Saira Mir is a physician and author of Muslim Girls Rise, a nonfiction book about nineteen Muslim women of the twenty-first century who have risen above challenges, doubts, and sometimes outright hostility to blaze trails in a wide range of fields. As an OB-GYN, she has helped many families through pregnancy loss. But when her own family suffered pregnancy loss, she could not find a book that would help her support her daughter through her sadness. She wrote Always Sisters to be that book and to help children who have lost a baby sister or brother hurt less.

The story's narrator, Raya, begins by sharing joyful news: "I am going to have a baby sister!" The baby-to-be already has a name: Nura, Arabic for "beautiful light." Raya has big plans for Nura. She will chase her through sprinklers, play dress-up with her, and give her piggy-back rides, barely taking breaks because she delights in Nura's laughter.

This happy anticipation continues, culminating with confidence that "we will be best friends and do everything together" (and maybe even let Raya's little brother join them sometimes). Raya has gone so far as to tell kids at school about Nura. But then her mother goes to a doctor check-up and returns looking sad and telling Raya that the baby won't be coming home.

Illustrator Shahrzad Maydani carries this tale along with gentle watercolors that do justice to the vibrant energy of happiness at the start and the ensuing confusion and sadness. In one picture near the end, we see Nura with her face buried in her knees, red and orange rays of color bursting around her as she wonders, "Is all the love I have for Nura trapped inside?" Her father tells her that if she shares that love with others, it will help her feel better.

The story provides tools that four-to-eight year olds can use to work through their sadness. Raya draws pictures of Nura, talks about her with her parents and her school counselor, and together with her family plants a magnolia tree on the day that would have been Nura's birthday. She continues to speak with Nura in her heart and hears her say in return, "We're always sisters. I love you."

In her author's note, Mir writes, "I hope that by telling our stories and helping others feel less alone, we'll create a world where we can care for heartache better together." She has given that hope a big boost by writing this tender, moving book.