Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy

Books to Help Siblings Cope

Children’s books about healthcare, hospitalization and general sibling issues can help siblings learn about and cope with the special needs of their brothers and sisters.

In addition to providing factual information about illnesses and injuries, stories written specifically for siblings can help them discuss their fears, feelings and perceptions about having a brother or sister with special health needs.

Books for siblings of children who are chronically ill or hospitalized

*Duncan, D. When Molly Was in the Hospital: A Book for Brothers and Sisters of Hospitalized Children. Rayve Productions, 1994.
Anna tells the story of her sister Molly’s hospitalization through her point of view.

Meyer, Don. The Sibling Slam Book: What It's Really Like To Have A Brother Or Sister With Special Needs. Woodbine House, 2005.
The thoughts and feelings of 80 teens about having a brother or sister with special needs.

Meyer, D. Views From Our Shoes: Growing Up With a Brother or Sister with Special Needs. Maryland: Woodbine House, 1997.
Children of different ages share their view of what it is like to have a brother or sister with special needs.

Meyer, D. & Vadasy, P. Living with a Brother or Sister with Special Needs: A Book for Sibs. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 1996.
A book for older children with brothers and sisters with special needs. This book discusses many specific disabilities and sibling emotions and questions are addressed.

Peterkin, A. What About Me? When Brothers and Sisters Get Sick. New York: Magination Press, 1992.
A young girl attempts to cope with her brother’s illness. This book also deals with the complicated feelings of a well child in such a situation.

ADHD/learning disabilities

Gordon, M. My Brother’s a World Class Pain: A Sibling’s Guide to ADHD-Hyperactivity. Gsi Publishing, 1992.
The big sister in this story explains in kids’ words her brother’s condition of ADHD and how they handle it.


Gosselin, Kim. ZooAllergy: A Fun Story About Allergy and Asthma Triggers. JayJo Books, LLC, 1996.
Justin, who is just diagnosed with asthma, goes to the zoo with his friend Ashley. While at the zoo, they learn more that just information about the animals. They learn about their allergy and asthma triggers.

Asperger’s Syndrome

Fender, Sam. Brotherly Feelings: Me, My Emotions, and My Brother With Asperger's Syndrome. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007.
This book is written from the perspective of 8 year old Sam Fender who explores and shares with the reader the emotions that siblings of children with Asperger's Syndrome commonly experience.

Van Niekerk, Clarabelle. Understanding Sam and Asperger Syndrome. Skeezel Press, 2008.
In this story the writer seeks to answer the questions that everyone has about why Sam is different. After a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome help to explain why Sam is they way he is, everyone works as a team to make it easier for Sam.


Bleach, Fiona. Everybody Is Different: A Book for Young People Who Have Brothers or Sisters With Autism. Autism Asperger Publishing Company, 2002.
This book seeks to answer questions that brothers and sisters have about their sibling with autism.

Lears, L. Ian’s Walk: A Story About Autism. Albert Whitman and Company, 1998.
Julie’s younger brother has autism and in this story, she tells how his "brain doesn’t work like other people’s and how she deals with it in certain situations.

Sabin, Ellen. The Autism Acceptance Book: Being a Friend to Someone With Autism. Watering Can Press, 2006.
This interactive book and journal explains to children what it means to understand what makes us all different and how better understanding people with autism can empower children to be kind to others.

Shally, Celeste. Since We're Friends: An Autism Picture Book. Awaken Specialty Press, 2007.
This book tells the story about two boys. One has autism, the other does not. The story serves as an example of how two seemingly different people can be good friends.


*Amadeo, D.M. There’s a Little Bit of Me in Jamey. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman and Company, 1992.
Brian’s brother Jamey has leukemia. This story addresses common sibling issues, but shows the remarkable way Brian helped his brother through a bone marrow transplant.

Krishner, Trudy. Kathy’s Hats: A Story of Hope. Albert Whitman, 1992.
Kathy's love of hats comes in handy when the chemotherapy treatments she receives for her cancer make her hair fall out.

Mills, Joyce C. Little Tree: A Story for Children with Serious Medical Problems. Magination Press, 1992.
Children with life-challenging medical problems need help in coping with their fears and anxieties. This book provides inspiration, comfort, and an inner-sense of well-being for children with serious medical problems.

