Did you know that November is Family Stories month? So grab a book and celebrate with one of your favorite fictional families! If you don’t know any fictional families, how about trying one of the families listed below. Most of these titles are the first of a series (or at least two books) about the characters.
Birdseye, Jeanne. Rosalind, Skye, Jane & Batty Penderwick
These four sisters are best friends, which is a very good thing when they spend the summer together on an estate with only two rabbits and a very interesting boy as company! This modern story has an old-fashioned feel, and you’ll want to be friends with all four sisters. Start with The Penderwicks.
Blume, Judy. Peter and Fudge Hatcher.
Poor Peter! He has to have the most active and imaginative brother in the world. Whether they’re going out to eat or eyeing family pets at home, these brothers will make you laugh out loud! Start with Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.
Cresswell, Helen. The Bagthorpes
Talk about a crazy family! Jack is the only ordinary child, surrounded by talented siblings, a genius cousin, over-achieving parents, eccentric grandparents and one sympathetic uncle. And yet, they all gather for weekly meetings and dinners…even if they do manage to do things like burn the house down. Very humorous and very, very British. Start with Ordinary Jack.
Fitgerald, John. Sweyn, Tom & J.D. Jenkins
Tom is known as “The Great Brain” in Adenville, Utah. That’s not so much because he’s brilliant as that he’s the biggest conman—or con kid—in town. J. D. looks up to his brother, even as he’s caught up in his schemes. Start with The Great Brain.
Langton, Jane. Eleanor, Eddy & Georgie Hall
Eddy and Eleanor start off this series, with their younger step-cousin/adopted sister Georgie joining them in the second book. The Halls live in Concord, Massachusetts, in a huge house, where strange things happen. The siblings bond as they deal with unexpected and magical adventures. Start with either The Diamond in the Window or The Fledgling.
Law, Ingrid. The Beaumont Family
Every member of the Beaumont family is keeping a secret from the world. On the day of their thirteenth birthday, each new teen develops a “savvy”, a special unique power that grows and develops with them. It can be something easy like storing sound in a container, or something big and hard to control like channeling electricity. But whatever power they have, all the Beaumonts work together to protect and help each other. Read Savvy for Mib’s story, or Scumble for her cousin Logan’s.
L’Engle, Madeleine. John, Vicky, Suzy & Rob Austin
With a famous doctor for a father, and a former opera singer for a mother, these thoughtful, intelligent, (and sometimes annoying–to each other) siblings stick up for each other through thick and thin, while enjoying adventures at home and when they journey around the country. Start with Meet the Austins.
L’Engle, Madeleine. Meg, Sandy, Dennys & Charles Wallace Murray
Their father vanished a year ago. Their mother is a famous scientist. Twins Sandy and Dennys share a twin bond, but oldest sister Meg and youngest brother Charles Wallace are the ones who are connected. Start with A Wrinkle in Time. And don’t be surprised if some of the Austins pop up in later books!
Martin, Ann. Abigail, Bainbridge, Callandra, Dagwood, Eberhard, Faustine, Gardenia, Hannah, Ira, & Janthina Rosso
With those names, you think they don’t have a problem? These ten siblings are named by a system their mother invented. They always have someone to play with, but the one thing they don’t have is a pet. When they move to a new home with lots of room, these kids band together to find one and convince their parents to keep it. Start with Ten Kids, No Pets.
Mason, Simon. Will & Lucy Quigley (and Mum & Dad)
These lighthearted (but stubborn) British siblings have their own take on how things should be done, and how they’re going to do it. Mum and Dad even get their own adventures in each title! Start with The Quigleys.
McKay, Hilary. Caddy, Indigo, Rose & Saffy Casson
The Cassons are an eccentric, engaging British family. Their artist parents named their children for colors. Saffron, however, learns at the start of the series that she is actually an adopted cousin. When their grandfather dies and leaves Saffy an angel, she searches for it. Unforgettable characters come alive in often deeply humorous and always absorbing events to be treasured. Start with Saffy’s Angel, but each sibling has their own book.
McKay, Hilary. Ruth, Naomi, Rachel & Phoebe Conroy
The Conroys don’t have a television or pet, or vacations. They do like to read though. When their parents inherit money, they ship the four sisters off to Big Grandma’s house, where lots of chores and horribly long walks await them. At first it seems as though Big Grandma is determined to put a stop to any fun…she won’t even let them read!. But the girls find interesting ways to entertain themselves, and start having adventures and mishaps as usual… Start with The Exiles.
Naylor, Phyllis. The Hatfield Boys & The Malloy Girls
The Hatfields have always been best friends with the Benson boys, who live across the river from their house. But when the Bensons move to Georgia, the Malloys move into their house. Now, instead of boys, there are three sisters living in their best friends’ house. From sinking cakes to floating heads, dead fish to rabid sisters, it’s war! Start with The Boys Start the War/The Girls Get Even.
Ransom, The Walker & the Blackett Families
Boats, pirates, camping and sailing! The Swallows crew are four siblings—John, Susan, Titty and Roger Walker, while the Amazon is piloted by two sisters—Nancy and Peggy Blackett. When the two families meet, adventure is on the horizon! Start with Swallows and Amazons.
Robinson, Barbara. The Horrible Herdmans
Take one family of kids that lie, cheat, curse, steal and generally wreak havoc on the general public, but especially on the other kids at Woodrow K. Wilson Elementary School. Mary and her friends are all afraid of Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie and Gladys Herdman; but as it turns out, the Herdmans have something to share with the whole town. Start with either The Worst Best Christmas Pageant Ever or The Worst Best School Year Ever.
Snyder, Zilpha. David, Janie, Blair & Esther Stanley and Amanda Randall
The Stanley children have met their match in stepsister Amanda. Amanda’s not sure she wants siblings, even though it’s clear that Jeff and Molly are going to be married. It’s up to David to make sure that his younger brother and sisters are ready to face the adventures they’ll be encountering! Start with The Headless Cupid. (And check out our “Old Favorite” entry for another book in this series: The Famous Stanley Kidnapping Case.)
If you have a brother or sister, or a bunch of them, or none at all…these books are a great way to spend an afternoon. And they’re all good read-alouds for families! Most of these titles are also on CD, so they’re great for family car trips.