Me and My Sister by Rose Robbins
A brother and sister spend a lot of their day together – eating meals, doing to school and playing. But life with an autistic sibling is not always easy. While they may like different foods, they finish at the same time. While he may like music and she might like watching the television, it’s best when they both listen together.
This debut picture book by United Kingdom-based author and illustrator Rose Robbins is a confident handling of what can often be a difficult topic to broach, siblings who are differently abled.
However, Me and My Sister is a celebration of siblinghood. It captures the highs and lows of having a brother or sister who is neurodiverse.
It will undoubtedly help siblings of children with disabilities appreciate and understand that their sibling is different, not less. It is also a great way for adults to gently introduce and begin a discussion with younger children about the differences that people can have.
The book also explores empathy. The brother sees his sister in a different light, and understands the way she experiences the world. In turn, we see him learning tolerance and acceptance of his sister.
Robbins was awarded 'Best New Blood' at the D&AD graduate fair in 2012, was runner up in the Carmelite Prize in 2017, and she was selected for the Cheltenham awards for illustration in 2017.
Her illustrations in the book are bright, beautiful and bold. As well as book illustrations, Robbins likes to make sculptures, soft toys, music videos and lino-prints. This diverse love of art is clear to see in her book. The siblings, both animals, are full of character. Their facial expressions are full of emotion and could almost tell the entire story sans words. Her love of lino-prints also comes through the pictures. They utilise bright blocks of colour with small details. Bold black outlines and adds additional details.
Me and My Sister should be a required book in every early childhood centre and primary school. It exudes love and understanding. It is for every family, but will be of immense value especially to those with a differently abled family member.
Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser
Allen & Unwin, RRP $27.99