Inside: Big brother books and big sister books are essential when you have one (or more) children at home and a new baby on the way. This list of books about becoming a big sibling will help you prepare your kids for the arrival of a your new bundle of joy. Check out the stories below!
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New baby must-haves? Big brother books and big sister books for older siblings!
There’s nothing quite like learning you’re pregnant for the first time. I remember those first few weeks vividly, feeling like my heart would float right out of my body, my cheeks would freeze in place and the goofy smile plastered across my face would be stuck there for all eternity. I experienced the highest of highs and felt giddy to the point of euphoria — all while battling the most bone-crushing exhaustion I’d ever experienced before.
Fatigue, nausea and hot-flashes aside, would I ever feel this jubilation again?
Of course I would.
I experienced it again when my baby boy was actually born — and then again when I learned, on my son’s first birthday, that I was pregnant with a second child.
This time, however, my excitement to be pregnant was tempered by a small, nagging concern: my big one would only be 21 months old when his little brother was due to arrive. How on earth would he respond to a new baby in our home?
Books depicting big brothers and big sisters are instrumental in preparing kids for a new baby!
Once I was safely in my second trimester, I knew I had to start preparing baby number one for baby number two. And, of course, I turned to the thing I knew best: stories.
There are so many reasons for using books to prepare a child for his new brother or sister, and I quickly found that reading stories about babies, big brothers and big sisters organically introduced this concept to my son.
It would be impossible for me to say that my then one-year-old took everything in and gained instrumental knowledge from these stories. But I do believe that being able to point to a mother’s round belly in a picture book — and then pointing to my own round tummy, all while repeating the word “baby” — helped significantly. Same with repeating the words “big” and “brother” over and over again, with illustrations to emphasize these concepts. Simply put, reading stories about a child becoming a big sibling helped us help our son recognize he would soon have an exciting new role in the house.
RELATED: Looking for more books that celebrate the ones we love? Check out these incredible children’s books about family!
Though my son was too little to ask much in the way of questions, both big brother books and big sister books provide kids with safe spaces in which to inquire about the upcoming baby, how the infant will affect their family, and whether there is enough room for everyone in the home. These books also give children a story to relate to, characters to empathize with, and experiences to learn from.
The best part?
When your child feels comfortable with — and excited about — his upcoming role as a big sibling, you can let go of your anxiety and keep on keeping on with that floating heart and giddy smile.
It’s a win-win!
Big Brother Books & Big Sister Books: Preparing for Baby
Here are some essential big brother and big sister books that are perfect to have on hand, no matter the gender of the child already in your home. From learning how a baby grows to teaching children how to care for a new baby to exploring the frustrations big brothers and big sisters often feel when an infant invades their home, these books are all winners!
Nine Months: Before a Baby is Born, by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Jason Chin: This is a lyrical, beautiful story about a family of three waiting for baby girl to arrive. The left side of each spread details how the baby grows in mommy’s tummy, and the right side depicts the family preparing for baby. The seasons change as the fetus grows, and as the baby gets bigger, the left panels begin to push onto the right ones, beautifully building the quiet anticipation as the three await their new bundle of joy. Even better? The detailed back matter is fabulously kid friendly, helping you explain to your child what really happens during the nine months of pregnancy. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
The New Small Person, by Lauren Child: Elmore Green is the center of his parents’ world, but when the baby arrives, Elmore wishes this new small person could go back to where he came from. What follows is a pitch perfect story of Elmore’s emotional transformation as a big brother, from struggling to find his place in the family to feelings of jealousy, anger and even indifference to falling hard for his new sibling. Elmore works through these emotions in such a relatable way that even young kids will be able to identify with his challenges. And the pay off — the way in which Elmore’s little brother comes to his rescue, which becomes the catalyst to Elmore’s gradual acceptance of his younger sibling — is sweet and emotionally resonant without being saccharine. This one is a must! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