Ulberg-Lilleby, Kathryn. Stevie's New Blood. Oncology Nursing Society, 2000.
Stevie, who is undergoing treatment for leukemia, receives a bone marrow transplant.


Jaworski, Anna Marie. My Brother Needs an Operation. Baby Hearts Press, 1998.
Joey’s perspective on his brother Alex’s open heart surgery.

Cerebral palsy

Riggio-Heelan, Jamee. Rolling Along: The Story of Taylor and his Wheelchair. Peachtree Publishers, 2000.
Taylor tells his story of what it means to have cerebral palsy, what it is like going to physical therapy and his struggles and triumphs with learning to use a walking and a wheelchair.


Lang, Rocky. Lara Takes Charge. HLPI Books, 2004.
Lara shares that she can do the same things that other kids can do and the things about her that are different because she has diabetes.

Down syndrome

Dodds, B. My Sister Annie. Boyds Mills Press, 1997.
Charlie’s sister Annie has Down Syndrome and he fears it will affect his relationship with a girl, and other activities in school and in sports.

Pitzer, Marjorie. I Can, Can You? Woodbine House. Inc. 2004.
A board book that shows that children with Down’s syndrome like to do the same things that other children do.

*Stuve-Bodeen, S. We’ll Paint the Octopus Red. Woodbine House, 1998.
Emma’s little brother Isaac has been born with Down Syndrome and her father tells her she can still do all the things with him that she planned, but Isaac may require more time, patience and help to do them.


*Lears, Laurie. Becky the Brave: A Story About Epilepsy. Albert Whitman & Company, 2002.
Told by Becky’s sister, Sarah, who thinks her big sister is so brave when it comes to going to school and having epilepsy. What Sarah learns, after Becky has a seizure, is that she can face her fears of going to school alone and telling her class about how Becky is doing.

Grief/Loss of a sibling

Blanford, Cathy. Something Happened: A Book for Children and Parents Who Have Experienced Pregnancy Loss. Cathy Blanford Publishing, 2008.
This book was written to help children understand what happens when there is a pregnancy loss.

Celestial Arts. Straight from the Siblings: Another Look at the Rainbow. Berkeley, CA: The Center for Attitudinal Learning, 1982.
A collection of writings and drawings by brothers and sisters of children with serious illness.

Durant, Alan. Always and Forever. Harcourt Children's Books, 2004.
Told from the point of view of Otter, Mole and Hare whose best friends Fox dies, this book focuses on how they deal with the loss.

Gish, L. A Birthday Present for Daniel: A Child's Story of Loss. Prometheus Books, 1996.
A little girl who has lost her brother, Daniel, tells of her family's discussion of how to acknowledge and celebrate his upcoming birthday.

Hanson, Warren. The Next Place. Waldman House Press, 1997.
Explains death in a spiritual and poetic way and takes the reader on "an inspirational journey of light and hope to a place where earthly hurts are left behind."

Mellonie, Bryan. Lifetimes: A Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children. Bantam Books, 1983.
Explains life and death in the form of beginnings, endings, and the in between of plants, animals, and people.

*Mills, Joyce. Gentle Willow: A Story for Children about Dying. Magination Press, 1993.
Tells the story of Amanda the squirrel who befriends a tree named Gentle Willow. Through the story, Gentle Willow becomes sick and dies, and Amanda is taught how to accept the tree's death and say goodbye.

Old, W.C. Stacy Had a Little Sister. Concept Books, 1995.
Stacy is a soon-to-be big sister who at first has mixed feelings about her new sibling, but when the baby dies of sudden infant death syndrome, Stacy is sad and misses her.

Temes, R. The Empty Place: A Child's Guide Through Grief. New Horizon Press, 1992.
Tells the story of a boy who experiences the death of his sister and confides in Betsy, a babysitter who has also suffered the loss of her brother.

Thomas, Pat. I Miss You: A First Look at Death. Barron's Educational Series, 2001.
This book helps children understand that death is a natural compliment to life and that grief and a sense of loss are normal feelings for them to have following the death of a loved one.

