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WHAT TO READ: Celebrating Brothers, with Books

Brothers can be supportive, challenging, companionable, competitive. National Brother’s Day on May 24 offers a chance to honor that relationship and explore its complexity in books.

Tots – age 7

The Brother Book

The Brother Book

By Todd Parr

Little, Brown, 2018, $13.99

Brothers of different ages and sizes dance, yell, cry and hang out in this vibrant bestseller by author/illustrator Todd Parr. As the text points out, “there are all kinds of brothers” – big, little, quiet, wild. “Sometimes they hug you, and sometimes they bug you,” but brothers are “a special part of your family.” This playful, affirming book invites readers to put their own unique spin on it by placing a photo or drawing of their own brother in the designated large frame on the final page.

Charlie and Mouse Lost and Found

Charlie and Mouse Lost and Found

By Laurel Snyder

Illustrated by Emily Hughes

Chronicle, 2021, $14.99

As with the other titles in the Theodore Geisel Award-winning Charlie & Mouse series, this fifth early chapter book follows a kind older boy, Charlie, and his inquisitive young brother, Mouse, through daily routines and small adventures familiar to many youngsters aged 6 to 8 years. In four short chapters full of gentle humor, they lose and find Mouse’s special blanket, a large dog named Silly and a lonely puppy. Only one of these things was ever really lost. Through her art, Emily Hughes captures the shifting emotions and dynamics of this engaging duo.

Preteens

 

The Season of Styx Malone

The Season of Styx Malone

By Kekla Magoon

Wendy Lamb Books, 2018, $16.99

As the first-person narrator of this Coretta Scott King Honor book, Caleb Franklin unspools a tale of the charismatic, 16-year-old Styx Malone and his impact on their boring town of Sutton, Indiana. Caleb yearns to venture into the world beyond Sutton, to lead an extraordinary life, and he senses a kindred spirit in Styx. But Caleb’s alignment with the newcomer creates friction with his staid older brother Bobby Gene. Styx harbors secrets, though, and Caleb and Bobby Gene soon become enmeshed in his dreams and schemes. So vividly does acclaimed author Kekla Magoon render her characters that readers will think of them long after they’ve finished this funny, big-hearted novel.

Teens

I’ll Give You the Sun

I’ll Give You the Sun

By Jandy Nelson

Dial, 2014, $17.99

Winner of the Printz Medal and a Stonewall Honor, this novel depicts the nuanced and evolving relationship between a brother – dreamy, artistic Noah – and his daredevil sister, Jude. The story begins from Noah’s point of view, with the twins incredibly close, and then switches midway to Jude’s, three years later. At this point, their connection is tenuous, fraught. Clearly something has happened during those in-between years – but what? And how might their bond be mended? Jandy Nelson crafts distinct first-person voices and personalities for her two main characters and brings them and their world compellingly alive on the page.