The Ultimate List of 38 Picture Books About Siblings

Updated Feb. 25, 2019

One of my friends recently expressed gratitude for "life scouts" in his life—he wasn't talking about an official scouting program, rather about his siblings, who had gone before and "scouted" out life for him, so that he had a little more information when his turn came along. There are bumps along the road with any sibling relationship, as there are in any meaningful relationship, and at their worst siblings can appear to have no purpose in life other than to make your own difficult. However, at their best, they are your sworn protectors, fiercest allies and best friends. Luckily, the balance of a lifetime shift siblings role closer to "best friends" than "worst enemies," as long as siblings are putting in the effort along the way to forgive and remember they love each other. These are some of our favorite children's books showing sibling dynamics—they provide meaningful ways to talk about how to deal with different situations with siblings and keep an eye on what matters most!

When Charlie McButton Lost Power book
#1
When Charlie McButton Lost Power
Written by Suzanne Collins and illustrated by Mike Lester
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Charlie McButton likes computer games so much, he never plays with anything else. When a thunderstorm knocks out the electricity, his tech empire comes tumbling down, and his whole world loses power. Charlie needs batteries?FAST! But the only triple- A?s he can find are in his little sister?s talking doll. Will he resort to desperate measures and cause his sister to have a meltdown of her own? Or will he snap out of his computer craze long enough to realize his sister might be fun, even if she doesn?t come with batteries? Collins and Lester team up for a hilarious and timely tale that will crack up young computer addicts and those who love them!

The Cow Who Climbed a Tree book
#2
The Cow Who Climbed a Tree
Written and illustrated by Gemma Merino
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Tina isn't like the other cows. She believes that the sky is the limit and that everything is possible. But her sisters aren't convinced—and when Tina tells them she has climbed a tree and met a dragon, they decide that her nonsense has gone too far. Off they go into the woods to find her…and soon discover a world of surprises!

Ish book
#3
Ish
Written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Ramon loved to draw. Anytime. Anything. Anywhere. Drawing is what Ramon does. It¹s what makes him happy. But in one split second, all that changes. A single reckless remark by Ramon's older brother, Leon, turns Ramon's carefree sketches into joyless struggles. Luckily for Ramon, though, his little sister, Marisol, sees the world differently. She opens his eyes to something a lot more valuable than getting things just "right." Combining the spareness of fable with the potency of parable, Peter Reynolds shines a bright beam of light on the need to kindle and tend our creative flames with care.

Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly book
#4
Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly
Written by Alan Madison and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Velma starts first grade in the shadow of her memorable older sisters, and while her newfound interest in butterflies helps her to stand out, it also leads to an interesting complication.

Sheila Rae, the Brave book
#5
Sheila Rae, the Brave
Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes, the nationally bestselling and celebrated creator of Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, Owen, and Kitten's First Full Moon, Shelia Rae, the Brave is a warm, humorous, and loving story of sibling sympathy and support. Just because Sheila Rae is older, she doesn't always know better! "I am very brave," Sheila Rae said, patting herself on the back. She wasn't afraid of anything—not thunder, not lightning, not the big black dog at the end of the block. And when she wanted to walk home a new way and Louise wouldn't, she called her sister a scaredy-cat and set out alone. But all the bravado in the world failed to help when Sheila Rae found herself lost. Luckily, her sister was not far behind. "Children will love it."—School Library Journal Supports the Common Core State Standards

The New Small Person book
#6
The New Small Person
Written and illustrated by Lauren Child
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Feeling jealous when a new sibling arrives, little Elmore Green becomes frustrated when the "small person" knocks over his things and licks his jelly-bean collection until a special night when their relationship changes. By the award-winning author of the Charlie and Lola series.

Little Miss, Big Sis book
#7
Little Miss, Big Sis
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Peter H Reynolds
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The big news is this—Little Miss becomes a big sis! In the perfect follow-up to Plant a Kiss, Little Miss learns the wonders of becoming a big sister as she and her family celebrate the momentous arrival of a new baby. New York Times bestselling author Amy Krouse Rosenthal and award-winning illustrator Peter H. Reynolds have teamed up once again to create a charming story about Little Miss. Little Miss, Big Sis is the perfect gift for any child becoming a big brother or sister and any expecting families!

