The Kids Are All Right

Sisters, Kittens, And More!

Happy Sunday, kidlit friends! It’s Margaret again covering for Karina. My oldest sister is visiting from Georgia for Labor Day weekend, so I thought I would recommend some children’s books about sisters. I’m writing this from the future, and I can’t wait to see her! I hope everyone else has some fun Labor Day plans as well, if you celebrate it.

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Bookish Goods

Cool Kids Read Books Digital Download by Arts Print Factory

COOL Kids Read Books Digital Download by ArtPrintsFactory

Where’s the lie? This digital download is affordable and would be great in school classrooms, libraries, and reading nooks. $5

New Releases

Cover of The Secret of the Dragon Gems by LaRocca

The Secret of the Dragon Gems by Rajani LaRocca and Chris Baron (middle-grade)

This is a super fun middle-grade fantasy novel. On the last night of summer camp, 11-year-olds Tripti Kapoor and Sam Cohen follow two shooting stars where they’ve fallen in a creek. They name the rocks after characters in their favorite fantasy series —The Dragon Gems — and take the rocks home. Soon they realize these rocks are anything but normal. They move, their temperature changes, and they seem to be trying to communicate! The two share their discoveries — as well as news of their families and cultural traditions, Tripti is Indian American and Sam is Jewish — via emails, texts, video chats, and more.

Cover of The Scariest Kitten in the World by Messner

The Scariest Kitten in the World by Kate Messner, illustrated by MacKenzie Haley (picture book)

In this hilarious picture book, an adorable white kitten attempts to scare the reader. Using the second person (“You don’t look scared”), the kitten leads the reader through a not-so-scary haunted house to meet their not-so-scary friends, all while trying to convince the reader that everything is terrifying, really, truly. It’s a Halloween read-aloud that’s going to get big belly laughs.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Since I get to see my sisters this long weekend, I thought I would share four children’s books with sisters!

Cover of The Brand New Never Used Crayons by Hatch

The Brand-New, Never-Used, Perfect Crayons by Leanne Hatch (picture book)

Violet loves her brand-new box of crayons. Each crayon tip is so perfect and each color so bright! She’s excited to use the crayons and imagines many colorful scenes she could create. However, if she uses the crayons, they will no longer be perfect! She can’t seem to make herself use them. Then one day her younger sister takes the crayons and draws her sister a picture. Instead of being happy, Violet is very upset about her sister using her crayons. I had almost this exact scenario play out with one of my sisters and a sewing kit she had. It did not work out so well; it was the first time I was grounded, lol.

Cover of Lulu and Zoey by Finison

Lulu and Zoey by Carrie Finison, illustrated by Bea Jackson (picture book)

Speaking of sibling conflict, sometimes Lulu and Zoey get along, and just as often they don’t. Fights break out about sharing and having alone time, and sometimes these fights even turn physical. But they also often have a lot of fun together, and their creativity can shine together, too. This rhyming picture book provides a slice-of-life glimpse into the life of these two sisters.

Cover of It's Time for Berries by Mearns

It’s Time for Berries! by Ceporah Mearns and Jeremy Debicki, illustrated by Tindur Peturs (picture book)

Sisters Siasi and Siloah love spending time with their ningiuq, the Inuktitut word for grandmother. They especially love picking berries with her. At the end of every summer, the trio heads out to pick berries, and berry picking continues as the season changes. When the berries are picked, they make delicious treats. This is a sweet intergenerational picture book that releases on Tuesday.

Cover of Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same by Lin

Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin (Level 3 reader)

Ling and Ting are my favorite sisters from children’s lit. There are four Ling & Ting readers, and while they can be read in any order, Not Exactly the Same is the best place to start. Though they’re twins, Ling and Ting are not exactly the same, as the six interconnected stories in this will show. Despite their differences, they love being together, and they love being almost the same. These readers are modern classics. If you haven’t read them yet, definitely check them out!

Margaret Kingsbury with her two sisters to her left

People always tell my sisters and I that they’re surprised we’re sisters. While we do favor each other somewhat in looks, our personalities and interests are very disparate. This picture was taken 12+ years ago at my niece’s graduation, but I feel like it showcases our different personalities. From left to right, my sister Leasa killing it in a very fancy outfit and full makeup and accessories, my sister Katherine in the middle as comfy as possible in a t-shirt and, if I’m remembering correctly, khaki shorts, and me on the right in a thrifted dress I bought in a dollar bin at a used clothing store. It unfortunately no longer fits.

If you’d like to read more of my kidlit reviews, I’m on Instagram @BabyLibrarians, Twitter @AReaderlyMom, and blog irregularly at Baby Librarians. You can also read my Book Riot posts. If you’d like to drop me a line, my email is

All the best,

Margaret Kingsbury