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Best Friends: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about best friends?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to best friends. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about best friends.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about best friends, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Dream Machine to popular sellers like Anne of Green Gables (Puffin in Bloom) to some of our favorite hidden gems like Stick and Stone.

We hope this list of kids books about best friends can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Top 10 Books About Best Friends

Anne of Green Gables (Puffin in Bloom) book
#1
Anne of Green Gables (Puffin in Bloom)
Written by L.M. Montgomery
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Anne’s cherished friendship with Diana, her “bosom friend” will forever change a reader’s view of friendship!

chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Puffin in Bloom is a charming assortment of classic novels with coming-of-age themes, aimed at the young reader. Bond, a stationary artist with Rifle Paper Co. renowned for her floral patterns, puts her signature touch on the covers in this line, because just as a flower blossoms, a young child comes into her own.

Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear book
#2
Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear
Written & illustrated by Monica Carnesi
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This book about best friends bunny and bear is a perfect example of a great friendship! There’s some humor involved, as well as beautiful illustrations that really add to the story. I love that bunny doesn’t despair when she realized she’ll have to spend the winter without bear, but she instead focuses on spending her time alone creating something fun for them to enjoy together once bear wakes up. :)

picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Beatrice & Bear meet one spring day and become best buddies. They play together through summer and fall. Then winter comes and Beatrice can’t find Bear anywhere. She hears he’s gone to hibernate — but where on earth is that? When Beatrice learns that hibernation is not a place and that Bear will be sleeping all winter long, she fears it will be a lonely season…unless she can come up with a brilliant plan. This delightful story of an irrepressible bunny will engage readers on many levels as it celebrates creativity, making the best of circumstances, and the joy of the changing seasons.

My Friend Maggie book
#3
My Friend Maggie
Written & illustrated by Hannah Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“Paula and Maggie are best friends until Paula starts playing with some new friends instead, but when her new playmates turn on her, it’s Maggie who rushes to Paula’s defense”

Brave Enough for Two book
#4
Brave Enough for Two
Written & illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

The illustrations in this book are delightful and I especially love how Olive’s hair is drawn! Olive and Hoot are fast friends, “but as you know, best friends don’t always like the same thing,” but they do trust each other completely. Even though Olive doesn’t feel as brave as Hoot, she joins him first on a balloon adventure and then on a boat adventure before it becomes Olive’s turn to be the brave one and lead the way home. The true friendship and comradery that exists between them is authentic and wonderful.

picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

In the spirit of “Goodnight Moon” and “The Night Gardener” comes a heartwarming picture book about a little girl, her stuffed-animal owl, and their loving friendship from debut author-illustrator Voss. Full color.

Stick and Stone book
#5
Stick and Stone
Written by Beth Ferry & illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, the pair becomes fast friends. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favor? Author Beth Ferry makes a memorable debut with a warm, rhyming text that includes a subtle anti-bullying message even the youngest reader will understand. New York Times bestselling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld imbues Stick and Stone with energy, emotion, and personality to spare.

    In this funny story about kindness and friendship, Stick and Stone join George and Martha, Frog and Toad, and Elephant and Piggie, as some of the best friend duos in children’s literature.
Hopper and Wilson book
#6
Hopper and Wilson
Written & illustrated by Maria van Lieshout
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

As Hopper and Wilson set out on their adventure they are not afraid of anything. Their sight is completely set on the good that could be at the end of the world. I love this optimism. When they come across some trouble they don’t hide or shrink, they look for a solution. This book gives the reader hope in friendships and a reason to focus on the good in the world and to not let worry sneak in.

board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A playful tale about friendship and home

“What,” Hopper asks his little friend Wilson, “do you think it’s like at the end of the world?” Hopper, the blue elephant, imagines a staircase to the moon, while Wilson, the yellow mouse, hopes for an endless supply of lemonade. So the two sail off in a boat made of paper . . . only to discover they already have everything they could wish for in each other, and at home. Maria van Lieshout’s adorable new picture book tugs at heartstrings, inspires discussion, and reminds us all how good returning home can feel.

