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Siblings Grab the Limelight in Young Adult Books

Brothers and sisters play important roles in children's fiction.
 
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    LAS CRUCES, NM, March 24, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- While some young adult books feature protagonists abetted by friends, other books headline relationships between siblings--something experts say parents and kids may want to take into consideration.

"Brothers and sisters play important roles in children's fiction," says L.A. Miller, author of the science-fiction and fantasy YA book series Quests of Shadowind, which includes "Sky Shifter," "The Grounding Stone," and "Veil." "Children can easily learn about and better understand relationships with their siblings through YA stories and characters. Children love learning from other children even if they are fictional."

Parents should take note: According to the Harvard Study of Adult Development, a poor relationship between siblings could be a predictor of depression later in life. The longer siblings can maintain healthy bonds with one another, the better off they might be well into adulthood.

Quests of Shadowind is the story of a group of teens led by a brother and sister who are abducted to an alien world called Shadowind, which is inhabited by ghostly creatures, cyborg animals, and virtual humans--a land where anything is possible, including being downloaded into a cryptic, evil role-playing game. In order to survive, the youths band together as they search for a way back home.

"Stories that feature siblings can be particularly inviting to a large segment of young adult readers because they can relate to the situation," says Mr. Miller. "What's more these books can help to initiate and support healthy communication between brothers and sisters. The books can teach them how to build up their relationships, how to be good friends, and how to be there for each other in good and bad times."

Mr. Miller adds that young adult literature that focuses on siblings can have the bonus of improving relations between parents and their kids.

"When I go on the Internet and go to Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble and type in the words 'teen fiction siblings,' I get close to two thousand books showcasing sibling stories," says Mr. Miller.

Here are some examples of the many books that feature siblings:

* The Hardy Boys series by Franklin W. Dixon (Frank and Joe Hardy)
* The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis (Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie)
* "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott (Beth, Jo, Amy, and Meg March)
* "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Lee Harper (Scout and Jem Finch)
* "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith (Neeley and Francie Nolan)
* The Beyond the Western Sea series by Avi (Maura and Patrick O'Connell)
* "Chasing Vermeer" by Blue Balliett (Petra and Calder)
* The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner (Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny)
* "The Puzzling World of Winston Breen" by Eric Berlin (Winston and Katie Breen)
* "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton (Ponyboy, Sodapop and Darrel "Darry" Curtis)
* The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott (Sophie and Josh Newman)

"Young adult books can be more than entertainment, especially those kids can readily connect with, such as the ones that prominently feature siblings," says Mr. Miller. "Teen and adolescent fiction has the power to confront a lot of issues that are very important to kids and their families. These books can be powerful learning tools that can help young readers to connect and bond with their siblings and enhance their understanding of the rest of the world. There is something very special about these stories."

L.A. Miller has been writing for more than forty years. His backgrounds in science fiction, astronomy, technology, and classic literature inform his work, which has included novels, short stories, and music. He is the owner of Wood n Nails Music and lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with his wife and two dogs. He is the author of the Quests of Shadowind series, which includes "Sky Shifter," "The Grounding Stone," and "Veil."



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