This August brings many stories about sisters and brothers! Three new recommendations for middle grade readers:
Sisters will have a built-in audience of readers who previously loved Smile and Drama. Like Smile, it's a graphic memoir. Unlike Smile, this one focuses on Raina's family instead of her friends. Sibling rivalry plays out over the course of a family road trip and in flashbacks that reveal the deeper relationship between Raina and her little sis Amara. Funny stories, sweet moments, and little truths about the pains of growing up make Sisters another winner for Telgemeier.
KINDA LIKE BROTHERS by Coe Booth
The foster kids Jarrett's mom takes in are usually babies -- not guys his own age. But all of a sudden, here comes Kevon (along with his adorable little sister). Kevon's got family issues, but he also has mad skills on the basketball court and with the girls. It's not long before jealous Jarrett wants him out of his room and out of his life. Kinda Like Brothers hits on a lot of hot topics: child abuse, mental illness, and sexual orientation, to name a few. But Booth handles it all with a fine touch and tells a story that will keep kids reading.
FINDING RUBY STARLING by Karen Rivers
This companion to Rivers' The Encyclopedia of Me (highly recommended!) is billed as a Parent Trap for the digital age. Yes, two girls who were previously strangers discover they are identical twins. But honestly, it's so much more. One of the girls -- Ruth Quayle, the kinda weird skateboarder from Encyclopedia -- is American; the titular Ruby Starling is British. Ruth is adopted, and Ruby lives with her/their birth mom. The heart of the story lies in how this came to be, and how the two girls will come to terms with the situation. Themes of anxiety, guilt, and forgiveness are buoyed by Ruth's often exuberant voice and a side plot about the movie she's making with her BFF Jedgar. Finding Ruby Starling exceeds expectations.