If you have young children, you are probably always on the look out for new picture books, and the Cybils Awards nominee lists can be a useful reference. This time around, I’d like to share some 2010 nominees that make for fabulous reading with children who are going to be welcoming a new baby into the family or who are already embodying that big sister or brother role.
When first informing a child of an impending baby, he or she is bound to be full of questions. John Burningham’s There’s Going to Be a Baby presents the conversations one mom has with her toddler over the months of her pregnancy, which involve many queries about what the baby will be like. Helen Oxenbury’s classic-feeling illustrations portray the funny possibilities of the new baby’s adventures. Soon-to-be siblings will giggle at the silliness and be reassured of the fun that will be had (eventually) by becoming a big brother or sister.
Eventually those baby siblings get a little older, bringing along a whole new set of issues to deal with. Once Upon a Baby, by Sarah Sullivan, will surely resonate with older siblings who experience the shift of attention that comes with a baby in the family. Lizzie feels this full force with her baby brother Marvin, whose adorable baby mischief regularly leaves her parents unable to stop and listen to the stories she makes up. When her mother and brother take a short trip, Lizzie finds that her ability to make up elaborate tales has vanished… and she soon realizes that baby brothers may need a lot of attention, but they also serve as fantastic muses!
Lastly, Jeanne Birdsall has created the ultimate frustrated big sister in the title character of Flora’s Very Windy Day. Flora’s little brother Crispin (great names, huh??) is always getting into her things, so when their mother sends them outside on a windy day, Flora thinks it might not be such a bad thing if the wind happens to carry Crispin away. Surprised when this actually does begin to happen, Flora senses her brother’s fear and decides to accompany him on what turns out to be an adventure across the sky. Flora’s frustration gives way to her love for Crispin as she protects him time and again. As in all of these books, the complexities of being an older sibling are affirmed, making them meaningful books to read with big brothers and sisters.
If you’re looking for more picture books that have been nominated this year, please visit the Fiction Picture Book page and browse the titles. The finalists will be announced on January 1, and I hope to share more from my growing pile in the coming weeks.
Dawn’s fascination with picture books is indulged each and every day with her kids. Their adventures, bookish and not, can be found at my thoughts exactly.