Hearing impairments

Millman, Isaac. Moses Goes to a Concert. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002.
Moses and his classmates learn how a drummer for the orchestra, who is deaf like Moses, is able to have her dream job.

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

*Aldape, Virginia. Nicole's Story: A Book about a Girl with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Lerner Publishing Group, 1996.
An eight-year-old girl talks about what her life is like with the disease of JRA or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Striegle, Jana. Homeroom Exercise. Holiday House, 2002.
When eleven-year-old Regan begins to suffer from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, she must face the possibility that her dream of being a professional dancer may never come true.

Muscular dystrophy

*Osofsky, Audrey. My Buddy. Henry Holt and Co., 1994.
A young boy with muscular dystrophy tells how he is teamed up with a dog trained to do things for him that he can’t do for himself.

Visual impairments

Cottin, Menena. The Black Book of Colors. Groundwood Books, 2008.
Give the reader an opportunity to experience color through the senses of smell, sounds, taste and touch.

Books to Encourage Children to Talk About Their Feelings

Berkner, Laurie. Story of My Feelings. Orchard Books, 2007.
This book and CD uses songs to teach kids that no matter what you are feeling it’s okay.

Cain, Janan. The Way I Feel. Parenting Press, 2000.
The wording and pictures used in this book are designed to help children, who feel frustrated by not being able to express their feelings, understand them.

Curtis, Jamie Lee. Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day. HarperCollins, 1998.
This book expresses the range of emotions that you can experience in one day and that no matter what you are feeling it is okay.

Curtis, Jamie Lee. It's Hard to Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel. HarperCollins, 2004.
A book about how it feels to be five.

Dr. Seuss. My Many Colored Days. Knopf Books for Young Readers,1996.
Compares feelings to colors as a way to help us understand what feelings mean.

Freymann, Saxton. How Are You Peeling? Foods with Moods. Scholastic Paperbacks, 2004.
This book creatively uses photographs of fruit that have been given human expression to explain the different feelings.

Parr, Todd. The Feelings Book. L,B Kids, 2005.
This board books teaches children about the different feelings.

Books about other issues that may arise with siblings

Separation anxiety

Appelt, Kathi. Oh My Baby, Little One. Voyager Books, 2006.
This poem turned into a book of comforting rhymes teaches children that separation does not last forever.

Penn, Audrey. The Kissing Hand. Tanglewood Press, 2006.
Chester Raccoon is worried about going to school and being away from his mother until she teaches him about how they can always be together.

Spelman, Cornelia. When I Miss You. Albert Whitman & Company, 2006.
A guinea pig is the main character in this book about how a child feels when they are away from the ones they love.

Sibling rivalry

Blume, Judy. The Pain and the Great One. Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, 1985.
This book told in two parts shows both how the brother and the sister are annoyed by one another but are happy to have each other.

Ross-Enderle, Judith. Smile, Principessa. Margaret K. McElderry Publishing, 2007.
Bina is very upset after Bino is born because her dad does not take as many pictures of her as before. So upset in fact that she will not smile anymore. After reassurance from her parents, she learns to smile again both for pictures and her new baby sister.

Welcoming a new sibling into the family

Anholt, Laurence. Chimp and Zee: Our New Baby and Me: A First Year Record Book for New Brothers and Sisters. Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2009.
A baby book for new brothers and sisters.

dePaola, Tommy. The Baby Sister. Putnam Juvenile, 1999.
Tommy is excited for the birth of his new baby sister. This book shows all of the struggles and excitement of waiting for that new family member to arrive.

Smith, Dian. My New Baby and Me: A First-Year Record Book for Big Brothers and Sisters. Little Simon, 1987.
A baby book for new brothers and sisters.

Sullivan, Sarah. Dear Baby: Letters from Your Big Brother. Candlewick, 2005.
Mike is both excited and worried as it gets closer to when his sibling will be born. This book looks at his feelings both before the birth and during the year after.

*Books with an asterisk in front of them are available in the Connelly Center Family Library and Resource Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Contact us

If you need additional resources or suggestions on talking to your child about the hospital, ask the Child Life Specialist on your unit, or call the Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy Department at 215-590-2001.

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