Brave As Can Be: A Book of Courage book
#8
Brave As Can Be: A Book of Courage
Written by Jo Witek and illustrated by Christine Roussey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

From the author and illustrator of the bestselling In My Heart! The life of a toddler can be full of frightening things: the dark, the neighbor’s dog, and thunderstorms, just to name a few. As children get older, they begin to feel braver around these everyday events, but how do they build this newfound confidence? In this lyrical, insightful picture book, an older sister explains to her younger sister all the things she used to be afraid of, along with some tricks to help, whether it’s a special blanket for bedtime or singing during a storm. Now, big sister assures little sister, the fears that once felt as big as a mountain feel as minuscule as a speck of dust. This playful portrait of fear and bravery empowers young readers to confront once-scary situations and, with charming illustrations and die-cuts throughout, is also beautifully packaged. The Growing Hearts series celebrates the milestones of a toddler’s emotional development, from conquering fears and expressing feelings to welcoming a new sibling.

Flora's Very Windy Day book
#9
Flora's Very Windy Day
Written by Jeanne Birdsall and illustrated by Matt Phelan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When a big wind blows away her annoying little brother Crispin, Flora decides to save him despite the many tempting offers she gets for him from, among others, a cloud, an eagle, the man in the moon and the wind itself.

Wolfie the Bunny book
#10
Wolfie the Bunny
Written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah OHora
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Families of all kinds will delight in this sweet tale of new babies, sibling rivalry, bravery, unconditional love...and veggies! The Bunny family has adopted a wolf son, and daughter Dot is the only one who realizes Wolfie can--and might--eat them all up! Dot tries to get through to her parents, but they are too smitten to listen. A new brother takes getting used to, and when (in a twist of fate) it's Wolfie who's threatened, can Dot save the day?

Bear Likes Jam book
#11
Bear Likes Jam
Written and illustrated by Ciara Gavin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

In their blended family, Mama Duck worries when Bear eats too much jam, but when the ducklings play a game with their vegetables, Bear starts to eat the strange green things on his plate.

Poppy Louise Is Not Afraid of Anything book
#12
Poppy Louise Is Not Afraid of Anything
Written by Jenna McCarthy and illustrated by Molly Idle
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Poppy Louise Littleton is not afraid of anything . . . almost. Fans of Ladybug Girl and other girl-power heroines will fall in love with this spunky character! Poppy Louise Littleton thinks vampires are cute and mummies are funny. She’s positive a tarantula would make a perfect pet. All her imaginary friends are monsters. Is there anything that will scare her? Her sister, Petunia, is determined to find out. . . . In this inviting picture book, Jenna McCarthy brings us a new character who feels at once modern and timeless. Girls and boys will recognize themselves in Poppy Louise (and maybe sometimes in her sister, Petunia) and will gobble up Molly Idle’s deliciously cinematic spreads, which highlight the drama of Poppy Louise’s escapades.

Louise Loves Art book
#13
Louise Loves Art
Written and illustrated by Kelly Light
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

For fans of Olivia and Eloise, this stunning debut from Kelly Light is an irresistible story about the importance of creativity in all its forms. Meet Louise. Louise loves art more than anything. It's her imagination on the outside. She is determined to create a masterpiece—her pièce de résistance! Louise also loves Art, her little brother. This is their story. Louise Loves Art is a celebration of the brilliant artist who resides in all of us.

Babies Ruin Everything book
#14
Babies Ruin Everything
Written by Matthew Swanson and illustrated by Robbi Behr
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Meet the baby who ruins everything, and the big sister who learns to love him. Together, they make this laugh out loud picture book the perfect gift for new siblings and baby showers! The baby can't stand on one foot. He can't throw a Frisbee. And he can't whistle! Even big-head Benny Hogarth can whistle, and he already lost his front teeth! So says a spunky little girl who thinks her new baby brother is ruining EVERYTHING: wrecking her room, drooling all over her toys, and throwing a wrench in her birthday party plans. But when she opens her heart, this big sister realizes she might be the real problem-the baby's just a baby, after all. Maybe all he needs is a better big sister. Tall kids, small kids, and parents alike will laugh through this funny and sweet tale of learning how wonderful-and lucky-it is to have a new sibling.

Maple and Willow Together book
#15
Maple and Willow Together
Written and illustrated by Lori Nichols
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Celebrating imagination and inventive play, Lori Nichols’ follow-up to Maple perfectly captures the dynamics of siblings and their ability to figure things out on their own and find a way to meet halfway. Maple and Willow do everything together. They love playing outside throughout the whole year, welcoming the sun, rain, leaves, and snow. But it’s not always sunshine and rainbows, because sometimes big sisters can be bossy—and sometimes little sisters can be frustrating—and even the best of friends need a break from each other . . . at least until they can no longer bear to be apart.

