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Major changes are hard for children since these little people are still learning how to understand and communicate their emotions while relying on parents to provide them with comfort and guidance. So, what happens when a new child joins the family and a parent’s attention is suddenly divided? Let’s just say that things can get a bit rocky for a time—which is precisely why it’s a good idea to have a solid collection of new sibling books on hand to prepare your child for the transition and help them get through it. Check out some of our favorites from the genre so you can get started on building an emotional support library for your firstborn.

RELATED: The 31 Best Books for Toddlers

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

1. Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman and Zacharia Ohora

When a baby wolf arrives on the doorstep of the bunny family and they decide to take him in, young Dot is not exactly excited about having a new younger sibling. While her parents dote on the new addition, Dot attempts to make her displeasure known at every opportunity, cautioning his parents: “He’s going to eat us all up!” Of course, he doesn’t. In the end, Dot eats her words and discovers she really cares about her little brother after all. Energetic, uproariously funny and a blast to read—this touching book about sibling dynamics and accepting change is sure to be a hit with the whole family.

Recommended for ages 4 to 8

$15 at Amazon

Greenwillow Books

2. Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes

A refreshingly honest look at the negative feelings kids experience when first adjusting to their role as older siblings, Julius, the Baby of the World explores young Lilly’s outspoken resentment of her new brother. She doesn’t want this little intruder in her world at all and she makes no bones about it...at first. Lilly’s less-than-desirable behavior requires a lot of patience and encouragement, but eventually she comes around. The takeaway? This one provides a poignant and true-to-life look at how jealousy and insecurity often make for a tough adjustment period but can ultimately be allayed by understanding and support.

Recommended for ages 4 to 8

$8 at Amazon

Little Simon

3. The Boss Baby by Marla Frazee

The Boss Baby doesn’t do a deep dive into sibling dynamics, but it does tell big kids everything they need to know about how life will temporarily change when the new boss (aka, the new baby) comes to town, upends daily life with his demands and dominates the airwaves when they aren’t met. The humor in this book—enhanced by illustrations of a baby tyrant in office attire—is irresistible and entirely relatable to parents, and siblings-to-be will get a kick out of it too. Read this one aloud with older children to prepare them for the inevitable disruption caused by a demanding newborn or enjoy it once the adjustment period is already underway to introduce levity, while also commiserating with the older sibling’s feelings of frustration.

Recommended for ages 1 to 4

$7 at Amazon

Puffin Books

4. Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats

Ezra Jack Keats, author of the beloved book Snowy Day among others, is a master at creating characters that really evoke the fragility of childhood—namely Peter, the main character in many of Keats’ books, including this one. Here, Peter is struggling to accept the idea of having another child in the house. When Peter’s parents reveal the new baby will inherit some of his old furniture and possessions, his feelings of displacement reach a fever pitch: Peter plots with his dog to run away. Don’t be fooled, though—the drama of the narrative is subdued and full of sweet humor. Bottom line: This gentle, thoughtful book has just the right amount of playfulness to not be a bummer, and enough sincerity to speak to new siblings who are wrestling with their own confusing emotions.

Recommended for ages 3 to 7

$8 at Amazon

Knopf Books for Young Readers

5. Little Frog’s Tadpole Trouble by Tatyana Feeney

This cute book relies on sparse prose and charmingly simple illustrations to confront a very common new sibling conundrum, one that involves a first child feeling bored and left behind. Yep, when the frog family brings home nine new tadpoles, Little Frog is not impressed to find that the babies are not yet able to be playmates. Worse still, the needy newcomers even have the nerve to steal the two playmates he already had—his parents. Indeed, the fact that babies aren’t very much fun is one that any seasoned older sibling will confirm. Fortunately, new big brothers and sisters will take comfort in Little Frog’s journey and its happy ending: Tadpoles grow up to be the best friends and playmates you could ask for...and it happens faster than you think.

