Bad Sister

by Charise Mericle Harper (Author) Rory Lucey (Illustrator)

Bad Sister
Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade

This middle grade graphic memoir by Charise Mericle Harper, featuring illustrations by Rory Lucey, follows a young girl who undergoes a crisis of conscience, realizing that she is a "bad sister."

Meet Charise. She's energetic, helpful, a model pet owner and full of inventions. But she's also a bad sister. When she goes too far and breaks little brother Daniel's tooth, can she redeem herself? Is an accident really an accident if you could have stopped it? But most importantly... What does it mean to be a good sister?

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Kirkus Reviews

Cathartic proof that childhood provides lessons for a lifetime and that change is possible. 

Horn Book Magazine

Raw emotions of guilt, shame, and jealousy are explored, as young Charise interrogates the power dynamics of big sisterhood and recognizes Daniel's strengths.

Publishers Weekly

The layered and heartfelt vignettes comprising this graphic memoir depict the delights and burdens of older siblinghood, with each section dedicated to a different sisterly superpower. Drawn with blonde bangs, Charise, who has prosopagnosia and sometimes struggles with social cues, leads little brother Daniel on adventures that (along with the fashion, furniture, and cars shown throughout) indicate a pre-helicopter-parent childhood. The two wrestle and tumble, roll an inclusive set of neighborhood kids around in a giant inner tube, and search for treasure in local dumpsters. But Daniel is often the victim of Charise's impulsiveness and power grabs, and she experiences a mix of guilt, envy, and frustration as a result of her actions. When Charise accidentally knocks Daniel's tooth out during a rough game of field hockey, his off-color replacement tooth becomes "proof I was bad." Resolution arrives in a subtle, realistic form, as Charise realizes her "power to lead" and keep Daniel safe. Just as importantly, it becomes clear that her intuitive, gregarious brother has talents of his own. "Daniel's greatest power was unspoken," Charise concludes--"the power of forgiveness." Paired with Lucey's playful Sunday comics-style illustrations, the story takes a resonant dive into the insular world of children, especially siblings. Ages 8-12. Author's agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. Illustrator's agent: Charlie Olsen, Inkwell Management. (July)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 5-8--Harper's graphic novel memoir chronicles her childhood relationship with her younger brother, Daniel. Charise is a bad sister, and she knows it--but she can't seem to help saying hurtful things out of jealousy. Daniel seems to make friends much more easily than Charise, who isn't comfortable talking to strangers, blurts out things she regrets, and finds it hard to recognize people due to face-blindness. She spends a lot of time apologizing and feeling guilty for her actions, especially when their often dangerous games (such as rolling down a hill in a tire) go awry--like the time Daniel ends up needing a replacement tooth after Charise knocks a ball into his mouth. Harper makes it clear that despite the angst, Charise and Daniel have an unbreakable bond, and she deftly conveys the sibling dynamic: One minute the two are squabbling, the next they're secretly finding a way to communicate through the walls after bedtime. Chapters consist of different childhood memories focusing mainly on Charise and Daniel's interactions, along with their parents and neighbors. Clothing sets the time period around the 1970s, and the muted cartoon art evokes the period well. Some readers may identify more with Charise's experiences of awkwardness and attempts to be a responsible big sibling; others will see themselves in little brother Daniel--yet all will feel invested in Charise's struggles and growth. Charise, Daniel, and their parents are white. VERDICT Give to readers who enjoyed Jennifer Holm's Sunnyside Up and Raina Telgemeier's Sisters.--Marissa Lieberman, East Orange P.L., NJ

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Cathartic proof that childhood provides lessons for a lifetime and that change is possible. —Kirkus, starred review

Harper makes it clear that despite the angst, Charise and Daniel have an unbreakable bond, and she deftly conveys the sibling dynamic: One minute the two are squabbling, the next they're secretly finding a way to communicate through the walls after bedtime. —School Library Journal, starred review

Raw emotions of guilt, shame, and jealousy are explored, as young Charise interrogates the power dynamics of big sisterhood and recognizes Daniel's strengths.—Book Horn Magazine, starred review

[...] The story takes a resonant dive into the insular world of children, especially siblings. —Publishers Weekly

Charise Mericle Harper

Charise Mericle Harper is the award-winning author and illustrator of numerous children's books and series, including the Just Grace series, the Fashion Kitty series, and the Next Best Junior Chef series. Harper's signature wit, kid-friendly illustrations, and wholly original style have made her a familiar name with caregivers, educators, and librarians looking for books that encourage imagination and showcase art education. Charise lives with her family and furry pets in Portland, Oregon.

Classification
Non-fiction
ISBN-13
9781250219053
Lexile Measure
-
Guided Reading Level
-
Publisher
First Second
Publication date
September 14, 2021
Series
-
BISAC categories
JNF007120 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Women
JNF062010 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Comics & Graphic Novels | Biography
JNF019070 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Family | Siblings
Library of Congress categories
Behavior
Brothers and sisters
Childhood and youth
Family
Families
Family life
Conduct of life
Cartoons and comics
Comics (Graphic works)
Nonfiction comics
Sibling rivalry
Biographical comics
Harper, Charise Mericle
ALSC Notable Children's Book
Selection 2022

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