The New Baby, by Mercer Mayer: In this classic series, Little Critter has a brand new baby sister. He’s so excited! Except, when he reads to the baby, she cries… and when he makes his funniest faces at the baby, she cries even more! So what can he do with the baby? In this sweet and simple book, toddlers and young kids will be able to relate to what happens when a new bundle of joy joins the house! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Big Brother Daniel, by Angela C. Santomero and illustrated by Jason Fruchter: “You can be a big helper, in your family!” Not gonna lie – Daniel Tiger is one of the best shows to happen to our family. He teaches compassion, patience, how to express feelings and, in this fabulous book, how you can be a big helper to mom and dad when they come home with a new baby. We love everything about Daniel, and these are the only books based on television shows I highly recommend! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
You Were the First, by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin: This sweet, simple story reminds your oldest child that no matter how many babies arrive after him, he will always be the first. And the “firsts” you experienced with that child — from first smiles to first giggles to first steps and all the momentous milestones in between, were momentous for mom and dad as new parents. Sometimes, this is just the reminder a new big brother or big sister needs to remember that he has a special and important place in the house too, even upon a baby’s arrival. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Snuggle the Baby, by Sara Gillingham: I love the way this interactive book provides a road map for young kids, teaching them how to care for their new babies! From swaddling to shushing, tickling to tucking in, this book’s instructional text and hands-on nature helps big siblings learn the best ways to care for newborns — and to be big helpers in the family. Brilliant! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
King Baby, by Kate Beaton: Life with a newborn isn’t always easy. In fact, with days revolving around a new baby’s demands, it can seem like the little bundle of joy is more akin to dictator than darling. Sure, babies love cooing and kisses, but sometimes, the cries, whines and screams can run a family ragged! With humor and charm, this is a delightfully fun read for families expecting a new baby! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Poor Louie, by Tony Fucile: Louie the pup lives a pretty perfect life. But suddenly, he notices that mom’s belly is getting bigger — and rounder. And then? Lots of new stuff starts coming to the house — stuff like two cribs, two hiking pouches, and even a double stroller! Louie thinks his life is over. But then he meets his baby brother, and he realizes that his parents have plenty of love for everyone. An adorable, comical read that children just love! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Babies Ruin Everything, by Matthew Swanson and illustrated by Bobbi Behr: Did you hear? Babies ruin everything! After all, they can’t stand up, they drool over everything, and they don’t even like birthday parties. It’s super frustrating to one little girl — until she realizes that maybe she is just a small part of the problem. If only she opens her heart a bit, maybe she‘ll become one awesome big sis — and maybe the baby is perfect just the way he is. A fun and empowering book for new big brothers and sisters!
Big Sister Books!
I’m a Big Sister, by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Rosalinda Kightley: “Someone new is at our house. Do you know who it is?” Perfect for your very young children, this is a simple primer for a big sister who is still very little herself. While it’s not easy to relinquish the only child role, this book, together with it’s big brother companion below, is terrific for conveying to toddlers and young kids that they have an exciting new role ahead when they welcome an infant into their home — helping parents with the new baby! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Hello in There, by Jo Witek and illustrated by Christine Rousey: I don’t know what it is about this book, but it makes me cry every time I see it. This dynamic author/illustrator duo can do no wrong in my eyes, and I simply adore every book they create. This tender story highlights the magic of waiting for a new baby, with a little girl talking to her mother’s belly and describing to her future brother or sister all the joyful things they will get to do together. Through whimsical illustrations and text that conveys the sweet girl’s exuberance, this one is a joy for all future big sisters! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Mama’s Belly, by Kate Hosford and illustrated by Abigail Halpin: In this stunningly illustrated book, a young girl anticipates the arrival of her baby sister. She asks tons of questions (naturally!), helps Mama and Dad with important tasks to prepare for baby’s arrival, and even draws Mama pictures and gives her lots of hugs and kisses when Mama feels super tired. Gently exploring what will happen when the baby arrives and conveying that there is enough love for everyone in the family, this calming, beautiful book is always a winner. