- They don’t want you to act jealous,
- They want you to understand when the baby needs all their attention, and
- They certainly don’t want you to throw tantrums when things don’t go your way.
The Problem With Most Big Sister BooksUnfortunately, a lot of the typical big sister books present the experience of becoming a big sister as a completely negative life change. If those are the only books you read to your child before she becomes a big sister, she’s likely to get more stressed out before the baby even arrives. For example, suppose you’re pregnant and every time you run into anyone you know or you encounter strangers at the grocery store, they say something like this:
Better get lots of rest while you still can! The sleep deprivation will take years off your life. The baby will wreck your body, and you’ll never look as good as you used to. You’ll probably get postpartum depression. It’s the worst.Uh…thanks for the support, everyone? You’d develop PTSD before the new baby even arrived. But that’s basically what most big sister books tell your child: Life as you know it is over. Everything you love and cherish will now belong to someone else first, and you’ll be an afterthought. But hey, time to get excited to become a big sister!
Still…Becoming a Big Sister Does Have Its ChallengesYou can’t pretend life after the new baby will be exactly the same. Your child will definitely experience some new challenges. For example, one way to strike fear into the heart of any child is to suggest that her parent may abandon her. Having a new baby plays right into that fear, and you’ll want to tackle it head-on. So of course it’s always a good idea to go into any life change with your eyes open to some of the challenges you’ll experience. But it’s not exactly helpful to focus only on the negatives without exploring the positives you may appreciate. This is why when you’re looking for big sister books for your child, it’s important to look for books that strike the right balance. Because yes, books about becoming a big sister should touch on the challenging parts of being an older sibling, but they should also point out the fun and heartwarming parts of stepping into the role of big sister. The absolute best big sister books take it one step further. They present the challenges of becoming a big sister, then show the older sibling feeling empowered to work through those challenges and come up with their own solutions. Related: The Ultimate List of the Best Picture Books, Endorsed by Kids And Parents
25 Most Wonderful Books About Becoming a Big SisterBelow, you’ll find the big sister books that will prepare your older child for a younger sibling in the best way possible. Some quick background: To create this list, I read nearly 150 children’s books about becoming a big sister. Over the last 10 years, I’ve read the best books to each of my three daughters to help them get ready to become a big sister. The books that made this list have an enthusiastic seal of approval from three actual big sisters who all have their own unique taste in books. Here’s what makes this list of books about becoming a big sister different than most:
- Instead of instilling fear, these books will get your child excited about the new baby.
- Instead of fostering a “me versus baby” mentality from day one, these big sister books show your child how the whole family will work together to take care of the baby (and have fun doing it!).
- Instead of serving as social proof for your child that she should hate the new baby, these books set the perfect example for how to be a loving big sister.
Note: indicates my family’s absolute top favorites on the list. These are the books my kids can’t get enough of!Related: 7 Musts for Your Second Baby Registry That Will Save Your Sanity
The Best All-Around Big Sister BooksThese big sister books are the ones my kids asked for again and again (and again). But that’s okay by me because these are the best books about becoming a big sister that I’ve ever read. They’re a delight to read aloud!
- Little Miss, Big Sis† – One of my kids’ favorite books of all time is Plant a Kiss, and this book features the same main character. With sweet rhyming text, your child will get a realistic preview of the ups and downs of being a big sister. We read this one just about every day.
- Wolfie the Bunny – This book makes my kids (and me) giggle every time. At first, the main character is unsure of her new little brother, but she comes around in the end after an experience that bonds them. Side note: One line in this book has lived on as a running joke in our family since the first time we read it. Love this story!
- Maple – Before Maple was even born, her parents planted a tree in her honor. She adores her tree and considers it a friend. Then one day, a sapling pops up next to her tree, and Maple discovers she’ll soon be a big sister. The story grows from there, and it’s a lovely way to introduce the idea of welcoming a new baby into the family. If you like this one, be sure to check out the rest of the series: Maple & Willow Together and Maple & Willow Apart.
- The Sister Book – You can’t go wrong with Todd Parr. This ode to sisterhood is sweet and funny, and my daughters ask me to read it regularly. Simple text, bright illustrations, and a positive message about being a big sister.
- Little Big Girl – This is a sweet story about becoming a big sister and sharing the wonders of your world with your new baby. I love how this book sets the soon-to-be big sister up as the new baby’s guide through life.
- Lola Reads to Leo – This simple story is about how a big sister reads to her little brother to connect with him. Perfect for big sisters who love books! What I especially love about this one is that the story reassures your child that you’ll still have time for her.
- Flora’s Very Windy Day – This one is by the same author of The Penderwicks series, which is one our all-time favorite chapter books. In this picture book, big sister Flora starts out annoyed by her little brother, then starts feeling protective of him and comes to appreciate who he is. (By the way, for older kids, The Penderwicks makes the perfect read-aloud chapter book about being a big sister!)
- The Big Sibling Book – This activity book doubles as a keepsake when your baby is older. Your child can get ready for her little sibling with questions to answer like “what will you teach the baby?”, sticker activities, and pages for recording baby’s firsts. This is designed for ages 2 to 6, but my 9-year-old loved it too. We just skipped over the few pages that were geared towards younger kids.
