Real Sisters


24 pages
ISBN 0-921556-42-X
DDC jC813'.54





Illustrations by Bo-Kim Louie
Reviewed by Deborah Dowson

Deborah Dowson is a children’s librarian in Pickering, Ontario.


Seven-year-old Claire grapples with hurt feelings after being teased at
school about the fact that her sister’s skin color is not the same as
hers, and that therefore they are not “real sisters.” Claire
explains that she is adopted, but the classmates continue to taunt her.
Back at home, Claire takes time to think about the question of what
makes a real sister. The answer comes to her in memories of simple
everyday incidents where her sister responded to her in an understanding
and supporting way. Each time Claire thinks of an example of her
sister’s behavior, she concludes with the refrain “Just like a real
sister.” The touching resolution comes when the sister finds out about
what happened at school and in her joking but sincere way convinces
Claire that she is her “real sister.”

The book demonstrates that a thoughtful and loving response to cruelty
can be healing and empowering. There is no explicit moralizing about the
harsh treatment Claire receives; rather, the focus is on how Claire
finds a source of strength within herself that enables her to transform
hurt feelings into feelings of affirmation. Recommended.


Wright, Susan., “Real Sisters,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 16, 2024,