15 Best Books About Friendship for Children of All Ages
From smiling and looking at faces as babies to learning to talk, play, and share, children develop social skills and establish relationships early. Making friends is part of the process but sometimes comes with challenges. Books about friendship teach children about feelings, differences, acceptance, and so much more. Stories about friendship can get through to children in ways that simply talking does not. Books have pictures and messages for even our youngest readers. Children step into the pages, experience the situation, and process the message. Here are 15 Reading Boots favorite books about friendship for children of all ages.
Baby & Toddler (Ages 0-3)
But Not the Hippopotamus, Sandra Boynton. In this charming board book, pairs of friends join together in different activities while a shy hippopotamus feels left out. The catchy rhymes and repetitive phrase will keep children engaged in the book.
The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear, Don and Audrey Wood. This playful book follows a mouse who works hard to hide his strawberry from a hungry bear, but he discovers the best way may be to share it with a friend. The book is easy to follow and fun for young children to act out.
Making Friends (Just Like Us), Jess Stockholm. With colorful pictures and flaps to lift, this interactive book shows even the youngest readers how animals interact and play with one another just like we do.
Mine! A Counting Book About Sharing, Caryn Rivadeneira. Mine, mine, mine is a common problem for young children until they realize the value of sharing. This book uses simple phrases to introduce counting, numbers, sharing, and friendship to the youngest readers.
Emergent & Beginning Reader (Ages 3-6)
Little Blue Truck, Alice Schertle. What’s not to love about a book with farm animals, trucks, and rhymes? In this book, the little blue truck teaches an impatient dump truck about the importance of friends and being nice to others. Available as a board book, this is a cute book with animal noises, sounds, and catchy phrases for children of all ages.
Duck & Goose, Goose Needs a Hug, Tad Hills. The Duck & Goose series uses colorful, detailed pictures and simple language so even the youngest readers can follow along with the story. In this story, Goose is sad and his friends try different ideas to cheer him up until they realize he simply needs a hug.
Leonardo, the Terrible Monster, Mo Willems. Monsters are supposed to be good at scaring, and Leonardo wants to succeed. He finds he may be terrible at scaring but great at being a friend. This books uses simple wording and images to send clear message about friendship.
Boy + Bot, Ame Dyckman. Also available as a board book, this book introduces us to the friendship between a boy and a robot, showing us that friends come in all shapes, sizes, and types. When each seems to be hurt, the reader sees how far a friend will go to take care of or help the another.
My Cousin Momo, Zachariah O’Hora. Momo is a flying squirrel who is shy and plays weird games. His cousins are not sure about him until they realize that doing something different is fun and so is making a new friend. With quirky, yet heartfelt illustrations and simple wording, children of all ages will follow along and learn about accepting themselves and others.
How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends, Jane Yolen. Children will get a laugh as the dinosaurs discover the right and wrong ways to interact with friends. The How Do Dinosaurs… series uses silly rhymes to engage children but still gives a clear message on how to play with friends.
Yo! Yes?, Chris Raschka. This book uses just 34 words and bright pictures to clearly portray the tale of friendship between two boys who meet on the street. A tentative offer of friendship leads to excitement.
Intermediate Reader (Ages 6-8)
My Friend is Sad (An Elephant and Piggie Book), Mo Willems. No one wants a friend to be upset, but Elephant Gerald is sad. Piggie has to figure out how to make him happy. Simple phrases and photos make it easy for early readers to understand this story.
Strictly No Elephants, Lisa Mantchev. Excluded from a club because of his pet elephant, a little boy meets refuses to leave his friend behind. He joins another child to start their club in which all children and animals are welcome. Short sentences and colorful pictures make this a good book for early readers as they learn about accepting others regardless of their differences.
The Rainbow Fish, Marcus Pfister. A beautifully colored fish becomes lonely after refusing to share just one of his prized scales. He discovers the joy of giving and of friendship when he learns how to share and to be a friend. Readers of all ages will like the colorful pictures and will understand the clear message of friendship.
Square Cat, Elizabeth Schoonmaker. Being square is hard and Eula does not like being different. Her friends try to cheer her up, make themselves square, and help her discover her own uniqueness. With colorful images and short, simple sentences, early readers enjoy reading about Eula’s journey to fit in and accept herself.
Snuggle up with your child and dive into the diverse world of friendships.
Get your Reading Boots on and enjoy the journey!