Friendship comes in many forms and is a fitting concept to introduce your children to at a young age. Whether it’s bonds with family, friends, or animals – these captivating books are sure to teach your kids valuable lessons when it comes to understanding how relationships work. They’ll discover key qualities such as empathy, loyalty, honesty, and teamwork to aid them in developing their long-lasting friendships.
What’s not to love? Dive right into our collection of perfectly tailored books that your young readers will cherish 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
Frank and Bean are certainly a most unlikely pair. In this hilarious tale, your readers will discover how these two characters embrace their differences as they come together through the power of music in this fresh and innovative take on friendship.
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”.
19. The Two Tuba Switch
In this tale of self-discovery and acceptance, Toby’s struggle is illustrated with two tubas that represent his quest for true friendship. It’s packed full of metaphorical imagery that reflects the harmony found in accepting our differences and uses music as a universal language to convey understanding and acceptance.
20. A Bird Like Himself
Using colorful illustrations of birds and animals, this heartwarming story explores friendships between those who are alike and can truly understand each other. Its whimsical narrative is sure to immerse your readers with warmth as it engages them in a sense of community and belonging.
21. Charlie’s Boat
In this adorable ode to friendship, Charlie and his friends are on a mission to build the perfect boat. With sailing as the metaphor for adventure and friendship, its whimsical style makes this tale of exploration a must-read for your learners.
22. Daisy’s Perfect Word
Will Daisy find her perfect word? Have your students flip through the pages to find out as they engage with this joyful book that’s all about emphasizing the power of empathy and human connection.
23. The Day You Begin
For a book that encapsulates the fear of being different, have your kids read “The Day You Begin”. It’s filled with beautiful metaphors all geared toward exploring what it takes to overcome fear, embrace uniqueness, and form unexpected friendships.
24. Sam & Eva
Sam and Eva have wound up in a thrilling creative clash with one another, but they soon realize that they’re better off working together as a team! This vibrant tale dives into their artistic friendship and is sure to inspire young readers to explore their creativity together.
25. Meet Yasmin!
Yasmin can overcome any tough situation with the help of a little imagination. The lively illustrations showcase the power of creativity in building friendships while providing an educational and entertaining reading experience.
26. Cyril and Pat
In this charming story of unlikely friendship, Cyril the squirrel and Pat the rat soon learn to see beyond their appearances. Through their adventures, you’re taken on a journey of self-discovery as they realize that true friendship is about embracing who we are.
27. Best Friends in the Universe
“Best Friends in the Universe” provides a fresh perspective on what makes a best friend. Hector and Louie’s friendship comes to life in this hilarious book and it’s filled with comical illustrations and playful adventures that put their friendship to the test.
28. Owl Bat Bat Owl
This wonderful wordless book is guaranteed to engage readers of all ages with its powerful message and clever illustrations. The author cleverly uses owls and bats to bring their message to life, by showing that one can always find common ground despite our differences.
29. Mango, Abuela, and Me
Cross barriers of culture and language with this endearing tale of Mia and her Abuela. With its vibrant illustrations and warm messages, it perfectly emphasizes family bonds, love, and the blending of cultures.
30. The Rainbow Fish
Treat your readers to this classic story filled with shimmering images and poetic writing. “The Rainbow Fish” delivers a wonderful message on the beauty of generosity and kindness as qualities that should resonate in any true friendship.
31. Unlikely Friends
From Disney and Pixar’s Elemental, this novel brings together two unlikely friends. One day, Ember and Wade accidentally meet, setting in motion a chain of events that eventually opens Ember’s world up to a whole new set of possibilities she never saw before.
Here’s another wordless story that follows a young bird on his journey as he learns to fly. He’s thrust from nest to sky and must quickly figure out how to use his wings in this uplifting tale that showcases the support and love between a parent and their child.
33. Lulu and the Hedgehog in the Rain
Teach your little readers about compassion and empathy with Lulu and her hedgehog! On a rainy day, Lulu loses her hedgehog and must summon her strength to track him down in this gorgeously illustrated tale that emphasizes the joy of animal companionship.
34. How to Make Friends with a Ghost
This whimsical guide offers a humorous take on friendship, with a ghostly twist. Follow along as Rebecca Green sets out a step-by-step guide on how to become friends with a ghost. Its combination of quirky writing and playful imagery adds an imaginative feel to the enduring nature of friendship.
35. Rulers of the Playground
Jonah must grapple with his title of ruler of the playground in this relatable story. Using playground politics as a metaphor for sharing and kindness, Jonah navigates his title and soon realizes that being alone isn’t as fun as making lifelong memories with friends.
36. We’re All Wonders
This critically acclaimed book follows the inspiring story of Auggie as he journeys through the world as a kid who’s a little different than others. It serves as a heartfelt reminder that everyone is unique and should be celebrated for their differences, while its compassionate theme inspires acceptance and the celebration of individuality.
37. Friends Stick Together
Rupert the rhino and Levi the tickbird’s unlikely friendship unfolds in this timeless tale. Rupert isn’t so fond of Levi when they first meet, but when Levi leaves he soon realizes that he could use a friend like Levi to brighten his days. It’s a sweet and moving story that emphasizes the importance of appreciating your friends and accepting their differences.
38. The Magical Friendship Garden
This interactive book tells the story of a mystical adoption and explores the beauty of families coming together despite their differences. It’s packed with coloring pages and engaging puzzles that will encourage your readers to explore their own relationships.
39. The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
Beekle is an imaginary friend whose only wish is to find the perfect human friendship. When he decides to set off on an adventure of his own to find just that, he’s catapulted into a journey of self-discovery as he finally finds his perfect match.
40. Tilly & Tank
This gentle story told in the form of touching illustrations, portrays the story of Tilly and Tank as they go from enemies to friends. It’s a fantastic way to teach your little ones about the value of recognizing their similarities rather than emphasizing their differences.
41. Rabbit and Robot and Ribbit
Rabbit doesn’t really like Ribbit, but in a twist of fate, they’re forced to work together to save their friend Robot. This touching tale of friendship delves into an engaging exploration of the value of trust and how it can turn the most unlikely relationships into blossoming friendships.