There’s something undeniably sweet about bringing a new baby into your home. A tiny, helpless human that expands your family from one to two or from five to six. No matter how or when a baby comes into your home, everything is forever altered from that moment forward.
I vividly remember finding out I was pregnant with our second child and feeling a rush of excitement and trepidation. We gave our firstborn one of the books on this list to help her understand that she would soon be a big sister, but that she would always be the one who first made us parents. While many new-baby-in-the-house books decry the arrival of a new sibling, the books on this list were specifically chosen to shed a more positive light on growing a family. And if you’re done having children as I am, consider giving one of these books at the next baby shower you attend.
1 | BABYMOON BY HALEY BARRETT
A look at those hallowed weeks following the birth of a child, this poetic book features a mother and father bonding with their newborn in that universal period of unrestrained adoration. With joyous illustrations, this book is an instant favorite featuring a diverse family. Ages 4-7.
2 | THE OTHER DOG BY MADELEINE L’ENGLE
For the family that already has a dog, it seems a great waste of time and money to bring home another “dog.” When the previously best canine lap sitter in the house is replaced by a hairless, no tail baby, one little grey poodle tries to make sense of her newfound flatmate. Whimsical illustrations and touching moments make this a humorous twist on adding another member to the family. Ages 3-6.
3 | WE SANG YOU HOME BY RICHARD VAN CAMP
“We sang you from a wish, we sang you from a prayer.” This board book celebrates the love parents have for a new child and would make an especially appropriate gift for an adopted baby. Similarly, it works equally well for biological babies. In short, it celebrates emerging love between family members with soothing reverence. Ages 0-3.
4 | PETER’S CHAIR BY EZRA JACK KEATS
Peter finishes his block tower only to have it crash down when his dog runs through it. From the other room, his mother reminds Peter to be quiet because of the new baby. Soon Peter notices that his old cradle, high chair, and crib have all been painted pink. When he finds his untouched blue chair, he rescues it from a pink makeover. When Peter realizes he no longer fits in the chair, he decides to share it with his baby sister. Fifty years after its original publication, this book, featuring an African American family, touches on new baby adjustments from the astute perspective of a young child. A forever classic. Ages 4-8.
5 | MAMA’S BELLY BY KATE HOSFORD
Especially appropriate for families expecting a second child, this book introduces a preschool-age girl who wonders what her new baby sister will be like. Lush sunset-like tones and inviting text are certain to calm any new baby nerves. Ages 4-7.
6 | I USED TO BE FAMOUS BY BECKY CATTIE AND TARA LUEBBE
There’s a new act in town, and it’s stealing the paparazzi from her previously talented big sister. Feeling washed up from her showbiz gig, Big Sister starts analyzing and considering the moves of this new starlet. Maybe there’s room enough for a double-act duo. Peppered with showbiz terms, this sequel is just the right dose of sweet and sassy. Ages 4-8.
7 | YOU WERE THE FIRST BY PATRICIA MACLACHLAN
A series of firsts, each unique yet somehow universal. Follow two parents as they marvel at seeing life afresh through the eyes of their newborn child. While the future may bring a second or third child to sleep in the same yellow bassinet, each firstborn will always remain their parents’ first child and the one that taught them to be parents. Ages 2-6.
8 | YOU ARE NEW BY LUCY KNISLEY
A series of firsts, each unique yet somehow universal. Follow two parents as they marvel at seeing life afresh through the eyes of their newborn child. While the future may bring a second or third child to sleep in the same yellow bassinet, each firstborn will always remain their parents’ first child and the one that taught them to be parents. Ages 1-4.
9 | NINE MONTHS BY MIRANDA PAUL
Art and nature mingle in this celebration of expanding life, where each month, phase, and trimester of pregnancy is depicted through immersive watercolor spreads. Unlike anything you’ve seen before, this joyous book is worth savoring. And pay particular attention to the negative space. Ages 3+.
10 | WREN BY KATRINA LEHMAN
When Wren’s fifth sibling is born, Wren is completely overwhelmed by the noise the new baby makes. While all the family tries to sooth the newest member of the family, nothing seems to work. Ready for a break, Wren moves in with his grandparents, but quickly discovers it is too quiet. Back home again, where nothing has changed, Wren takes a turn holding his squalling sister and finds that his quiet disposition was exactly what she needed. Ages 4-7.
11 | LITTLE MISS, BIG SIS BY AMY KROUSE ROSENTHAL
“The big news is this: Little Miss will be a big sis.” With energetic illustrations and rhythmic pacing, an older sister takes charge of caring for her new sibling. With a hint of rivalry, but endearing admiration and love, this uplifting book will require repeat readings. Ages 3-7.
12 | SNUGGLE THE BABY BY SARA GILLINGHAM
For any family that has ever taken a free hospital course for soon-to-be big siblings, this darling board book will feel like an extension of that class. With an interactive element and pleasing graphics, this book introduces children to all the ways babies need care. From sleeping, to eating, playing, and snuggling. Paired with a real baby doll, this book allows children plenty of practice both prior to and during that adjustment-to-baby phase. Ages 2-5.