids may sometimes ‘act out’ unwittingly, not because they deliberately want to make life difficult for their classmates or teacher, but maybe because something important is happening in their lives; something that refuses to be contained and subdued, hence the tilting of chair, chewing of thumbnails, and so forth.

Given our reading theme, it is pretty clear what has Caroline all in a jiffy. Her baby sister, coming from far away, is being brought home by her parents. It is implied that the baby is adopted, but does not explicitly articulate it in the story. This is also a glorious example of a mixed-race family, whereby race is not the predominant theme in the narrative; it simply is. Definitely a book that you should consider adding to your growing list of sibling text-sets.

Secret Tree Fort

Written and Illustrated by Brianne Farley
Published by: Candlewick Press (2016)
ISBN: 0763662976 (ISBN13: 9780763662974). Borrowed from Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

These two young girls with different coloured hair have been asked to play outside by their mother. Initially, it was not clear to me whether the girls are sisters; but looking at Goodreads reviews and booklists where this book is a part of, plus the author dedication at the end of the story – suggests that they are indeed sisters.

You know that feeling you get when you just want to read your book in peace, but your younger sibling has other plans for the day? And yes, it includes a secret tree fort with a rope ladder, water balloon launcher, and basket for snacks and emergencies, and so many other terribly important artifacts that can only be investigated fully by a magnifying glass.

The older sister has been studiously ignoring the younger one with fanciful ideas, until she heard that the secret tree fort was made up of candy. Hmm, even I will sit up and take notice. Naturally, they had to argue as to whether this secret tree fort even exists in the first place:

I found this to be a refreshingly moving story of sisterhood that did not feel contrived in the least; it was funny, poignant, and aww-inducing in the end. I was also very taken by the overall design and layout of the book, with the typography that seemed alive and beautifully layered into the images. I will be sure to check out more of Brianne Farley’s picturebooks.

If you have other picturebooks/ graphic novels/ novels about sisterhood and female bonds written/illustrated by female creators that you would like to recommend, we will be happy to hear them and hunt them down in our libraries.

#WomenReadWomen2019: All authors/illustrators are from the United States of America.

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

8 comments on “[Monday Reading] A Day In The Life Of Sisters in Picturebooks

  1. A Most Unusual Day sounds really nice. The Maple and Willow books by Lori Nichols are what comes to mind when I think of titles featuring sisters.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lindabaie

    I’ve noted both books, Myra. I used to sit up in a favorite tree, reading! Thanks, will try to send some titles!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, the artwork in A Most Unusual Day reminds me of some of the children’s books from my childhood years (70s and early 80s). I’m sure I’ve read titles about sisters and their bond, but I’m drawing a blank right now outside of The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black and of course, more recently, The Lost Girl by Ursu. I’ll try to think of more that specifically focus on the female bond of sisters. Thanks for sharing these titles, Myra!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sarah Sammis

    Your book selections sound delightful this week. I’m putting both on my wishlist. My weekly updates

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have two sisters and the squabbling in the second one is most definitely authentic! I’m happy that both are available from the library here, if only I had more time!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Will look for these books. Thanks for the reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t seen either of these and both look terrific. Really love the art in Farley’s book–such creative things being done there!

    Liked by 1 person

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