Recommended for ages 5+

$23 at Amazon

Peachtree Publishing Company

6. Mooshka, a Quilt Story by Julie Paschkis

Richly colored, beautiful illustrations bring this story about change, nostalgia and familial love to life. The narrative centers around a little girl named Karla and her not-so-ordinary quilt, Mooshka. For years, Mooshka would speak to Karla at bedtime, telling family stories—ones Karla had heard from her grandmother while she watched as each swath was sewn into place. Alas, when Karla’s little sister arrives, her homelife feels chaotic and Mooshka falls abruptly silent. It’s up to Karla to figure out how to restore her quilt’s storytelling power. Spoiler alert: She ultimately accomplishes this by sharing Mooshka with her little sis. This magical and poignant story about adapting to new routines and making room for more love is a must-read.

Recommended for ages 4 to 8

$17 at Amazon

Chronicle Books

7. What Brothers Do Best by Laura Numeroff

Incredibly tender and sweet (possibly bordering on cloying), this book about brotherhood focuses exclusively on the highlights, so it does more to distract older siblings from bitter feelings than it does to address them. That said, brooding books are not always what the doctor ordered, and older siblings may very well find comfort and inspiration in the empowering message of the story—one that encourages big brothers to embrace their new role as the ‘oldest’ rather than lament the loss of their old one. What Brothers do Best is a feel-good book—just bear in mind that it reads a little bit like a pep talk or an ode to the hopes of parents, so it may or may not align with the emotional needs of your older kid (but hey, a little positive coaching couldn’t hurt).

Recommended for ages 0 to 3

$8 at Amazon

Marimba Books

8. I’m a Big Sister Now by Katura J. Hudson

This Ben Franklin Gold Medal Award winner is a celebration of the excitement that leads up to the big day when your firstborn officially becomes an older sibling. Think of this one as a big sister version of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, with an overwhelmingly positive message—focusing children’s attention on the thrill of anticipation, as well as the sense of empowerment and pride that comes from graduating to the big kid role. While the content steers clear of introducing negativity (and assumes that none already exists), the illustrations do hint at the reality of conflicted emotions. The end result is a book that succeeds at striking a healthy balance between emphasizing what one hopes an older sibling will feel and acknowledging that change is hard.

Recommended for ages 3 to 7

$9 at Amazon

Greenwillow Books

9. A Most Unusual Day by Sydra Malley

The illustrations in this touching book about adoption are both uplifting and breathtakingly beautiful, an ideal complement to a narrative that boasts the same qualities. The story follows the day of a school-aged girl who can’t shake a funny feeling and can’t understand it either—she’s just mixed up. To her surprise, she realizes after school there must have been something in the air: She arrives home to find her parents cradling her new adoptive sibling. With rhythmic prose and real artistry, this book brilliantly captures the emotional nuance of major transitions through the eyes of a child, before following up with a poignant celebration of the joy that change can bring.

Recommended for ages 4 to 8

$11 at Amazon

HarperCollins

10. Little Miss, Big Sis by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

This story, told with simple rhyming prose from the perspective of a big sister-to-be, is upbeat and designed to capture the attention of the toddler and little kid crowd. The line and wash illustrations are remarkably expressive and what the narrative lacks in substance, it makes up for in energetic and engaging lyrical style. Most importantly, the sweet message promises to make a positive impression on younger ones.

Recommended for ages 4 to 8

$14 at Amazon

Candlewick

11. The New Small Person by Lauren Child

Elmore Greene, once an only child, is entirely unprepared for life with his new younger sibling. Things used to be orderly and predictable—he kept his toys just so in his very own room and he made the rules—but once the baby arrives, Elmore realizes his environment has become a little bit harder to control...and he’s not happy about it. The comedic wit (like Elmore’s disdainful way of referring to the baby as an it) makes this wonderfully illustrated picture book a pleasure to read. Of course, the little curmudgeon has a change of heart in the end and starts to accept his new sibling, a delightful character evolution that gives the book meaning and substance to boot.

Recommended for ages 4 to 8

$9 at Amazon

RELATED: 4 Ways to Raise Siblings Who Love Each Other

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