Sibling Rivalry In Fiction

Books Featuring Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry is an important topic for a parenting blog. We’ve covered it here before (and no doubt will again) under the guise of nonfiction from the point of view of psychological analysis of the phenomenon and how to deal with it…aka how to make your kids get along better.

In today’s guest post by author Ardyth DeBruyn, she talks about exploring sibling rivalry from another angle – in fiction, specifically in her middle-grade novel Chosen Sister.

Since the plot of the book deals with swords, sorcery, magic, and wizards, it fits right in with current trends and tastes in choices for young readers. Reading and discussing a book like this with your kids is a great way to open up dialogue with them on this subject. Sometimes it is easier to discuss these topics first in a setting that relates to fictional characters and then apply the lessons learned to real life.

Here is Ardyth’s explanation of what inspired her to write the book:


Growing up in a large family, I’ve seen a lot of sibling dynamics. It can be hard when a younger brother or sister gets a special privilege, while older children are overlooked, and that ort of dynamic got me thinking about classic “chosen one” stories. Often it’s the youngest child who gets chosen, leaving the older siblings jealous and often downright villainous in fairy tales. But I’ve always felt that’s a simplistic picture of things.

As the oldest child I was incredibly protective of my younger brothers and sisters as well. While I might be angry or jealous with them, I certainly wouldn’t let anyone else mistreat them. That seems even more normal of a reaction for an older sister to have, and that’s what led me to develop the main characters in my first novel, “Chosen Sister.”

When Reina’s little brother is announced as the Child Warrior and chosen to go on a dangerous quest, I wanted to explore both her feelings of jealousy at being looked over and her feelings of being protective. I wanted to show a strong and healthy brother and sister relationship that really took a deeper look for child readers on what it means to be an older sister. Using the classic fairy-tale type set-up, I traced their journey not from the point of view of the hero, but that of his sister and her competing feelings and her inner journey at figuring out both herself and how she felt about her brother.

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