Friendship and what that means is such an important concept to learn at a young age. There are all types of friendships with family, peers, and animals that teach us lessons we can use to understand how relationships work. Some qualities friendship can help foster are sharing, loyalty, honesty, and compassion.
Here are 18 of our favorite books about friendship that your young readers will love and hopefully let their friends borrow!
1. Enemy Pie
This charming book has a beautiful message about giving everyone a chance and the power of kindness. When a young boy Jeremy moves into the neighborhood and isn't the nicest we learn that the best way to deal with an enemy is with respect and friendship.
2. Leonardo, The Terrible Monster
Leonardo's job is to be a terribly terrifying monster to everybody he sees, but he is not very good at it. He has been told that frightening people is the most important thing, but by a chance encounter, he discovers that friendship can be even more rewarding. Is he up for the challenge?
3. Circle Round
This simple story of inclusion and acceptance can bring your whole school together through the power of kindness. At the park, one child invites another to come to play, then they invite another, and soon there is a whole group of kids playing together from diverse backgrounds, genders, and abilities.
4. In a Jar
What can we capture in a jar? Some of the best things in life are hard to grasp, such as love and friendship. This darling story is about two little bunny friends who enjoy collecting memories in their jars. Smells, rainbows, laughter...can they keep these memories and their friendship strong when one has to move away?
5. Frank and Bean
6. 48 Grasshopper Estates
Sicily has many talents, one, in particular, is finding treasure in other people's trash and making something wonderful out of nothing. Unfortunately, her skills have not helped her make a friend in her neighborhood yet. Her sweet story of imagination and sharing will teach us all about the struggles of making friends, and just how rewarding it can be.
7. The Shadow Elephant
This relevant book about empathy, emotional awareness, and comforting friends stars a depressed elephant who is trying to process his negative emotions and not feel bad about feeling bad. His friend, a little mouse, provides an excellent example of how to be there for someone and not feel the need to fix or change how they feel.
8. All About Friends
Colorfully illustrated and filled with informative insights into talking about friendship with kids, this picture book can be a great tool to start classroom conversations about friendship challenges and the many forms friendship takes.
9. Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away
This award-winning book about friendship covers the unfortunate reality of a best friend moving away. Maybe you've experienced it yourself, the fear of losing someone and missing the connection you once had. Evelyn and Daniela tackle this difficult aspect of friendship in this touching story set in the streets of their big-city neighborhood.
10. My Best Friend
This best-selling classic and adorably cute story of two young girls who are each other's first best friends will uplift your mood and remind you of your first companion. This book about friendship encourages sharing, laughter, and kindness and would be a great addition to your classroom library.
11. Bikes for Sale
Some friendships are meant to be. Maurice and Lotta both love riding their bikes, and their usual routes are just a block away from each other. All it takes is a few coincidences for the two to meet and start an exciting new friendship with lots of fun and adventures.
12. The Someone New
This is one of our favorite friendship books because it discusses the fear we may face when a new person comes into our lives and we don't want things to change. In the forest, there is a group of animal friends that are happy with things the way they are, especially jitterbug the chipmunk. Can they be kind and accept a new member (a little snail named Puddle) into their woods and into their lives?
13. A Friend for Henry
This inclusive and informative friendship book tells the relatable story of young Henry, who has autism. He has his quirks, but don't we all? He is looking for a friend that can understand his need for order and consistency, and maybe even see things the same way as he does. This is a great book for classroom teachers to have their students read to initiate open and honest conversations with friends about our unique differences and gifts.
14. On the Night of the Shooting Star
Two reclusive neighbors Bunny and Dog have never talked to one another, even though they've lived next to each other for a long time. This all changes when one night they both see a shooting star in the sky and go outside for a better look. Will this chance encounter be the beginning of a new friendship?
15. We Laugh Alike/Juntos nos reímos
This amazing book of friendship is bilingual with some simple phrases in Spanish because 3 of the main characters speak Spanish. Can friendship blossom between people of different cultures and languages? Kindness, respect, and laughter help! This educational picture book is a great tool to start important conversations about acceptance and inclusivity inside the classroom and at home.
16. Don't Hug Doug: (He Doesn't Like It)
Doug doesn't like hugs, and he's not the only one! This concept book touches on the subjects of consent and bodily autonomy in a world that is just starting to understand and embrace it (or high-five it!). A lovely story of acceptance and respecting boundaries.
17. Little Blue and Little Yellow
This simple and darling book about friendship tells the beautiful story of true friends, Little Yellow and Little Blue as they lose and find each other. They are so happy to be reunited that they hug one another so closely they turn green, will they ever truly be separate again?
18. How to Apologize
There comes a time in every friendship when someone does something wrong and needs to apologize. Here is a cute and beloved book for kids that gives many illustrative examples of different situations where you should say "I'm sorry".