Representations of sibling relationships in young children's literature

Laurie Kramer, Sonia Noorman, Renee Brockman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Children's conceptions of what sibling relationships can be like may be influenced, in part, by the literature they read. This study examined the degree to which positive and negative dimensions of sibling relationships were portrayed in a sample of children's books (n = 261). We also investigated how mothers and fathers were depicted when responding to sibling conflict. Results indicated that although children's books often represent warmth and involvement between siblings, they rarely described children engaging in conflict management or relational maintenance activities. Parents were predominantly portrayed as responding to children's conflict using controlling methods rather than techniques that might foster negotiation and problem solving. Characters who were middle children are under-represented in children's literature. Results are discussed in terms of how educators can select, use, and adapt books in their efforts to help strengthen children's sibling relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-574
Number of pages20
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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