When only-childhood is all your first born has known, letting them know that they’re going to be a big brother or sister can either be the best news or the worst news they have received in a while!
If your child has a friend with a sibling, and they get on well (!) the comparison to their friend is a great place to start.
Only children have had the joy of your undivided attention, and it can be hard for them to understand that sharing your time and attention may come with some positives. And to what extent should we expect them to share?
Today I’ve collated 5 of my favourite books that will hopefully help your child prepare for, understand, and connect with your households new arrival.
Oh, and a little tip before we dive in: whenever you know a friend or relative is likely to be bringing a gift for your newborn, do ask that they bring something for your other child, too.
And if you think that request isn’t going to go down well, wrap some little presents up yourself before the birth – when you still have time to breathe!
1. Za-Za’s Baby Brother by Lucy Cousins
When Za-Za’s mummy had another baby, it was hard for her not to feel left out. Her new sibling is always grumpy, or crying for food, or in need of a nappy change.
Even the countless visitors parading through the house only seem interested in her new little brother.
So when Mummy suggests Za-Za should cuddle the baby, she’s sceptical—but the moment she holds him and gazes down into his big brown eyes, she realises having a little brother’s going to be a whole heap of fun after all.
It turns out Mummy and Daddy will actually have enough time, love, and attention for both of them.
And while countless TikTok and Instagram posts would suggest to me that this sudden connection with a sibling happens less often than tossing the baby to one side, hopefully if your firstborn gets a chance to hear about Za-Za before your next arrival, well, you’ll be in for a fighting chance of a more peaceful introduction…
2. I Love You the Purplest by Barbara M. Joosse
I Love You the Purplest explores the birth of a second child in a single-mother-by-choice (SMBC) family.
In a quintessential woodland idyll, Mama and her two sons fish near their cabin, until the lapping lake turns dark and stars sprinkle the night sky.
Max is the more boisterous of the two. Julian is quieter—and they’re rivals. They vie for Mama’s attention.
Who’s the best fisherman? Who’s the best rower? Who does Mama love the most? No matter the question, Mama is resolute: she loves them both equally for their special and different selves.
Replete with gorgeous double-page-spread watercolours, I Love You the Purplest depicts wholesome scenes of familial warmth amid a landscape ripe with colour, affectionately illustrating the softer side of hard sibling rivalry.
3. Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman
When the bunnies come home to find a tiny wolf cub sleeping on their doorstep, Mama and Papa are besotted—but feisty young Dot’s convinced her new brother’s going to eat them all up!
Dot grows tired of her little brother and avoids him to protect herself, but during a trip to the shops she sees she’s been wrong all along—it’s Wolfie who needs protecting!
Well, what are big sisters for?
4. Nine Months: Before a Baby Is Born by Miranda Paul
A soon-to-be big sister and her parents are getting ready for a new arrival.
Ingeniously designed panels depict what the family’s experiencing as the baby grows bigger and bigger, from first hearing of its conception to anticipating its arrival.
In a pregnancy book like no other, your little one will immerse themselves in meticulous illustrations perfectly paired with lyrical and informative prose, culminating in that joyous first hello.
Nine Months: Before a Baby Is Born by Miranda Paul
5. The New Small Person by Lauren Child
Elmore loves his bedroom. He’s got his own TV, he’s got all his special toys—and no one touches his jelly beans.
Mum and Dad have always said he’s the best child in the whole world. But when a new small person arrives, everyone fusses and coos, leaving Elmore out on his own.
Then the small person licks one of his jelly beans—then moves into his bedroom. Everything’s going wrong—until one night Elmore has a nightmare. He can’t escape—until the new small person comes to his rescue, scaring the monster away.
When he wakes up, Elmore gives baby Albert a big hug—and he sees having a little brother might not be so bad after all.
The New Small Person does a fantastic job of illustrating the fact that siblings don’t always like one another from day one, and that the loving bond between them may instead grow over time.