Title of Book: My Sister, Alicia May
Author: Nancy Tupper Ling
Illustrator: Shennen Bersani
Publisher: Pleasant St. Press
Audience: Ages 5 – 7
Summary: My Sister Alicia May is a story journeying through the life of a little girl with Down syndrome. This is an exceptional story told by Alicia’s sister’s explaining what it is like to have a sibling with a disability. This is a story of sibling love, challenges, laughter and triumph.
Literary elements at work in the story: The story is told from the perspective of Alicia’s sister- Rachel, who Alicia calls, “Rae Rae.” Rachel tells the story of Alicia’s birth, surgeries, morning greetings, her favorite pastimes, visits with neighbors, trips to the zoo and disturbing school bus rides home. The story expresses the love, joys and frustrations of having a sibling with a disability. The illustrations are very soft, colorful, inviting to the reader and captivating visually as the story is to read.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/abilities/disabilities/economic: The story embraces the challenges children with disabilities may face, how the sibling is affected and how their love moves them through the challenges. The story focuses on a little girl with Down syndrome, but this story would be applicable to any child with a disability, their siblings, teachers, family and friends.
Theological Conversation Partners: John 3:16; Matthew 22:37-40; 1 Corinthians 13:1-7
This story points to the love shared between siblings regardless of differences and challenges. God established God’s covenant in love with us when he gave his only Son. God loved us so much that God gave Christ to die for our sins and by faith in Him we have eternal life. This is the example of love. Jesus then instructs us to love God, then one another as ourselves. We must fill our hearts with love so that we can approach life with a loving heart which will produce patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control and forgiveness in all situations.
Faith Talk Questions:
- What did Alicia do for Rachel that showed she loved her?
- What did Rachel do for Alicia that showed she loved her?
- What are some challenges Rachel faces being Alicia’s sister?
- What are some challenges Alicia faces being Rachel’s sister?
- How do they overcome these challenges?
- How does their love for one another assist them in overcoming challenges?
- What challenges do you face in your relationships?
- How can you express love through these challenges?
- What does scripture teach us in how we are to love one another?
- How can you love others by being patient, kind, and gentle in your approach?
- Name one change you will make in your life to share the love of Christ?
This review was written by Union Presbyterian Seminary student Phanta Landsden.