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Little Miss Big Sis, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Peter H. Reynolds: One small family has great big news: Little Miss is becoming a big sis! But when the baby arrives, the mystified big sibling wonders, “what now?” From watching the baby sleep, drool and fuss to helping the baby eat, clap and crawl, this adorable read takes children on the journey one big sis faces as she welcomes a new baby to the family, a journey that doesn’t shy away from exploring frustration as well as joy. Anything by Amy Krouse Rosenthal turns to gold! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Little Big Girl, by Claire Keane: It’s tough to be a little girl in a big world. But when Matisse’s baby brother arrives, she learns that even though she may be small, she’s much bigger than her brother, and her role as big sister is super important. After all, who else can teach her brother the ropes and show him the world better than his big sis? With its vintage feel, this story has warmth and a classic feel that will cause your family to reach for it over and over again. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
I Used to Be Famous, by Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff: Kiely has no doubt that she is unbelievably famous. Why? Because the adoring paparazzi (aka her family!) have always followed her wherever she goes! But when her little sister arrives on the scene, Kylie has to figure out how to get back into the spotlight. Does that mean she’s got to make room for the new baby on stage? This one makes us laugh, and if read together with the first book in this darling duo, I am Famous, your family will be in for a treat! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Big Brother Books!
I’m a Big Brother, by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Rosalinda Kightley: “Someone new is at our house. Do you know who it is?” This book is virtually identical to its companion, I’m a Big Sister (above), simply with a big brother protagonist rather than a big sister. Again, this simple primer about a big brother who is still pretty little himself is perfect for your youngest kids. It’s a sweet book that describes the exciting role a new big sibling gets to take on — helping parents with the family’s newest bundle of joy! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Shh! My Brother’s Napping, by Ruth Ohi: This book was a godsend for us when we introduced baby number two into our family — I fell in love with it the second I pulled it off the shelf! Getting a new baby seems fun and all, but what’s with all of these naps?! In this story, the adorable narrator keeps telling readers to shhhhh! because, of course, his new brother is sleeping. But those pots are just begging to be banged, and those blocks are just waiting to be made into a tower. Will big bro wake the sleeping baby? And what happens when the tables are turned? One of our favorites for new big brothers!
Just Like My Brother, by Gianna Marino: Baby giraffe adores her big brother — so much so that she wants to be just like him. During a game of hide and seek, she makes it clear how much she adores big bro because he is tall and fast and so much braver than her. But with the help of the animals the baby encounters, she realizes she is brave and fast and tall too, and she has a big brother that will always make sure she’s safe. We simply love this one — it’s perfect for new big brothers who are excited to learn what it might be like to have an adoring little sibling! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
What Brothers Do Best, by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Lynn Messinger: Brothers can do so many amazing things! From pushing each other on swings, to going to the library to playing a game of tag, there is no limit to the fun two little boys can have. But what do brothers do best? The answer is simple — they give you lots and lots of love. Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!
Olive Marshmallow, by Katie Saunders: Mommy’s belly is getting bigger. And rounder. Something really strange is happening, and when mommy eventually show’s Archie pictures of the baby growing in her tummy, Archie is pretty convinced it’s an alien. But it’s not an alien, of course. It’s a little sister! Their house quickly turns various shades of pink, and when the new baby arrives, Archie thinks she looks just like a marshmallow. Will life in Archie’s house ever be the same again?
Peter’s Chair, by Ezra Jack Keats: Peter has a new baby sister, and he suddenly discovers that all of his old things are no longer his, but the baby’s instead. To make matters worse, his old crib was painted pink, and his cradle too! Next to be painted is Peter’s favorite blue chair, and Peter decides he simply won’t stand for it. He decides to run away instead — and he brings his chair with him. But when he actually tries to sit in his chair, he realizes he no longer fits! And this may be just the fiasco he needed to change his perspective. A perfect tale of sibling rivalry that is a must for every bookshelf! Support independent bookstores and get the book on Bookshop.org right here!