Clara and Davie book
#16
Clara and Davie
Written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Describes how a young, shy Clara Barton loved and nurtured animals and plants before her older brother recognized Clara's gifts and encouraged her to develop her healing skills.

Martha Doesn't Share book
#17
Martha Doesn't Share
Written by Samantha Berger and illustrated by Bruce Whatley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Martha has officially mastered apologizing. Unfortunately, she still has a lot to work on when it comes to sharing. And while she doesn't learn to love it, she does discover that having her toys to herself means having to play with them all by herself, too. Not so fun! This hilarious follow-up to Martha doesn't say sorry! shows readers that sharing isn't all that bad when you take it one (small) toy at a time—like Martha does. It gets easier every day. Well, almost every day.

Best Friends for Frances book
#18
Best Friends for Frances
Written by Russell Hoban and illustrated by Lillian Hoban
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Frances doesn't think her younger sister Gloria can be her friend. Gloria is too small to throw or catch a ball. Besides, Albert is Frances's friend. But when Albert has a no-girls baseball game, Frances sets out to prove to Albert a thing or two about friendship—and a thing or two about what girls can do. Along the way, Frances discovers that sisters can indeed be friends . . . maybe even best friends. Now reillustrated in lovely soft pastels by original artist Lillian Hoban, this satisfying story of friendship is sure to have the many fans of this irresponsible badger cheering once again.

Another Brother book
#19
Another Brother
Written and illustrated by Matthew Cordell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Davy the sheep wishes he had time alone with his parents, as he did before his 12 brothers came along and started imitating his every move, but when his wish comes true, Davy misses playing with the youngsters.

Famously Phoebe book
#20
Famously Phoebe
Written by Lori Alexander and illustrated by Aurelie Blard-Quintard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Phoebe was the shining star of her family. Then someone came along to take her place. For as long as Phoebe can remember, she’s known the clickety click click of a photographer snapping her picture. Thanks to the camera-carrying “paparazzi” (aka Mom and Dad), she’s always been the star of the show . . . until the day a tiny newcomer arrives on set. Will Phoebe learn to share the spotlight and assume the role she was born to play: big sister? This sweet tale of sibling rivalry resolved is perfect for every older brother and sister.

Maggie and Wendel: Imagine Everything! book
#21
Maggie and Wendel: Imagine Everything!
Written and illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Illustrations and easy-to-read text portray a young brother and sister as they spend an afternoon imagining great adventures together.

I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato book
#22
I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato
Written and illustrated by Lauren Child
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Lola is a fussy eater. A very fussy eater. She won’t eat her carrots (until her brother Charlie reveals that they’re orange twiglets from Jupiter). She won’t eat her mashed potatoes (until Charlie explains that they’re cloud fluff from the pointiest peak of Mount Fuji). There are many things Lola won’t eat, including - and especially - tomatoes. Or will she? Two endearing siblings star in a witty story about the triumph of imagination over proclivity.

Shhh! book
#23
Shhh!
Written and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

When baby brother is sleeping, it's time to be ever so quiet. There's no singing or jumping or laughing at all. Even the toys need to be quiet! The pirates stop firing their cannons, the knights stop fighting, even the tiger stops growling. But when baby wakes up . . . it's time to jump and laugh and sing again! And the knights begin to fight, the pirates fire up the cannons, and the tiger growls so loudly! Until it's time to be quiet once again. In this beautifully and expressively illustrated picture book, we celebrate the love between siblings as a big brother uses his imagination to calm his urge to cause a ruckus so that his little brother can sleep.

Ninja Baby book
#24
Ninja Baby
Written by David Zeltser and illustrated by Diane Goode
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

From the day she was born, Nina was a ninja baby. She obliterated her applesauce. She concealed herself at bath time. And she was training herself in advanced infiltration (of movie night). Nina wants to do everything by herself, until the day her parents bring home a Kung Fu Master (a baby brother). Now with a sibling, Nina will face the one thing she cannot do alone: be part of a family. With verve and humor, David Zeltser and Diane Goode tell the story of an unusually gifted child, and the family that is more than a match for her.

Edgar and the Tattle-Tale Heart book
#25
Edgar and the Tattle-Tale Heart
Written by Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Ron Stucki
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Edgar, the mischievous toddler, accidentally breaks a statue while roughhousing with his sister, he must decide whether to tell their mother the truth--and Lenore must decide whether or not to tattle.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!