The Best Books for Soon-to-Be
Big Brothers and Sisters

by Iva-Marie Palmer

Photo credit: Mike Harrington, Taxi/Getty Images

When we told our son Clark that he would become a big brother — showing him ultrasound images and explaining that my belly would get bigger as the baby grew — he took it well, maybe better than we expected. “But that’s such a long time,” he complained, when we told him his new sibling wouldn’t arrive for six more months. Excitement. This was good.

Still, there were other signs that maybe the news was causing him anxiety. He was clingy when I dropped him off at daycare, and sometimes paid an excess amount of attention to my belly. (“I’m just patting it!” he’d protest, when we said maybe he was being a little too aggressive.) Later, when we told him we’d be having another boy, he said, “But you already have a boy…”

Reading has always been part of our bedtime routine, and we’re lucky that books in general figure prominently into Clark’s life. So we ordered a few online, and told him they were gifts from his soon-to-be baby brother. (Maybe it’s a little weird to imagine an in-the-womb child sending away for books online, but the attention seemed to flatter Clark. And technology nowadays is a miracle.)

Storytime has been a great way to encourage the big brother-to-baby bond; it’s when I let Clark feel for the baby’s kicks, talk to the baby, and snuggle up to me, and when I remind him that he’ll always be my baby, too.

In addition to the new-sibling books that appear on this list, another great pre-baby bonding strategy is to let your child pick out a book — any book he or she likes, or thinks the baby will like — to read “with” the baby. This is a great habit to stick with once the new baby arrives.

That said, here are a few of the new-sibling books we like at our house: