Girl Power: The Sisters 8

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Dec 19, 2014 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

As a mom, I know it's hard to find great books about girl power for young women to read (you may recall the recent firestorm over the latest Barbie/engineering book. Enough said.). So when I find great ones, I am elated. Enter a wonderful (wonderful!) series of books called The Sisters 8, penned by Lauren Baratz-Logsted with her husband Greg Logsted and daughter Jackie Logsted. They are interesting books about 8 sisters (you guessed that, right?!) and how they learn to thrive without their missing parents (spoiler: don't worry!), as well as learn their own magical powers. In each book, there's a mystery, challenges, inspiration, a robot/refrigerator love story, friends, enemies, and girl power.

 

The Sisters 8

 

What I love about these books are not only the interesting characters and their very real ways of interacting with each other, and the beautifully creative illustrations, but that each sister is special in her own way. I think many young girls today feel as if they aren't special, or don't matter. They do, very much so. This book series is an excellent way to share that each person is unique, important, and interesting.

The books also introduce important life lessons to young readers, including how to run a household (finances), how to feed a family of eight (not as easy as kids might think), and daily aspects of survival (groceries! school! cleaning!). While these topics might seem tedious or boring to kids in a regular discussion of them (well, to adults, too), the books weave these challenges into interesting stories - so much so that your kids will start learning, thinking, and asking questions. Our daughter, after reading book 1 together, noted that kids have no idea how much goes on in daily life. Reading these books made her more aware of the workings of a household, and how working together makes everything run more smoothly.

 

illustration from The Sisters 8

 

I think this series is an excellent read for girls, to learn about being proud of who you are and what you can do, to learn about working together toward common goals, to honor the uniqueness of each person, and for magic and fun (because, really, life is all about that, isn't it?). Highly recommended!

Sensing a tale in the making, I contacted Lauren to find out more about these books, inspiration, writing together as a family, and more. Here's what she had to say...

 

Authors of The Sisters 8: Lauren Baratz-Logstead with her husband Greg Logsted and daughter Jackie Logstead

 

Please tell us about your book series, The Sisters 8...

Thanks for asking! The Sisters 8 is a nine-book series for kids ages 6-10, although older kids, teachers, librarians, parents and even grandparents enjoy the books too, if the emails I receive daily is anything to go by. The Eights, as they are known, are octuplet girls. In Book 1: Annie's Adventures, their mom goes to the kitchen to get eggnog, their father goes outside to get wood for the fire...and neither return. The Eights then discover a note informing them that they'll only find out what happened to their parents after each girl has discovered her power and earned a gift. Over the course of the series, as these things happen, the Eights must learn to run a household while keeping the outside world from realizing that eight little girls are living home alone.

 

What inspired you and your family to write these books?

We were stranded by a snowstorm in Crested Butte, Colorado, in December 2006. We'd been staying with friends who have no kids and no TV. My daughter was six at the time. She'd always been proud of my career as a writer, but since up to that point I'd only written for adults and teens, she'd never read any of my books. Needing something fresh to entertain ourselves with, I asked her what she'd like in a story for someone her age.

Her: A book about sisters.
 
Me: How many?
 
Her: Eight.

Me: What ages?
 
Her: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Me: What if we made them octuplets instead?

Before we knew it, we were brainstorming the concept for the entire series, with my husband providing input as well. It was just to entertain ourselves, but when we finally made it back home to Connecticut, the idea wouldn't leave me alone and so we began to actually write it.

 

I love the illustrations - can you please tell us about the artist?

Her name is Lisa K. Weber. I've actually never met her - she was selected by the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - but I think the work she does is absolutely amazing. You can find out more about her and see more of her gorgeous work here: http://www.lisakweber.com/

 

How did you create such VERY different characters for each sister?

To have eight characters of the same gender and age stand out from one another, you really need to give them distinctive voices. To me, dialogue is like fingerprints - unique to the individual. So in crafting each character, we did our best to give them such distinctive attitudes and voices so that even if a reader doesn't see the dialogue tag they'll still know who's talking just by virtue of what is being said.

 

The Sisters 8

 

What's up next for you?

I have two new novels for adults coming out in 2015 - Falling for Prince Charles and The Sisters Club - and a new YA novel in the fall called Red Girl, Blue Boy which is a politics-themed romantic comedy.

 

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I'm just happy to be here! Every day I get emails from kids who love The Sisters 8. It's still amazing to me, to think that something that started out just as a way to keep my family entertained has turned out to mean so much to so many readers. Thanks for having me!

 

At The Sisters 8 website, you can find crafts for readers, printable paper dolls, quizzes, book information, and more:

http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/features/sisters8/

 

 

 

 

Note: We received 2 review copies of The Sisters 8 from the author and publisher - thank you!