10 top book picks to prep firstborns for siblings

When I was about three months pregnant with my second baby, I showed my toddler Isaiah my growing bump, patted it and said “baby.” He took a deep breath, gave me a knowing look, sat down, patted his own belly and said “baby” too. That was the moment that I realized that I was going to need a few more resources to explain the whole baby on the way and becoming a big brother situation.

Now that my due date is swiftly approaching, we have been doing lots of reading, cuddling as a family, and very serious book reviewing. We put a cut and dry review process in place, which entailed just one question: Isaiah, do you like this book, yes or no? All of this hard work, which was really so much fun, helped me scout out 10 books to prep the kiddo who made you a parent for a sibling.  

You Were the First” by Patricia MacLachlan and Stephanie Graegin

This story is a beautiful look back on all of those milestones with a firstborn. Many of them were relatable to our parenting journey with Isaiah and will likely hit home for you too. The idea is that a firstborn can cherish those family memories as they welcome a new baby into the family. This book is amazing and would be worth buying for your collection or giving as a gift.

The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby” by Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain

I grew up reading just about every book in this series, but somehow I missed this one until now. My husband, who is a firstborn, remembered it fondly though. Perhaps his parents read it to him before his little sister arrived? Isaiah already loves these classic books and reading this one felt like an awesome throwback, because it tells the story of Small Bear becoming Brother Bear when Sister Bear arrives in the tree house. It evens tackles the practical issue that second time parents have to figure out: Where will the little ones sleep?

Angelina’s Baby Sister” by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig

Okay, truth be told, I enjoyed this one more than Isaiah did, as Angelina Ballerina was among my favorite characters growing up, and I held on tight to my Angelina doll for WAAAY too long. This book starts to get into the hurt feelings that seem to go hand in hand with the excitement of a new sibling arriving. I guess that there is no time like the present for the family to start considering challenges that will likely arise. This could be great one for parents to prepare a daughter for the arrival of a girl. 

Little Rabbit’s New Baby” by Harry Horse

This little rabbit gets a big surprise when triplets arrive. After lots of trial and error, he finds his way as big brother and even figures out how to get the newborn trio to sleep. Now, I won’t expect that level of baby whispering magic from Isaiah, but I do know that he will be a great helper. Isaiah won’t let me get a load of laundry going without helping every step of the way! 

The New Small Person” by Lauren Child 

This book was hands down Isaiah’s favorite! He insisted that I read it twice in row. It is very cute, has cheerful illustrations, and I like that it showed how the little sibling could be helpful to the older one. This tale of a budding friendship between brothers is sure to be a hit at your house too!

Vera’s Baby Sister” by Vera Rosenberry 

Vera needs some serious space to adjust to the arrival of her baby sister. Fortunately, her grandfather steps in and helps her build a bean tent where she can escape the new baby chaos and regroup. Vera eventually adjusts and even builds a mini bean tent for her little sis. The outdoorsy vibe of this one could be fun for green thumb families (or even aspiring ones like ours). 

We Are Brothers, We Are Friends” by Alexandra Penfold and Eda Kaban 

The folks at Women & Children First, a bookstore in Andersonville, recommended this story, and I can see why they chose it. This playful book captures the imaginative feel of a big brother starting to show a little brother the ropes and dreaming of adventures yet to come. It is super engaging and definitely toddler approved. This could be a great fit for families preparing a son for the arrival of a baby boy. 

I’m a Big Brother” by Joanna Cole and Rosalinda Kightley

This straightforward book helps explain some practical things. It touches on important basics like newborns not being able to eat grown up food and asking mommy before holding the baby. It makes sense that a book full of everyday lessons was a gift from my mother-in-law, an energetic Kindergarten teacher. Isaiah seems to really soak this one in, so I hope it will help him navigate life when our new arrival debuts. 

Hi New Baby!” by Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley

My husband Walter read this one with us, and I think we all had the giggles because the big sister saying things like “That baby is yucky!” had us all cracking up. This book keeps it pretty real with the firstborn’s reactions to the new arrival, which is good, because we all know that parenting gets real. 

Froggy’s Baby Sister” by Jonathan London and Frank Remkiewicz

Isaiah picked this one to read over a few others in the stack, and I can see why. It has bright illustrations and makes for a lively read. My fave line is “Maybe she’s hungry!” said Froggy. “Let’s make her burger and flies!” While I don’t think many families have Pollywogilina in mind for their baby girl name, this cute toad tale will definitely be relatable to your family and make your tot smile as the pages turn. 

All right, now that you have some good reads on your radar, cuddle in with your crew and let the book-a-thon begin!

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