Books to help kids with the idea of a new sibling

Posted on May 16, 2017 at 6:00 am

By Melanie Boerner

After six years with our only child, my husband and I are expecting another in August. My son approached me the other day and asked, “Are you going to love the baby and stop loving me?” This, of course, broke my heart and had me, already a ball of hormones, in tears.

I quickly calmed his fears and then went to work finding a plethora of reading material that would help him understand what to expect when this new human being enters our lives.

There are so many books to choose from! Did I want him to see animal siblings with a silly storyline or something serious that showed the true nature of a new baby (stinky diapers, lots of crying, and the baby doing a whole lot of nothing)? I decided to bring a mix of stories home and see what questions he asked.


You Were the First, by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin

This one made me cry, but in a good way! This book shows your first born just how special they are, by being the first to cry and smile, crawl, and make two people parents. The heartfelt text explains that one day there may be a second, or a third child, but that they will always be the first.

How to Be a Baby, by Me the Big Sister, by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Sue Heap

Big Sister has written a handbook for her new sibling with some very helpful (and humorous) advice on how to be a baby. Read this to your older child who is expecting a sibling, or have them read it to you. This is meant for kids in grades K–3.

Little Frog’s Tadpole Trouble, by Tatyana Feeney

Little Frog lives with his mommy and daddy, and he loves his family of three. Then, one day, Little Frog gets the news that he is going to be a big brother to nine tadpoles! At first, Little Frog is very unhappy with the little tadpoles; they can’t do anything, and they take up all of his mommy and daddy’s attention. However, over time, Little Frog realizes that his siblings are growing into frogs like him and having nine new playmates is pretty fun after all!


I Am a Big Sister and I Am a Big Brother, by Caroline Jayne Church

If you have a toddler awaiting a new sibling, this is the book for you. The simple, rhyming text explores with your little one all of the responsibilities that come with being an older sibling, like helping change diapers, feeding, and making baby laugh when it is sad. It is also made pretty sturdy for your new reader.


You might also be waiting to hear the age-old question that keeps parents tongue tied and a bit nervous, “Where do babies come from?” In our home, we believe in the direct and honest approach, no storks in our stories. There have been a couple books that have been life savers for us, helping us navigate the hard questions.

What Makes a Baby?, by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth

My son loves this book, especially the page with the different weeks of baby growth. It is easy to understand and gives a no-nonsense and truthful approach to the biology of how a baby is made with realistic terms and the idea that not all babies come into this world the same way.

Before You Were Born, by Jennifer Davis, illustrated by Laura Cornell

While this book doesn’t tell you how babies are made, it does take your child through month by month as baby grows in your belly. It also shows what happens to mommy on the outside and what happens with baby on the inside by having your little one lift the flap to reveal baby.


Bye-Bye Baby Brother, by Sheena Dempsey

A Baby Sister for Frances, by Russel Hoban, illustrated by Lillian Hoban

Don’t Eat the Baby!, by Amy Young

Little Miss, Big Sis, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Monkey Not Ready for the Baby, by Marc Brown

Olive Marshmallow, by Katie Saunders

Once upon a Baby Brother, by Sarah Sullivan, illustrated by Tricia Tusa

There’s Going to Be a Baby, by John Burningham, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

What Brothers Do Best : What Sisters Do Best, by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

Wolfie the Bunny (about adoption), by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zachariah OHora

Melanie Boerner

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