Books to Get Your Child Ready for Life With the New BabyOne of the toughest parts of becoming a big sister is adjusting to what life is like with a new baby. These big sister books do a beautiful job of previewing life with a baby in a kid-friendly, positive way.
- Eat Sleep Poop – My 4-year-old loves this book so much that she memorized it start to finish. This one is written from the perspective of the baby explaining what they do all day, and it makes my kids giggle every time.
- Littles: And How They Grow – This book is so incredibly sweet, stepping through all the things you do to take care of babies. What I love most about it is how it encourages your older child to think of the baby as theirs to take care of, too. And goshdarnit if that last page doesn’t make me choke up, every time!
- Everywhere Babies – What a lovely little book! In this one, you’ll find diversity of babies and families, heartwarming details about life with babies, and the most gorgeous illustrations. My kids ask for me to read this one every day, and they nearly have every word memorized.
- Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes – Your older child will love this book for the pictures of babies from all over the world. Plus, the “ten little fingers and ten little toes” refrain gives you an opportunity to count or tickle your older child’s toes, reinforcing that she was once a baby. It’s also helpful to point out what she has in common with her new baby sibling. By the way, when you get to the last page, be sure to follow the book’s lead and give your child kisses! Guaranteed giggles.
- Love That Baby – Unfortunately, this book is out of print, but you can still pick up a used copy for a good price on Amazon. This is a sweet and straightforward book that explains what life will be like with the new baby and how your older child will fit in. This is a great fit for younger kids who aren’t quite ready for the more involved guide you get in Babies Don’t Eat Pizza. (See next bullet.)
- Babies Don’t Eat Pizza – I wish I’d found this one for my older two kids because my third child could not get enough of this book before her little brother was born. It’s on the long side because it’s more informative guide than story, but you can break it up and read a couple pages at a time.
- The Menino – I discovered this when helping my second child get ready to be a big sister, and she ate it up. This story is longer than most picture books, so you can try reading it a few pages at a time. The dry humor in this book cracks me up every time!
- I Am a Big Sister! or I’m a Big Sister – You’ll find these two on just about every list of big sister books, but I would recommend picking just one of the two. The first has simple rhyming text with a straightforward run-down of what life with a baby will be like, plus how the big sister can fit into that new life and be responsible for the baby too. The second book is very similar in that it steps through what life will be like with the baby, but it ends by reassuring the big sister that she still has a special place in her parents’ hearts. These books weren’t my kids’ favorites of all the big sister books we read, but these two would be a good fit for a very young child who’s about to become a big sister. After the simple introduction these books provide, you could progress to the stories with more depth that will give your kiddo more support during the transition to big sis.
Books to Comfort Your ChildYour child may be nervous about becoming a big sister because it may feel like the baby is “replacing” her or that you won’t have time for your big kid after the baby arrives. While these stories aren’t all explicitly about becoming a big sister, they make the perfect big sister books because they reassure your child that your connection is still as strong as ever.
- You Were the First – The child in this book is a boy, but it’s not explicitly called out, and my oldest daughter still loved it. This sweet book will help reassure your child that you will still love them even after the new baby arrives.
- You’re All My Favorites – Each bear cub in this story wonders if their parents love them less because of how they’re different from their siblings, and their parents answer in such a sweet way.
- You Made Me a Mother – You should know that as I’m reading this book, it gives me a huge lump in my throat…every time. It’s not that it’s sad – just terribly heartwarming. As with You Were the First, this one is perfect to read aloud to your first child.
- No Matter What – This book delivers the message that you love your child even when they make mistakes or drive you a little bananas. Such an important message to reinforce before you welcome a new baby into the family. This is one of my kids’ all-time favorites, and we even pack it every time we go on vacation!
Books About All the WaitingWaiting is hard for little kids, especially when you’re waiting for something so exciting! Just about every night when I was pregnant, my daughters would tell me, “I just want the baby to be born right now!” Help your older child cope with the waiting by reading these big sister books.
- Hello In There – My toddler loved lifting the flaps that show how the baby’s growing, and she related to how hard it is to wait to meet your little sibling.
- Mama’s Belly – This is a beautiful, tender story about the anticipation of becoming a big sister and making plans for how you’ll help take care of the baby.
- A Most Unusual Day – This lovely story of adoption opens the door to talking about different ways babies can join their families.
Books That Answer Tough QuestionsYour older child may not ask “Where do babies come from?”, but if she does, you’ll want to have one of these big sister books ready to go. I recommend starting with The Baby Tree first, then you can progress to the next one if your child is ready for more information.
- The Baby Tree – This is such an adorable way to answer the question of how the new baby was made! The story strikes the perfect balance of being biologically accurate without getting too detailed. Full disclosure: The main character is a big brother, but that’s not central to the story.
- What Makes a Baby – When your child is ready for more information, this matter-of-fact book about where babies come from is perfect for preschoolers to grade-schoolers. Written by a sexuality educator, this book covers conception, gestation, and birth. For another accurate but kid-friendly answer to “Where do babies come from?” try Where Willy Went. For both of these books, I recommend reading them first to make sure you’re comfortable with how much information they provide. And as you’re reading, always feel free to leave certain bits out if you’re not ready to cover everything quite yet.