Caleb and Kit book
#7
Caleb and Kit
Written by Beth Vrabel
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From award-winning author Beth Vrabel comes a powerfully moving story about a magical friendship, coping with disability, and the pains of growing up and growing apart. Twelve-year-old Caleb is shorter, frailer, and more protected than most kids his age. That’s because he has cystic fibrosis, a diagnosis meaning lungs that fill with mucus and a shortened lifespan. Caleb tries not to let his disorder define him, but it can be hard with an overprotective mom and a perfect big brother. Then Caleb meets Kit—a vibrant, independent, and free girl—and his world changes instantly. Kit reads Caleb’s palm and tells him they are destined to become friends. She calls birds down from the sky and turns every day into an adventure. Her magic is contagious, making Caleb question the rules and order in his life. But being Kit’s friend means embracing deception and danger, and soon Caleb will have to decide if his friendship with Kit is really what’s best for him—or her. This new paperback edition includes a Q&A with the author as well as a sneak peek at Beth Vrabel’s next middle grade novel, The Humiliations of Pipi McGee.

The Perfect Picnic book
#8
The Perfect Picnic
Written by Ciara Flood
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A hilarious story from the author of Those Pesky Rabbits about friendship, perfectionists, and losing your sandwiches.

Squirrel and Mole are the best of friends, and they do everything together, including going on picnics. But while Mole doesn’t really mind where they have a picnic, Squirrel is very determined that this picnic will be PERFECT, and that means finding the perfect place. But does such a thing exist?

The Infinity Year of Avalon James book
#9
The Infinity Year of Avalon James
Written by Dana Middleton
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Avalon James and Atticus Brightwell have a secret—one that they aren’t allowed to discuss with anyone. This secret is shared between two best friends. When you and your best friend turn ten years old magical things are said to happen. You both will receive some kind of magical power. It can be a power you can call on time and time again. Or it can be a power that comes once when you need it most. It’s your Infinity Year and the possibilities are endless.

The past year hasn’t been great with her family being torn apart and bullying at school, so Avalon is depending on her magical ability to appear soon and help. With the clock ticking and her eleventh birthday approaching, which would be the end of her powers, Avalon’s hopes are running high. Will she and Atticus get the powers they so desperately want and need?

Dana Middleton’s debut novel is a wonderfully enchanting story of the possibility of magic and the even more magical bond between two best friends.

Quinny & Hopper book
#10
Quinny & Hopper
Written by Adriana Brad Schanen & illustrated by Greg Swearingen
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Quinny and Hopper show that opposites do attract—these best friends are different but their differences complement one another to create loads of fun moments of friendship. One of my favorite parts of this book is the inclusion of peer pressure to have the “right” friends and how these two surpass that.

chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Quinny has a lot to say. Hopper gets to the point.

Quinny has one speed: very, very, extra-very fast. Hopper proceeds with caution.

Quinny has big ideas. Hopper has smart solutions.

Quinny and Hopper couldn’t be more different. They are an unstoppable team.

But when summer ends, things suddenly aren’t the same. Can Quinny and Hopper stick together in the face of stylish bullies, a killer chicken, and the brand-new Third Grade Rules-especially the one that says they aren’t allowed to be friends anymore?

Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Best Friends and...

Books About Best Friends and Imagination

We Forgot Brock!
Written & illustrated by Carter Goodrich
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Phillip and Brock are best friends, although everyone else thinks Brock is imaginary, so when Phillip gets tired out at the Big Fair while Brock is still having fun, they are separated and it will take a very special twosome to bring them back together again.

Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear
Written & illustrated by Monica Carnesi
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This book about best friends bunny and bear is a perfect example of a great friendship! There’s some humor involved, as well as beautiful illustrations that really add to the story. I love that bunny doesn’t despair when she realized she’ll have to spend the winter without bear, but she instead focuses on spending her time alone creating something fun for them to enjoy together once bear wakes up. :)

picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Beatrice & Bear meet one spring day and become best buddies. They play together through summer and fall. Then winter comes and Beatrice can’t find Bear anywhere. She hears he’s gone to hibernate — but where on earth is that? When Beatrice learns that hibernation is not a place and that Bear will be sleeping all winter long, she fears it will be a lonely season…unless she can come up with a brilliant plan. This delightful story of an irrepressible bunny will engage readers on many levels as it celebrates creativity, making the best of circumstances, and the joy of the changing seasons.

