Smaller Sister: 3 Ways to Bond With Your Sister This Summer

NOTE: This post is sponsored by Macmillan.

Bonds between sisters are seriously special. A guaranteed lifelong companion who knows you better than anyone makes sister relationships some of the absolute best you’ll ever have. Sure, you might not always get along, but sisterly love will always bring you back together, just like in Smaller Sister, a new graphic novel by Maggie Edkins Willis.

Lucy and Olivia have always been super close. From secret codes and playing with dolls together, growing up close in age means they’ve always done everything together and been each other’s built-in best friend. But now that they’re both in middle school, things are shifting – and Lucy isn’t sure she likes it.

Book cover for Smaller Sister by Maggie Edkins Willis

Maggie Edkins Willis’s Smaller Sister is a debut middle grade graphic novel about body image, confidence, and the everlasting bond of sisterhood.

Lucy’s always looked up to her big sister, Olivia, even though the two are polar opposites. But then, Lucy notices Olivia start to change. She doesn’t want to play with Lucy anymore, she’s unhappy with the way she looks, and she’s refusing to eat her dinner. Finally, Lucy discovers that her sister is not just growing up: Olivia is struggling with an eating disorder.

While her family is focused on her sister’s recovery, Lucy is left alone to navigate school and friendships. And just like her big sister, she begins to shrink.

But with time, work, and a dose of self-love, both sisters begin to heal and let themselves grow. Soon enough, Olivia and Lucy find their way back to each other—because sisters are the one friend you can never ditch.

Smaller Sister
AUTHOR: Maggie Edkins Willis
PUBLISHER: Roaring Brook Press
DATE: June 14, 2022

As the older sister, Olivia starts to face some friendship pressures and self-esteem struggles that Lucy just doesn’t understand, and they begin to drift apart. Lucy is crushed that Olivia is choosing her new friends over her – it seems like all Olivia cares about now is boys and makeup and doesn’t care about spending time together anymore. As Olivia’s personality starts to change, Lucy notices that Olivia is always unhappy with the way she looks and sometimes refuses to eat her dinner. With Olivia in treatment, Lucy feels like she has to navigate a new school, frienemies, and her own growing confidence concerns all by herself, and just like her older sister, Lucy begins to shrink.

Smaller Sister gives a gentle glimpse into body image struggles woven into a sweet, honest, and totally relatable sister story. We loved the illustrations and the way the story shared what it’s like to be the younger sister. Most importantly, we think readers will love the way Lucy finds herself (and her people) and the fun story moments set at theater camp. It’s a perfect pick for summer reading while laid out on a beach blanket, in your bunk at camp, or while soaking up the AC on a hot summer day.

Since we loved this sweet sister story, we’re sharing three fun ways to bond with your sister (or your besties) this summer!

Smaller Sister: 3 Ways to Bond With Your Sister This Summer:

Make Up Your Own Language:

In Smaller Sister, Lucy and Olivia have their own special language that only they understand – and they often write each other “I’m sorry” notes using this secret code after a fight as a reminder that their sisterly love is more important than whatever they were arguing about.

Having a special language that just you and your sister (or your BFF) understand will bring you together in a whole new way. Whether it’s through handwritten notes, texts, or social media comments, you’ll be able to share everything from your deepest secrets to your silliest inside jokes.

Watch a Musical Together:

Inspired by Lucy’s summer at theater camp, we think watching musicals together is a fab way to grow your shared sibling bond.

Here’s how to make it happen:

Panel from the Smaller Sister graphic novel featuring Lucy giving Olivia a hug

Sisters ONLY: Friend hangs are great, but this night is all about sisters. Pick a night that works for both of you to be home together.

Pick Your Flicks & Grab Your Snacks: Select a movie together or make it a double feature so that each of you can pick a musical you want to see most. Don’t forget the popcorn and candy!

Dress It Up (or Down): Decide in advance if you’ll wear themed costumes to match the movie or rock your comfiest set of pj’s and find your favorite spot on the couch.

Make it Your Own: Want to add in some time for karaoke or DIY some decorations for the big night? It’s up to you! Anything you choose to do as sisters is sure to be something you’ll remember forever!

Make a Time Capsule:

The bond between sisters lasts forever, so why not capture the moment and give yourselves something to look back on (and look forward to!)

Grab a sturdy box and fill it with sisterly mementos – ticket stubs from a concert you went to together, a list of your favorite things (fav movie to watch together, fav songs to dance to, etc), lots of pictures, and anything else that represents you. Before you close it up and bury it in a safe place, write a letter to your sister for her to read when you open the box in the future and snap a Polaroid of the two of you to capture this extra special moment!

Decide on a date and time in the future that you’ll dig it up, and put it on your calendars. When the big day arrives, open the time capsule and look back on all the things that meant so much to you when you were younger and how far you’ve come together.

We think Lucy and Olivia would totally love this idea!

Ready for some sisterly bonding? Smaller Sister is now available from Macmillan!

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