12 Best Kids Books About Friendship
If you’ve ever watched kids interacting on a playground, you know that navigating the unwritten rules of friendship can be tricky. Agreeing on what to play, taking turns, being inclusive, and not being a sore loser…these things are hard and take practice!
That’s why we love these books about friendship for kids. Young readers learn by example, absorbing the lessons that will help them forge meaningful relationships in the real world. Here are 12 engaging (and stealthily informative) books that teach kids how to be a good friend.
At first, the best friendship between ducklings Gossie and Gertie seems imbalanced, with the bossier Gossie calling the shots and Gertie happily following her all over their farm. But their power dynamic shifts when Gertie eschews jumping in the mud to instead chase a butterfly. From this book about friendship, toddlers learn that it’s okay to take turns being in charge.
A strong-willed boy and girl can’t agree on what to play. Emotions run high as he rejects her royal princess circus fantasy while she refuses to be a dinosaur, wolf or race car. At an impasse, they shout, “I don’t want to play with you!” Can they turn the playdate around before it’s over? All it takes is a little creativity.
Gerald the elephant treasures his BFF Piggie, so naturally he’s a bit jealous when she starts spending time with a new pal named Brian Bat. After suffering much anxiety, Gerald is relieved to learn that making new friends doesn’t diminish the relationships you already have. It can even make them better.
It’s hard when a new friend comes over to play and wants to touch all your toys! When Llama and Gnu get into a tug-of-war over a favorite stuffed animal, it nearly ends in disaster. (Thank goodness for Mama’s sewing kit). Learning to share takes practice, and it helps to read about it in a book about friendship!
Hippos George and Martha are friends for life, but they still have their share of troubles. Martha won’t let George read her diary. George is too busy practicing headstands to play with Martha. Yet the kind-hearted pals are brilliant at moving forward without a grudge. We could all learn something from George and Martha!
In this book about friendship, the mean girls at school don’t approve of Sadie’s hand-me-down wardrobe, which is one reason she’s excited to get a brand, new pair of sparkly silver shoes. When she accidentally loses one of her new shoes in the river, it leads her to an unexpected friendship with the kindred soul who finds it. True friendship is never about fitting in—it’s about finding your people.
How do you vanquish your number one neighborhood enemy? By feeding him home-baked “enemy pie.” Or at least, that’s how one very clever father tricks his son into befriending his sworn enemy in this delightful book about friendship for kids.
Frog is upbeat and optimistic. Toad is kind of a grump. But when they’re together, they can work through any problem in this series of funny and surprising stories about friendship.
Amos McGee is no ordinary zookeeper. He takes time out of his busy day to play chess with elephant, run races with the tortoise and sit quietly with the shy penguin. When Amos takes ill, his animal friends travel to his home to nurse him back to health and keep him company. It’s a touching portrait of kindness and how the little things matter.
A little boy discovers he is not welcome at the kids’ clubhouse due to his tiny pet elephant. He meets a girl who has likewise been excluded for having a pet skunk. They decide to form their own club, but instead of making it exclusive, their sign reads “All are welcome.” It turns out it’s way more fun to let people (and animals) in than to shut them out.
The new girl in school is embarrassed when the kids have trouble pronouncing her Korean name. She contemplates swapping it for a more American-sounding moniker until a classmate shows her how a true friend accepts and appreciates you for who you are.
If you’re looking for more of a literal friendship manual, this book is full of great tips, like being kind, helpful and open to working through problems. Throughout the animal-populated picture book, the seesaw is a metaphor for keeping friendships in balance. Being sulky or bossy or hurtful can upset the seesaw, whereas talking about feelings or taking a much-needed break can restore the balance.
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