Brave Enough for Two
Written & illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

The illustrations in this book are delightful and I especially love how Olive’s hair is drawn! Olive and Hoot are fast friends, “but as you know, best friends don’t always like the same thing,” but they do trust each other completely. Even though Olive doesn’t feel as brave as Hoot, she joins him first on a balloon adventure and then on a boat adventure before it becomes Olive’s turn to be the brave one and lead the way home. The true friendship and comradery that exists between them is authentic and wonderful.

picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

In the spirit of “Goodnight Moon” and “The Night Gardener” comes a heartwarming picture book about a little girl, her stuffed-animal owl, and their loving friendship from debut author-illustrator Voss. Full color.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The 91-Story Treehouse - New York Times-bestselling team Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton invite readers to come hang out with them in their 91-Story Treehouse—the seventh book in the illustrated chapter book series filled with Andy and Terry’s signature slapstick humor! Andy and Terry live in a 91-story treehouse. (It used to be a 78-story treehouse, but they keep getting ideas for new stories!) It has a submarine sandwich shop that serves sandwiches the size of actual submarines, an air-traffic control tower, a human pinball machine, a spin-and-win prize wheel, a giant spider web—with a giant spider!— and a big red button, which they’re not sure whether to push or not because they can’t remember what it does. Good thing there’s so many fun things to do in the treehouse, because Andy and Terry get stuck babysitting Mr. Big Nose’s three grandchildren for the day. After all, how much trouble could they possibly get into in just one day?

  2. The 78-Story Treehouse - Andy and Terry live in a 78-story treehouse. (It used to be a 65-story treehouse, but they just keep building more levels!) It has a drive-thru car wash, a courtroom with a robot judge called Edward Gavelhead, a scribbletorium, a combining machine, an ALL-BALL sports stadium, a high-security potato chip storage facility, and an open-air movie theatre with a super-giant screen . . . which is a very useful thing to have now that Terry’s going to be a big-shot movie star! After Andy gets cut out of the movie, he and Terry have a big fight and decide they don’t want to be best friends anymore. But with a herd of sneaky spy cows out to steal all their story ideas, can Andy and Terry make up before it’s too late?

  3. Harold & Hog Pretend For Real! - Hog is careful. Harold is not. Harold cannot help smiling. Hog can. Hog worries so that Harold does not have to. Harold and Hog are best friends. But can Harold and Hog’s friendship survive a game of pretending to be Elephant & Piggie?

  4. Ella and Penguin Stick Together - Sometimes all you need is a good friend to help you be brave. Ella has a surprise for Penguin—glow-in-the-dark stickers! But to see the stickers glow, Ella and Penguin must be in the dark. And the dark is so . . . dark! If only they could see the stickers glow in the light—but that won’t work. Soon Ella and Penguin find out that if they stick together, they can face anything. Megan Maynor’s sweet and lively text, paired with Rosalinde Bonnet’s irresistible illustrations, will have readers clamoring for more Ella and Penguin.

Books About Best Friends and Social Themes

Caleb and Kit
Written by Beth Vrabel
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From award-winning author Beth Vrabel comes a powerfully moving story about a magical friendship, coping with disability, and the pains of growing up and growing apart. Twelve-year-old Caleb is shorter, frailer, and more protected than most kids his age. That’s because he has cystic fibrosis, a diagnosis meaning lungs that fill with mucus and a shortened lifespan. Caleb tries not to let his disorder define him, but it can be hard with an overprotective mom and a perfect big brother. Then Caleb meets Kit—a vibrant, independent, and free girl—and his world changes instantly. Kit reads Caleb’s palm and tells him they are destined to become friends. She calls birds down from the sky and turns every day into an adventure. Her magic is contagious, making Caleb question the rules and order in his life. But being Kit’s friend means embracing deception and danger, and soon Caleb will have to decide if his friendship with Kit is really what’s best for him—or her. This new paperback edition includes a Q&A with the author as well as a sneak peek at Beth Vrabel’s next middle grade novel, The Humiliations of Pipi McGee.

Henry & Leo
Written & illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
Thoughts from The Goodfather

Zagarenski’s illustrations are beautiful (as usual), and readers who take time to observe their details will discover that they tell a lot of the story in this imaginative, tender tale about friendship.

picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Leo isn t just a stuffed toy, he is Henry s best friend and brother. He is as real as a tree, a cloud, the sun, the moon, the stars, and the wind. But when the two are accidentally separated, no one in Henry sfamily believes Leo is real enough to find his way home. With beautiful mixed-media paintings, the Caldecott Honor winning artist Pamela Zagarenski explores the transcendent nature of friendship and love.”

