Julius: The Baby of the World Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
K, 1, 2, 3
by Kevin Henkes - A guide for parents, teachers, and group leaders to accompany the reading of this picture book. The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions. Choose from activities and discussion questions to build children's understanding of generosity, community, and service to others. Spanish Version Attached.
Younger children may often be the center of attention in the perspective of an older child, or younger children may feel left out when older children get to do things because they are more capable. No one’s life is perfect, and sometimes it takes an outsider to call attention to that fact. In Julius: Baby of the World, Lilly torments her baby brother mercilessly until an outsider criticizes him, then Lilly becomes his fiercest protector. This funny story will help families talk about issues such as sibling rivalry, families supporting each other, and new family members. Lilly is a loveable and spirited child who tackles issues that many children can identify with. Enjoy her creative attempts to steal back her parents as you read and discuss this story.

Before Reading

ASK: Have you ever been frustrated by a younger sibling or other younger child? What bothered you about the child? Have you ever felt protective of a younger child? Why did the child need your protection?

SHOW: Look at the pictures on the pages before the story begins. How does Lilly feel about a new baby?

CONNECT: What do you think a family needs to do to get ready for a new baby in the house? .

During Reading

ASK: What is Lilly’s problem after Julius is born? How do you think she will try to solve her problem? Will her attempts work? Why or why not?

SHOW: Look at the pictures of Lilly in the uncooperative chair. Why is she in that chair and how does she try to get out?

CONNECT: How do you feel when you go to time out? Do you ever go to time out because of how you acted with a brother or sister?

After Reading

ASK: Why did Lilly change her mind about Julius? What does her family mean to her? What does she do to support Julius?

SHOW: Look at the pictures again. Predict then count how many times different things happen, such as Lilly is sent to time out, her parents admire Julius, and Lilly says, “disgusting..

CONNECT: How should you act around babies? Should you treat younger children differently than you treat children your own age?


  1. Talk about experiences with babies. An older sibling may share memories of his or her baby brother or sister. What makes babies fun and what makes them difficult to have around?
  2. Talk about what Lilly did wrong. Discuss what she might have done instead. How did her parents respond to her behavior? Did they do the right thing?
  3. Older brothers and sisters are sometimes asked to look after or play with younger siblings when parents are busy. Is this a reasonable family expectation? Can this be considered an act of philanthropy? Discuss the definition of philanthropy (the giving or sharing of time, talent, or treasure for the common good). What benefits are there—for the individual, the family, and the common good—to looking after younger brothers and sisters?
  4. Often families have rules about how children should act and what they should do to help out at home. Talk about your family rules. If they aren’t already in writing, write them down and talk about the consequences for breaking rules.
  5. Draw a picture of your family helping (or sharing something with) each other. Talk about ways that family members support each other.
  6. Creative writing: Work together to write a story about family members working together to solve a problem. Plan the story as a family. Have one person write the ideas of the other family members. Write the story, accepting everyone’s ideas. Then go back and take out sentences or ideas that don’t fit. Fix up the spelling and sentences as you type the story, add pictures, and staple on a cover. Read the story together and put it in your bookshelf along with your other published books. Use the following guidelines to plan the story. (Characters may be talking animals.)
      • Main character:
      • Other characters:
      • Setting (where/when it takes place):
      • Problem:
      • One attempt to solve the problem:
      • Solution:
      • Ending:
  7. Lilly loves to play dress up. Have fun playing dress up as a family. Use old clothes, scarves, hats, purses, jewelry, and other props to turn each other into fun characters.

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