Twins For the Win

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Twins For the Win

Children's Books About Twins

Sometimes we get promoted at work, and sometimes we get promoted in life.  For a long time, I wanted to become promoted to Auntie Liz, so you can imagine my joy when my brother and his wife told me they were expecting.  A few weeks later, the phone call came that it was twins. These babies have safely arrived, which means twice the snuggles, twice the love, and some pretty cute matching outfits. As a child, I always wanted a twin, and that started me thinking. What if I’d sought out books about twins as children? What if my nieces might be interested in books on this topic? Check out these books for double the trouble.  This list includes five picture books, one early reader, and an anthology of poetry,

Picture Books

The Twins’ Blanket by Hyewon Yum
The twins have to share everything, including a bed.  On that bed is a blanket that the girls have shared ever since they were born.  Now that they’re five years old, it’s time for separate beds, but a fight immediately breaks out: who will get the blanket?  Luckily, mom comes up with the perfect solution: each girl gets to pick out fabric for a new blanket, with a little piece of the old one attached.  While the twins may struggle with sharing for years to come, they’ll each have something that always connects them.

The Yin-Yang Sisters and the Dragon Frightful by Nancy Tupper Ling
Everyone in the village knows that the dragon Frightful, whose long naps and snoring habits are disruptful to everyone, is mean, scary, and not to be messed with.  When Frightful decides to block a bridge and make traveling to the market an arduous task, the people of Woo know that something must be done. Luckily, as soon as twins Wei and Mei are born, their auntie knows that their opposite personalities will be the key to solving the dragon problem.  As they grow up, Mei prefers quiet ventures that involve food and books, while Wei isn’t afraid of even the highest trees. In their first attempts, no matter how much time Wei spends physically threatening the dragon, Mei must use her brains to rescue her sister. When twins finally combine their bravery and wit, they learn that snacks and smarts are key to making new friends.

Sidney, Stella, and the Moon by Emma Yarlett
Every set of twins has a different set of troubles, and even though they love each other, Sidney and Stella hate sharing.  One evening, a small fight causes a big problem: the bouncy ball they’ve been fighting over rockets into the sky and knocks the moon right out of place.  Even though no one knows who did it, the twins wake up to find that everyone has noticed the moon’s absence. When they decide to make it right, they soon learn that simply finding a replacement moon won’t quite be enough.

Twindergarten by Nikki Ehrlich
Twins and best friends Zoe and Dax do nearly everything together, and they can’t wait to start kindergarten.  As the day comes closer and the two learn that they are in separate classrooms, Dax is nervous, and Zoe does everything she can to comfort him.   When they get to their separate classrooms, Zoe is reluctant to part ways, but the two quickly learn that new friends await. Recess brings them back together and though Zoe and Dax part ways again, Dax slips his sister a note reminding her that he’s always close by.

My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete
Callie and Charlie have been together since before they were born, but gender isn’t the only difference between them: Charlie has autism. Like anyone else, Charlie likes to spend his days showing off his collections, making music, memorizing facts and sometimes getting in trouble. Charlie seldom says “I love you,” but he shares, and helps his sister if she accidentally hurts herself.  However he shows it, there’s no denying how much Charlie loves his sister.

Early Readers

Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same! By Grace Lin
Ling and Ting look and dress alike, but that’s about all they have in common, despite what everyone thinks.  This early reader, which is divided into short chapters, starts with Ting getting a botched haircut because she just can’t sit still.  Each chapter outlines how Ling and Ting are different: the way they make dumplings isn’t the same, they choose different library books, and unlike her sister, Ling struggles to use chopsticks. Even in a story that Ting makes up, a fictitious king gets the girls confused, yet the two girls ultimately know that they are individuals.

Poetry

Take Two!  A Celebration of Twins by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen
Books about twins come in multiple formats, including poetry.  This anthology, which is divided into four sections, starts with conception, and wraps up with a list of famous twins, ranging from real people to places named after twins.  The poems are written from a variety of perspectives: a mother just finding out she’s having twins, poems written from one twin to another, some with the voices of both twins, and some written in second person to the parents. On the bottom of several pages,  brief but true facts about twins are listed.

Graphic Novels

Compass South by Hope Larson
This book features three sets of twins on adventures. Set in New York City in 1860, redheaded twins Alex and Cleo barely manage to find food and money, but at least they have each other.  They also have their inheritance, a compass and a knife that they have been told to never give up. What they don’t have is their mother, who died shortly after they were born, or their father, who left seven months ago for work and hasn’t come back.  When work with a gang they’ve joined goes wrong, the two are arrested, and must out the gang and leave New York in order to remain together. Meanwhile, the father of redheaded twins Jeremiah and Samuel Kimball doesn’t know where his children are, and will give whoever finds them $200.  Unfortunately, redheaded twin brothers Silas and Edwin are in a similar situation, and have the same idea. When the four meet up and a fight breaks out, both pairs end up on ships to San Francisco: Edwin and Alex going around the Cape Horn, and Silas and Cleo through Panama. As they travel, the four learn that the compass and the knife are very valuable, and that there are people who would do anything to have them. 

Novels

The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu
Iris and Lark may look identical, but they are two very different people.  While Lark was sickly as a young child, Iris was healthy. Iris has always been practical, Lark’s head is immersed in the fantastical.  Lark is quiet and targeted by a bully, and Iris is more than happy to speak up for her. Regardless, the girls are always together, and are unhappy when their parents decide to not only have them placed in separate fifth grade classes but in separate extracurricular activities.  Lark is uncomfortable with her class assignments. Meanwhile, Iris spends her school days being overwhelmed with worry for her sister, and her afternoons at Camp Awesome, a group to help empower girls, where Iris struggles to find her place. As the school year continues and the twins’ parents remain firm in their decision, Iris finds solace in a strange new antique shop called Treasure Hunters, while some of Lark’s possessions begin to go missing. With a hint of magic and surprising twists, Iris must confront who she really is without coming undone.

The Trouble with Twins by Kathryn Siebel
In The Trouble With Twins, a novel filled with dark humor, twins Arabella and Henrietta are mostly alike, but they look different.  From the first day of their lives, Arbella is considered better looking, something Henrietta isn’t happy with. When Henrietta takes matters into her own hands and gives Arabella an unfortunate haircut, the two are separated, but they aren’t just sent to separate rooms.  The girls’ parents send Henrietta to live with her great aunt Priscilla, who dresses in all black and regularly serves fish head stew. When Arabella senses that something is off, the twins try to reunite, and learn more about each other and themselves along the way.