Hedgehugs and the Hattiepillar
Written by Steve Wilson & illustrated by Lucy Trapper
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

In this sequel to Hedgehugs, Horace and Hattie return for another sweet story of friendship. It’s spring! And everything is colorful—rainbows in the sky and flowers blossoming on trees. When Horace and Hattie Hedgehog see a caterpillar become a butterfly and take flight, they decide to try a transformation of their own. When these two best friends put their minds to solving a problem, nothing can stand in their way!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Ida, Always - A beautiful, honest portrait of loss and deep friendship told through the story of two iconic polar bears. Gus lives in a big park in the middle of an even bigger city, and he spends his days with Ida. Ida is right there. Always. Then one sad day, Gus learns that Ida is very sick, and she isn’t going to get better. The friends help each other face the difficult news with whispers, sniffles, cuddles, and even laughs. Slowly Gus realizes that even after Ida is gone, she will still be with him—through the sounds of their city, and the memories that live in their favorite spots. Ida, Always is an exquisitely told story of two best friends—inspired by a real bear friendship—and a gentle, moving, needed reminder that loved ones lost will stay in our hearts, always.

  2. Lost and Found Perl - Unlikely best friends Arnold and Louise—a big bear and a chatty chipmunk—are back in this easy-to-read chapter book series! When Louise borrows Arnold’s newly found treasure, he’s sure he’ll never see it again. After all, she loses just about everything he lends her. Louise swears she hasn’t lost it, but to get it back, she sends Arnold on a treasure hunt of her own—or is it a wild goose chase?

  3. Kisses for Kindergarten - Join Stella Isabella Harden and her puppy Buster in this lyrical read-aloud and heartwarming story about the first day of kindergarten. Stella Isabella Harden contemplating kindergarten declared she didn’t have to go… because her puppy told her so. School is about to begin, and Stella Isabella Harden decides that kindergarten just isn’t for her. Instead, she decides to spend the day learning from her puppy named Buster. Together these two adventurers plan a day full of playtime, teatime, nap time, and story time. After every “lesson,” Stella gets the best reward: a kiss from her best friend and favorite puppy. But will she change her mind about kindergarten before the first day of school? Join Stella and Buster in this lyrical read-aloud and heartwarming story about growing up. 2017 Mom’s Choice Awards, Gold Award Recipient 2017 NAPPA Winner

  4. The Afterwards - Ember and Ness are best friends, completely inseparable. Ember can’t imagine what life would be without Ness. Until Ness dies, in a most sudden and unexpected way. Ember feels completely empty. How can this even be real? Then Ember finds a way into the afterworld-a place where the recently dead reside. She knows there must be a way to bring Ness back, so she decides to find it. Because that’s what friends do: rescue each other. But the afterworld holds its own dangers. How far will Ember go to make things the way they were again? Paired with enchanting illustrations from Emily Gravett, A. F. Harrold’s powerfully woven tale explores the lengths we go to for the people we love.

Books About Best Friends and Making Friends

To the Sea
Written & illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Sometimes Tim feels invisible at school-until one day, when Tim meets Sam. But Sam isn’t just any new friend: he’s a blue whale, and he can’t find his way home! Returning Sam to the sea is hard work, but Tim is determined to help. After all, it’s not every day you meet a new friend! This picture book about the power of friendship by new talent Cale Atkinson is brought to life by charming, dynamic illustrations.

My Friend Maggie
Written & illustrated by Hannah Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“Paula and Maggie are best friends until Paula starts playing with some new friends instead, but when her new playmates turn on her, it’s Maggie who rushes to Paula’s defense”

Quinny & Hopper
Written by Adriana Brad Schanen & illustrated by Greg Swearingen
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Quinny and Hopper show that opposites do attract—these best friends are different but their differences complement one another to create loads of fun moments of friendship. One of my favorite parts of this book is the inclusion of peer pressure to have the “right” friends and how these two surpass that.

chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Quinny has a lot to say. Hopper gets to the point.

Quinny has one speed: very, very, extra-very fast. Hopper proceeds with caution.

