New Sibling, New Problems: Books for Bumps in the New Sibling Road

My sister once gifted me a pillow inscribed with a quote: “I smile because you’re my sister. I laugh because there’s nothing you can do about it.”

For real.

We fought like CRAZY at certain periods of our growing up years (we are about 4 years apart). But, at the end of the day (okay, sometimes the end of the week… or month) I was grateful for her. We are now best friends raising our kids around the corner from one another. But I’m no stranger to the need to have your big sibling feelings and frustrations heard and understood. Enter bibliotherapy. As a child it is powerful to see in the pages of a book “hey, I’m not alone in my feelings!” This is so true for the early days after welcoming a new baby to the family.

Today I’m sharing my roundup of the best baby sibling titles and the common issues they speak to.

new sibling books transition jealousy

Many new sibling books delve into the bumps in the road: jealousy, fighting, anger, anxiety.  When your child is showing distress, acting out, and the like, I believe in the power of bibliotherapy.  The titles below validate older siblings’ BIG feelings and share a positive message. To keep this post short, I will share keywords, age levels, and a one phrase take away “message” rather than summaries.

Note: In my own experience adding a sibling to the family, I didn’t share these types of stories prior to baby’s arrival (see this post for what I DO recommend reading while expecting: New Sibling Books that Don’t Borrow Trouble).

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The NEW Small Person by Lauren Child (preschool, early elementary) Features older baby and grows through young child. Feeling replaced, having to make compromises, wanting the baby to “go back,” frustration of copying. Message: Siblings have some special benefits, too.

Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes. (preschool, early elementary) Features young baby. Missing parent attention, anger (pinching, yelling, insults), wanting the baby to “go back”, jealousy, perceived unfairness. Message: Don’t mess with my sibling! We’re on the same team!

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman. (preschool, early elementary) Features young baby (wolf) who grows. Worry, not being heard by parents, parent attention on baby. Message: Siblings stick up for one another. Read more about this title in my Loving These Lately post.

A Baby Sister for Frances by Russell Hoban (preschool, early elementary) Features young baby. Missing parent attention, change, running away. (Also a classic, c.1964) Message: Everyone has a special part to play in a family. Note: There are two versions. The original was not an “I Can Read” book; choose the original if possible, unless of course you have a level 2 reader who would prefer to read it indepedently.

Brand-New Baby Blues by Kathi Appelt. (preschool, early elementary) Features young baby. Change, missing parent attention, jealousy, anger, and eventually hope for the future. Message: As time passes, life will get better, even better than before baby.

Follow the Leader by Erica Sileverman (toddler, preschool) Features older toddler siblings. Bossiness. Message: younger siblings have great ideas to offer, too. Out of print, so look for this one at your library, or snag a used copy for a penny.
Little Rabbit’s New Baby by Harry Horse. (preschool) Features young babies (triplet bunnies) that grow into older babies/toddlers. Frustration due to waiting and that baby’s too small to play, copying/following, taking his things. Message: older siblings can be helpers and leaders.

Boomer’s Big Surprise by Constance McGeorge. (toddler, preschool) Features a puppy, for a less direct baby sibling story.  Jealousy, “double standards,” sibling taking favorite toys. Message: Siblings have more fun when they learn to play together. Available as an ebook, but otherwise out of print.

Benny & Beautiful Baby Delilah by Jean Van Leeuwen. (preschool) Features young baby. Baby’s too small to play, missing parent attention, feeling replaced, jealousy, wanting the baby to “go back,” baby crying a lot. Message: Older siblings have special powers to help the family. Also out of print, so look for this one at your library, or snag a used copy for a penny.

What books would you add to this list?

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