Friendship books for kids are the topic of our blog post today!
friendship is one of those themes that never goes stale. Whether we’re 5 or 50, the importance of having genuine friends around us is an invaluable asset in our lives. Today, I’m rolling up my sleeves to dig deep into some children’s books that provide not just entertainment but also some life lessons on the nature and importance of friendship.
These friendship books for kids tackle everything—from the emotional whirlwind of having a friend move away to standing up against bullies and learning how to set boundaries. let’s explore these literary gems that teach kids the ABCs of friendship.
Friendship Books for Kids
Here are our top picks for friendship books for kids:
1. The Someone New, by Jill Twiss
Jitterbug the chipmunk loves her routine, her friends, and her woods. But when Pudding the snail slimes into her territory, Jitterbug is apprehensive about embracing this new presence. Could this little snail really turn her world upside down?
Through heartfelt conversations and a little nudge from her friends, Jitterbug learns that kindness has the power to dispel fear and make room for new relationships. The author, Jill Twiss, delicately weaves this lesson into a charming story that every child can relate to. It’s a beautiful reminder that we can all be a ‘someone new’ in someone else’s life. Plus, if you’re a fan of beautifully illustrated children’s books, EG Keller doesn’t disappoint.
Related: Best Friendship Quotes
2. The Hike, by Alison Farrell
This book takes me back to my own childhood hikes and the feeling of adventure that comes from exploring your local environment. The Hike is a treasure trove of an outdoor adventure, celebrated through the eyes of three young girls: Wren, El, and Hattie. Each brings her own talent to the expedition—be it sketching, poetry, or keen observation.
Not only do they immerse themselves in nature, they also learn important life skills like problem-solving and teamwork. What’s exceptional is the book’s extra mile in educational value. It includes a glossary and various labels identifying plants and animals, giving little adventurers a lesson in biology without even realizing it. Teachers would love this for incorporating STEM into storytime.
3. The Kindest Red: A Story of Hijab and Friendship, by Ibtihaj Muhammad and S. K. Ali
Picture day at school is an event, isn’t it? For Faizah, it’s extra special thanks to her red dress and matching hair ribbons. However, she notices that she and her hijab-wearing sister, Asiya, don’t quite “match” like other siblings do. This sequel to The Proudest Blue takes us on a journey through the school day, where kindness takes center stage.
Faizah learns that the small and large acts of kindness she and her classmates engage in make a world of difference. The moral of the story here? Kindness has a ripple effect, extending beyond the walls of a classroom or the confines of a school. The cultural perspectives offered in this book are invaluable for helping kids understand diversity and inclusion.
4. Walter Had a Best Friend, by Deborah Underwood
Friendship changes, and that’s one of those hard-to-swallow life pills. Walter and Xavier are best buddies until Xavier finds a new friend, leaving Walter to navigate feelings of loneliness, confusion, and even anger. Sounds pretty grown-up for a children’s book, but that’s the beauty of it—it tackles emotions that kids experience but often don’t understand.
By the end, Walter meets Ollie, a new potential friend, showing kids that when one door closes, another one opens. It’s a touching story that resonates with anyone who’s had a best friend move on but found unexpected joy in a new connection. I feel this book can offer solace and guidance to children (and hey, maybe some adults, too) who are grappling with friendship changes.
5. Friends Are Friends Forever, by Dane Liu
This touching picture book taps into the emotional richness of friendships and goodbyes, particularly in the context of immigration. Set against the backdrop of a snowy Lunar New Year’s Eve in Northeastern China, young Dandan must say farewell to her best friend, Yueyue, before moving to America.
As a parting gift, Yueyue gives Dandan red paper and thread to continue their tradition of crafting paper-cut snowflakes. Alone in her new home, Dandan longs for a friend to share this sentimental gift. The story elegantly tackles the essence of friendship, migration, and the beauty of carrying traditions over borders.
6. Social Skills Activities for Kids, by Natasha Daniels
Who says learning social skills can’t be fun? This book by Natasha Daniels provides a toolbox of 50 interactive exercises designed for children aged 6 to 10. With real-world scenarios that include decoding body language and handling social media responsibly, the book offers young readers practical tips on making and keeping friends.
Reminds me of the time I used ice-breaker games in my classroom to teach the nuances of communication. The activities range from games and fill-in-the-blank exercises to reflective prompts, making it versatile and engaging.
7. The Kids’ Book of Friends: How to Make Friends and Be a Friend, by Catherine Stephenson
This is a must-read for kiddos aged 3 to 8 who are navigating the world of friendships. The book delves into how to be a friend, how friendships change, and how to build social and life skills like empathy and kindness.
The July 2023 edition, based on reader feedback, incorporates practical examples and activity pages for kids to complete with an adult. It offers an excellent platform for sparking conversations about kids’ emotional and social lives, a resource I wish I had when discussing friendship dynamics in class.
