Nothing brings me greater joy than watching my toddler son interact with my infant daughter. He’s gentle. He’s sweet. He’s nurturing and kind. That’s not to say he doesn’t occasionally crash a toy truck into her leg, but, hey, the sibling dynamic is all about balance.
It wasn’t always like this. When my mini man was first promoted to “big brother,” he was anxious, confused, and downright indifferent to his sister’s mere presence. It took time. It took patience. It took lots of reassuring hugs and kisses. Most of all, it took love. And, now, he can’t get enough of her.
To celebrate National Brother Day (May 24), and honor all the soon-to-be and freshly minted big bros out there, we’ve rounded up eight apropos picture books. We hope they help kids and their parents with what can be a tough, but totally heartwarming transition. Curl up, and read one of these perfect picks with your big boy and little new addition—it’s one of the simplest (and sweetest) pleasures of parenthood.
What Brothers Do Best, by Laura Numeroff and Lynn Munsinger
Brothers are good at so many things. They can climb trees and push swings and make music. This sweet board book—which is also offered in a big sister version—honors all the special ways siblings bond, make memories, and grow together.
Olive Marshmallow, by Katie Saunders
Strange things are happening in Archie’s world. Most concerning is his Mommy’s rapidly growing belly. Then, of course, there’s the spare room, which has suddenly turned pink. When his mother returns home from the hospital with Baby Olive in tow, he decides his new sister quite resembles a fluffy marshmallow. Archie remains reluctant to Baby’s charms, but, with a bit of time and some gentle encouragement, he learns that “little sisters are actually really great.”
I’m a Big Brother, by Joana Cole and Rosalinda Kightley
“Someone new is at our house.” Told from the perspective of a new big brother, this sweet story teaches kids about babies (“they can’t eat pizza or apples or ice cream!”), explains how older kids can help, and reassures children that there’s plenty of love to go around.
Michael and His New Baby Brother, Sarah Duchess of York and Ian Cunliffe
Michael is perfectly content as an only child. So when his parents tell him he’s going to be a big brother, the news comes as quite a surprise—and an unwelcome one at that. But, soon, with the help of his loving mom and dad, Michael begins to see the upside of having a baby brother.
Henry is a Big Brother, by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and Dorothy Stott
A new baby ushers in excitement, anxiety, joy, and jealousy—especially for an older sibling. Henry must learn to adjust to life with a little one at home. He holds the tiny baby, counts its fingers and toes, and tries to help his parents at bath time. He starts to relish his new role, and eagerly anticipates teaching Baby all sorts of new things—but first, he’ll have to learn to be patient.
Big Brothers Don’t Take Naps, by Louise Borden and Emma Dodd
Unlike the other books on our list, this one is told from the perspective of a little brother. Nicholas idolizes his big bro, James. He gets to do all the cool things. He can read and write and ride the bus. Better yet, there’s that one thing James doesn’t do—nap! This humorous read can help a new big brother understand how he can be both a role model and a local super hero for younger siblings.
Big Brother Daniel, by Angela C. Santomero and Jason Fruchter
Based on a popular episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, this cute book illustrates how preschoolers can assist parents with all the baby duties. Daniel helps his mom feed little Margaret, fetches diapers, and even tells his sister a special story. And when she naps—he gets his parents all to himself!
The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby, by Stan Berenstain
Small Bear has outgrown his little bed just time—a new baby is coming very soon. So he and his Papa spend all day outside chopping and whacking and building a big bed fit for a big brother. They return home, and Small Bear finds his little bed occupied by a new little sister. He leans in to observe her and she gives him a knock square on the nose (“she has a pretty good punch for a little baby”). That night, he stretches out in his comfortable new bed, and decides that “being a big brother is going to be fun.” While reference is made to Mama’s burgeoning belly, the baby seemingly materializes out of nowhere. Nevertheless, this is a fun read for any young fan of the familiar series.
What books do you recommend for new big brothers?