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. 

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 might Lilly feel about the 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: What does family mean to you? What are some things we do for one another because we are family?

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. How did Lilly's feelings change over time?

CONNECT: What behaviors toward family are similar to how we treat people in our community? Do your actions matter to the larger community?


  1. 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 benefits of rules and what happens when we don't follow them.
  2. Draw a picture of your family helping (or sharing something with) each other. Talk about ways that family members support each other.
  3. 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.
  4. Try this Simple Safe Service from Learning to Give. The "Family Donation Decision" activity brings together passions and heart for doing good.

Links & Attachments