Books & Articles – Siblings

Nonfiction
Memoir & Biography
Fiction
Journal Articles
News & Magazine Articles
Annotated Bibliographies

Nonfiction

Alber, E., C. Coe, and T. Thelen (Eds.). The Anthropology of Sibling Relations: Shared Parentage, Experience, and Exchange. 2013.

Bank, Stephen P and Michael D. Kahn. The Sibling Bond (Anniversary edition). 2003. Basic Books. [APA Review of original 1982 publication.]

Baron, Josh and Rob Lachenaue. Harvard Business Review Family Business Handbook: How to Build and Sustain a Successful, Enduring Enterprise. 2021. Harvard Business Review Press.

Caffaro, John V. and Allison Conn-Caffaro. Sibling Abuse Trauma. 2006.

Caspi, Jonathan (Ed.). Sibling Development: Implications for Mental Health Practitioners. 2010.

Dillner, Luisa. The Complete Book of Sisters. 2010. Faber & Faber. UK. [Not complete, but entertaining anecdotes, and stories about famous sisters, peppered with research.]

Edwards, Rosalind and Lucy Hadfield. Sibling Identity and Relationships: Sisters and Brothers (Relationships and Resources). 2006.

Goldenthal, Peter. Why Can’t We Get Along?: Healing Adult Sibling Relationships. 2002.

Pillemer, Karl. Fault Lines: Fractured Families and How to Mend Them. 2020.

Weihe, Vernon R. Sibling Abuse: Hidden Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Trauma. 1990.

Zellweger, Thomas. Managing the Family Business: Theory and Practice. 2017. Edward Elgar Pub.

Memoir & Biography

There are many memoirs that deal with sibling relationships. Some give details about horrific aggressive and abusive behavior. While there is value in uncovering and challenging the stigma of sibling abuse, and while we can celebrate the courage it takes for people to share their story as a cautionary tale, such memoirs tend not to provide the antagonist’s response or experience; this is especially problematic (for us) when they are still living. As an organization that understands the struggles in overcoming trauma, and the need for separation and revelation, we also recognize that arriving at mutual understanding, if not reconciliation, is most likely achieved through less public confrontations. Hence, our selection here is not comprehensive, in our attempt to highlight books that reveal the subtleties of sibling relationships and the impacts they can have on the course of one’s life.

Biden, Hunter. Beautiful Things: A Memoir. 2021. Gallery Publishing Group. NPR Review. [Hunter, son of the U.S. President, details his relationship with his brother, Beau, and how the grief over Beau’s death changed him.]

Burrus, A Embry. The Life We Choose: A Sibling’s Story. 2017.

Chopra, Deepak and Sanjiv Chopra. Brotherhood: Dharma, Destiny and the American Dream. 2013.

Duplass, Mark and Jay Duplass. Like Brothers. 2018. Ballantine Books.

Howard, Ron and Clint Howard. The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family. 2021. William Morrow.

Keaton, Diane. Brother & Sister: A Memoir. 2021.

Lesser, Elizabeth. Marrow: Love, Loss and What Matters Most. 2017.

Ling, Laura and Lisa Ling. Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home. 2011.

Mansbach, Adam. I Had a Brother Once: A Poem, A Memoir. 2021.

Nemerov, Alexander. Silent Dialogues: Diane Arbus & Howard Nemerov. 2015. Fraenkel Gallery. USA. [Part memoir, part biography, two essays written by Alexander Nemerov, nephew of photographer, Diane Arbus, and son of her older brother, poet Howard Nemerov. Review by The Literate Lens.]

Rudnick, Susan. Edna’s Gift: How My Broken Sister Taught Me to Be Whole. 2019. She Writes Press. 

Scott, Joyce Wallace. Entwined: Sisters and Secrets in the Silent World of Artist Judith Scott (Illustrated). 2016. Beacon Press. [The author rescues her fraternal twin sister, who has Down syndrome, from an institution, allowing her to blossom in life, and as a renowned artist.]

Van Gogh, Vincent. Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten, and Nienke Bakker (Eds.). Ever Yours: The Essential Letters (Abridged). 2014. Yale University Press. [Personal letters written by Vincent van Gogh to his younger brother, Theo, printed posthumously and without Vincent’s permission.]

Verlinden, Willem-Jan. The Van Gogh Sisters. 2021. Thames & Hudson. [From numerous letters written to and by the three sisters of Vincent and Theo, along with other historical documents, we learn the stories of this family, and better understand Vincent’s place in it.]

Fiction

Adams, Richard. Watership Down. 1972. Rex Collings, Ltd. UK. [Young adult novel depicting a rabbit warren surviving the onslaught of human development, and the patriarchal tyranny of another warren. The story is propelled by the decisions made by a clairvoyant rabbit, Fiver, and his devoted brother Hazel.]

Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women. 1862.

