Blogger Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla

New Baby Books

With the imminent arrival of my own new baby, I’ve had baby books on the brain these past few months. From the books we recommend to sleepless parents to the books about childhood and technology we give to the parents of savvy teens, librarians are sometimes intimately involved in the struggles of our patrons’ childhoods. Never is this more clear than when we’re asked for books about a new baby. A great new sibling book can help immensely in easing the transition from being an only child to being one of a group.

julius_baby_of_the_worldKevin Henkes’s Julius, the Baby of the World is one of my favorite picture books, period, but it also is one of the best new sibling books I think I’ve read. I recommend it to parents all the time, and have the personal experience to back it up – this is the book my parents gave to me and my sister before the arrival of my much-younger baby brother. Children of all ages can identify with Lily’s excitement about her new sibling before he arrives and her horror at the way her life changes afterwards! The resolution, when it comes, is perfect. Of course Lily can say mean things about her brother, but no one else can!

peter's chairAnxiety over a new sibling is a universal issue, which is why a book first published in 1967,  Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats, as relevant today as it was the day it was published. When Peter’s parents repaint his crib pink for his new baby sister, Peter is perturbed but willing to let it go. When they decide to paint his chair, however, Peter takes a stand. Again, Peter’s eventual acceptance of his sister’s place in his life shows a way forward for children hearing the story that is both natural and comforting. Life will change with a new sibling, but it doesn’t have to change for the worse.

What are you favorite books about new babies?



  1. Anna McQuinn

    I have to big up Lola Reads to Leo – Library-loving, book-loving Lola deals with her new sibling by reading to him (of course)! When he needs a new diaper, she reads a potty book, when he cries – a funny book, when he’s sleep – a bedtime story… she just about finds enough time for her own reading.

    1. Renee Perron

      We have all your Lola books at our library and love them. They are a great addition to any Toddler or Preschool story class session as well. I second your recommendation for Lola Reads to Leo!

  2. Stevie

    Hello in There!: A Big Sister’s Book of Waiting by Jo Witek. Very imaginative and fun!

  3. Michelle Nogales

    I Don’t Like Gloria! by Kaye Umansky is about a dog who is unhappy about the arrival of a new pet and the way his life is upended, and how unfair it is when he gets scolded for reacting as he naturally does. But like most animal books, the animals are stand-ins for people and this is a charmingly-written story. In the end, the protagonist finds he has something important in common with the new arrival after all…!

  4. Kelly Doolittle

    Yes! Lola Reads to Leo! We have a young family who had a baby boy and named him Leo. They were so thrilled when I pointed out this book to them – and the older sibling (a girl) still reads to her little brother 🙂 I also love Valorie Fisher’s, My Big Brother, a clever and beautiful photographic story told from baby’s point of view. It deftly reinforces the importance of the older sibling without projecting the idea that the baby might not be liked.

    I did save Julius (which I also adore) for until well after my son was born. I wanted to give my daughter time to figure things out for herself, with out suggesting that her baby brother could be cause for alarm 🙂 Everybody’s families are different, but honestly, I personally suggest parents avoid books that tell of older kids behaving badly – for example, in Julius, Lilly pinches Julius’s tale, she yells at him, she says she hates him. My feeling is, why put those ideas into your little one’s brains – which we all know are little sponges for ideas? It all turns out grand in the end, which makes it ideal for later in the familial life when jealousy issues might come up.

    Here at TCPL, we made a booklist that was heavy on the positive reinforcements at our library. We did include Julius – just like Elisabeth’s family – some families may want and enjoy a book like this. But as a testimonial for my personal ideas on that issue, I can honestly say that my kids got along great when our second child was born. My daughter adored her little brother. She wrote stories about him in kindergarten. She dressed him up and they acted in homemade plays when he got a bit older. And they still get along great 19 years later 🙂 Just sayin’…..;)

  5. Renee Perron

    I used to teach a sibling class at a local hospital. The 1 hour class was for children who were going to have a new baby in the family. The families would get a tour of the hospital’s postpartum unit, a talk about what babies do, hands on practice with baby dolls, and a read aloud. The children’s books I liked to use always included a realistic perspective of what life was going to be like when the new baby comes home, especially how some things will change and how some will stay the same. The books I liked to recommend to families were usually nonfiction and included:

    What Baby Needs by Martha Sears, R.N., William Sears, M.D., and Christie Watts Kelly, illustrated by Renee Andriani

    Baby on the Way by Martha Sears, R.N., William Sears, M.D., and Christie Watts Kelly, illustrated by Renee Andriani

    The New Baby at Your House by Joanna Cole, photos by Margaret Miller

    Big Brother Now : A Story About Me and Our New baby / written by Annette Sheldon ; illustrated by Karen Maizel

    Big Sister Now : A Story About Me and Our New Baby / written by Annette Sheldon ; illustrated by Karen Maizel

    When it comes to just a great picture book story about a new baby, I recommend:

    On Mother’s Lap by Ann Herbert Scott, illustrated by Glo Coalson

    One Special Day written by Lola M. Schaefer ; illustrated by Jessica Meserve.

  6. Kelly Doolittle

    Those are all wonderful, helpful suggestions!

  7. Pingback: Great Baby Reads - ALSC Blog

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