8. How to Be a Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them, by Laurie Krasny Brown
With charming dinosaur illustrations, this timeless guide explores the A to Z of friendship. It teaches kids about the value of friendship, ways to make friends, and how to deal with challenges like bullies. Given its publication in 2001, it’s interesting to note how its lessons still resonate today, illustrating that the fundamentals of friendship are relatively constant over time.
Laurie Krasny Brown provides easy-to-understand concepts that would be ideal for a family discussion or classroom setting, a lot like reading a social manual with a prehistoric twist.
9. Old Friends, by Margaret Aitken
Old Friends is a delightful picture book that delves into intergenerational friendships and challenges the notion that friends must be the same age to share interests. Marjorie, a young girl, is on a quest for a friend who shares her love for baking shows, knitting, and gardening.
She attempts to blend in at a local Senior Citizens Group but soon finds that being herself is the best approach. The story is an ode to authenticity and shows that friendships can span generations. This book would be a fantastic read-aloud, especially when discussing the many shapes and forms friendship can take.
10. Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away, by Meg Medina
Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away is a poignant story that touches on the themes of friendship and change. Authored by Newbery Medalist Meg Medina, it centers on two inseparable friends, Evelyn and Daniela, who live across the street from each other.
Their friendship takes a turn when Evelyn has to move away, and they spend their last day together playing amid moving boxes. The story skillfully explores the mixed emotions that come with saying goodbye and keeping promises to stay in touch. The illustrations by Sonia Sánchez add layers of vibrancy to this emotionally-rich urban setting. For anyone who’s had to navigate the complexities of maintaining a friendship through life’s inevitable changes, this book strikes a chord.
11. The Not-So-Friendly Friend, by Christina Furnival
The Not-So-Friendly Friend serves as a guide for kids and parents dealing with tricky social dynamics. The book explores how to manage complex peer relationships and addresses topics such as bullying and setting boundaries.
Using rhyme and engaging storytelling, it offers practical tips for standing up against unkind behavior. It’s like a toolbox for emotional and social intelligence, especially valuable in today’s world where kids face an array of social challenges.
12. Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship, by Edward Hemingway
Bad Apple explores the friendship between Mac, an apple, and Will, a worm, in a society that deems their friendship as “rotten.” Edward Hemingway’s storytelling perfectly captures the essence of standing up against social norms and labels. The lesson? Sometimes it takes courage to choose companionship over societal acceptance.
The book serves as an important reminder that labeling people based on their friends can perpetuate a culture of exclusion. So, while it might be an apple and a worm breaking barriers in the story, the real-life implications are far-reaching.
13. A Friend Is Someone Who, by Marilee Joy Mayfield
A Friend Is Someone Who is a fun, rhyming picture book that dives into the magical world of friendship. Marilee Joy Mayfield crafts a heartfelt narrative around kindness, inclusion, and lifelong connections. It’s more than just a story; it’s a guide for kids, teaching them how friendships are formed and sustained through acts of kindness and support.
The illustrations add another layer to the storytelling, making it an enjoyable read while also serving as an educational tool. From best friends to siblings to pets, the book explores different kinds of friendships, affirming that a little spot of kindness can go a long way in forming lasting bonds.
14. Little Blue Truck Makes a Friend, by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry
Little Blue Truck Makes a Friend is a delightful installment in the New York Times bestselling Little Blue Truck series. The farm animals are all curious about a new arrival, and Little Blue Truck helps his friends navigate their questions and uncertainties.
The story promotes inclusivity and curiosity, teaching children that friendship can arise from the most unexpected places. It’s a lovely read for young ones, especially those who are learning to navigate friendships in new social settings like school or daycare.
15. Teach Your Dragon to Make Friends, by Steve Herman
This imaginative tale about teaching your pet dragon to make friends is more than just adorable—it’s instructional. Through the lens of dragon-ownership, the story touches on the importance of friendship and social skills. Children will relate to the dragon’s feelings of loneliness and the desire for companionship.
The book’s takeaway is simple but impactful: making friends is an art that requires kindness, understanding, and sometimes, a bit of courage. Definitely a must-read for kiddos to understand the finer points of forming and sustaining friendships.
This list of friendship books for kids brings together stories that offer a gentle, yet meaningful, exploration of friendship in all its forms. From dealing with loneliness and setting boundaries to embracing change and being kind, these books are a treasure trove of life lessons for our young readers. And hey, let’s not kid ourselves; even us grown-ups could stand to be reminded of these fundamentals once in a while.
These are more than just stories; they’re conversation starters for you and your young ones, providing you with the language and context to discuss complex emotions and situations. So, go ahead, crack open one of these titles the next time you’re with your kids. You’ll be equipping them with insights that will last a lifetime.