Cleaver, Vera and Bill. Where the Lilies Bloom. 1969. Harper and Row. [Young adult novel of 14 year old girl keeping her brother and sisters together in the Great Smoky Mountains.]

Davenport, Marcia. My Brother’s Keeper. 1954. Charles Scribner. USA. [Loosely based on the publicized story of the Collyer brothers.]

Dickens, Charles. Dombey and Son. 1848. Bradbury & Evans. UK.

Doctrow, E. L. Homer & Langley. 2009. Random House. USA. [An allegorical tale inspired by the Collyer brothers.]

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. 1880. Russia.

Eliot, George. The Mill on the Floss. 1860.

Fowler, Karen Joy. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves: A Novel. 2013. USA. [One cannot adequately review the book without a spoiler. It was, however, shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize.]

Grimm, Jacob and Wilhem Grimm. Hansel and Gretel. There are many editions of this story by the Brothers Grimm, and some exceptional retellings such as the 1999 version by Rika Lesser, and Paul O. Zelinsky (Illustrator), or the 2008 version by Cynthia Rylant, and Jen Corace (Illustrator).

Johnson, Daisy. Sisters: A Novel. 2020. Riverhead Books. UK. [A gothic mystery. NPR Review.]

Lahiri, Jhumpa. The Lowland. 2013. Alfred A. Knopf / Random House.

Lee, Mira T. Everything Here Is Beautiful. 2018.

Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. 1937. Covici-Friede. USA. [Illustrates the relationship between two brothers who work as migrant field workers, one of whom is mentally challenged.]

Zhang, C Pam. How Much of These Hills Is Gold: A Novel. 2020. Riverhead Books. USA. [Celebrated first novel about two siblings, 11 and 12, orphaned by the deaths of their Chinese laborer parents, who make their way as outsiders through the California hills during the Gold Rush. NPR Review. Nashville Scene review.]

Journal Articles

Cicirelli, Victor G. Sibling Relationships in Cross-Cultural Perspective in Journal of Marriage and Family 56, no. 1 (1994) : 7-20.

Greene, Eric. Family Spirals Addresses ‘The Link’ and Sibling Abuse in LINK-Letter 5, no. 2 (2012) : 7.

Linscott, Jessica G. and Leslie D. Leve. Parent-Child and Sibling Relational Problems in Goldstein S., DeVries M. (eds.), Handbook of DSM-5 Disorders in Children and Adolescents Springer, Cham. (2017) 565–581. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57196-6_29

Patton, William Wesley, and Sara Latz. Severing Hansel from Gretel: An Analysis of Siblings’ Association Rights in University of Miami Law Review 48 (1994) : 745-808.

Rapoza, Kimberly A., Kelley Cook, Tanvi Zaveri, and Kathleen Malley-Morrison. Ethnic Perspectives on Sibling Abuse in the United States. Journal of Family Issues 31, no. 6 (June 2010): 808–29.

Rebar, Darren, Nathan W. Bailey, Benjamin J. M. Jarrett, and Rebecca M. Kilner. An evolutionary switch from sibling rivalry to sibling cooperation, caused by a sustained loss of parental care in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117, no. 5 (2/2020) : 2544-2550; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1911677117.

Updegraff, K. A., McHale, S. M., Killoren, S. E., and Rodríguez, S. A. Cultural variations in sibling relationships in J. Caspi (ed.), Sibling development: Implications for mental health practitioners (2011) : 83–105.

News & Magazine Articles

Anonymous. Let’s Talk About Sibling Abuse in Feminism In India. July 13, 2017. [A personal story about sibling bullying, trauma, and its impact on one’s feelings about other family members – from India.]

Brenner, Bayla Sheva. A Stinging Silence: Living with Family Estrangement in Jewish Action, the Magazine of the Orthodox Union. Fall, 2016.

Davis, Donna. How Twin Culture Challenges Our Notions of Self in Sapiens. August 18, 2016.

Heath, Thomas. How to divvy up the inheritance – and keep the family together in The Washington Post. June 1, 2018.

Moskowitz, Hannah. How my bisexual big sister blazed a path for me in Xtra Magazine. December 18, 2018.

O’Connor, Anahad. When the Bully Is a Sibling in New York Times. June 17, 2013.

Sidhu, Shawn. The Importance of Siblings in University of New Mexico Health Sciences Newsroom. January 7, 2019.

Sosa Wright, Ben. My twin died when we were 18. I’m finally finding the words to talk about him in Xtra Magazine. May 11, 2021.

Annotated Bibliographies

Frazier, Billie H. Selected Resources on Sibling Abuse: An Annotated Bibliography for Researchers, Educators and Consumers. 1994. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“This bibliography, begun in July 1993, is a compilation of selected materials on Sibling Abuse, a type of family violence which receives little attention. Although the topic is relatively obscure, the literature review revealed that sibling abuse, or violence between siblings, is quite common. In fact, it has been shown to be even more common than child abuse (by parents) or spouse abuse.”