Beat Sibling Rivalry with a Lollipop and a Read-Aloud

Having siblings isn't always easy. But as your children can discover in Rukhsana Khan's 'Big Red Lollipop,' it's possible for siblings to find peace. The award-winning picture book may inspire your children to see each other more as friends than rivals.

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Rukhsana Kahn Big Red Lollipop

About the Story

Big Red Lollipop is a story about siblings. Rubina, the oldest daughter, is delighted when she finds out that she's been invited to a birthday party. Her little sister Sana begs to go with her, but Rubina wants to go alone. When the girls' mother only allows Rubina to attend if she takes Sana, the older sister reluctantly obliges. One of the party favors the girls receive is a big, red lollipop. While Sana quickly devours hers, Rubina saves hers for the next day. However, Sana finds it and eats it, much to the dismay of her older sister.

A while later, Sana is invited to a birthday party of her own. This time, the girls' youngest sister Maryam wants to go. Just as Rubina did, Sana begs their mother to go alone. Their mother points out that letting Maryam go is only fair. Yet Rubina steps in and convinces their mother to allow Sana to go by herself.

Big Red Lollipop has received widespread acclaim since its publication. It won both the Golden Kite and Charlotte Zolotow awards in 2011 for the best picture book text. It was also featured on lists of best children's books in 2010 by The New York Times and Kirkus.

Easing Sibling Rivalry

Big Red Lollipop depicts the conflict that arises when siblings struggle to handle the jealousy that is familiar to many families. As a parent, there are many steps that can be taken to ease sibling rivalry. As in the story, it's important for parents to recognize when siblings are trying to resolve their own conflicts and reward that behavior. Rubina shows terrific maturity, especially after Sana both tagged along to the first party and ate Rubina's lollipop.

The girls' mother was able to send Sana to the second party alone. That time away from siblings is critical. In addition to trips without siblings, it's helpful to ensure that each child has his or her own space at home and adequate time away from brothers and sisters. They should also have one-on-one time with a parent. Finally, remember that sibling rivalry is a normal part of life and there will be times where you, as a parent, need to just step away and take a breather.

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