Quinny has big ideas. Hopper has smart solutions.

Quinny and Hopper couldn’t be more different. They are an unstoppable team.

But when summer ends, things suddenly aren’t the same. Can Quinny and Hopper stick together in the face of stylish bullies, a killer chicken, and the brand-new Third Grade Rules-especially the one that says they aren’t allowed to be friends anymore?

Honorable Mentions
  1. My Best Friend - B is for Bookworm - A beautiful book showing the simplicity of an instant childhood friendship. The beautiful, limited color palette illustrations and the charming story between these best friends will take you back to the pure joy of finding a fabulous friend you were little.

  2. Peanut Butter and Jellyfish - From the author of National Book Award finalist Hey, Kiddo. Peanut Butter and Jellyfish are best of friends and swim up, down, around, and through their ocean home.
    Crabby is their neighbor. He is not their best friend.
    But when Crabby gets in trouble, will Peanut Butter and Jellyfish come to the rescue?
    You bet they will!
    From award-winning picture book creator Jarrett J. Krosoczka, this is a funny and touching story of friendships old and new, and about being brave enough to apologize.

  3. The Night Before First Grade - It’s the night before the Big Day—first grade. Penny is excited to start the year with her best friend right beside her in the same classroom. This humorous take on Clement C. Moore’s classic tale has a perfect twist ending that will surprise readers—as well as the “heroine” of the story—and help all about-to-be first-graders through their own back-to-school jitters.

  4. The Only Thing Worse Than Witches - Eleven-year-old Rupert cannot resist applying to an advertisement for a witch’s apprentice but quickly finds himself over his head with the young witch-in-training who desperately needs his help.

Books About Best Friends and Bullying

Stick and Stone
Written by Beth Ferry & illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, the pair becomes fast friends. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favor? Author Beth Ferry makes a memorable debut with a warm, rhyming text that includes a subtle anti-bullying message even the youngest reader will understand. New York Times bestselling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld imbues Stick and Stone with energy, emotion, and personality to spare.

    In this funny story about kindness and friendship, Stick and Stone join George and Martha, Frog and Toad, and Elephant and Piggie, as some of the best friend duos in children’s literature.
The Infinity Year of Avalon James
Written by Dana Middleton
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Avalon James and Atticus Brightwell have a secret—one that they aren’t allowed to discuss with anyone. This secret is shared between two best friends. When you and your best friend turn ten years old magical things are said to happen. You both will receive some kind of magical power. It can be a power you can call on time and time again. Or it can be a power that comes once when you need it most. It’s your Infinity Year and the possibilities are endless.

The past year hasn’t been great with her family being torn apart and bullying at school, so Avalon is depending on her magical ability to appear soon and help. With the clock ticking and her eleventh birthday approaching, which would be the end of her powers, Avalon’s hopes are running high. Will she and Atticus get the powers they so desperately want and need?

Dana Middleton’s debut novel is a wonderfully enchanting story of the possibility of magic and the even more magical bond between two best friends.

The Queen Bee and Me
Written by Gillian McDunn
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From the author of Caterpillar Summer comes the story of a young girl navigating her friendship with the middle school Queen Bee.

Meg has been best friends with Beatrix forever. Everyone at school wants to be like confident, decisive Beatrix, and Meg has always felt the same. But this year, Meg wants to take a science course instead of dance class. She’d rather do what makes her happy—not what Beatrix wants.

When a quirky girl named Hazel moves to town, Meg is partnered with her on a science project about bees. Meg learns a lot about being Queen Bee—in a hive and in middle school. As Beatrix is less than welcoming to Hazel, Meg feels her loyalty fraying. Choosing Hazel could mean ending her oldest friendship; a choice more difficult than Meg ever expected.

By turns heartbreaking and empowering, The Queen Bee and Me explores the challenging dynamics of middle-school friendship in a way readers of any age will appreciate.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Farah Rocks Fifth Grade - Farah and her best friend, Allie Liu, are getting excited to turn in their applications to the Magnet Academy, where they both hope to attend sixth grade. But when new girl Dana Denver shows up, Farah’s world is turned upside down. As Dana starts bullying Farah’s little brother, Samir, Farah begins to second-guess her choice to leave him behind at Harbortown Elementary/Middle School. Determined to handle it on her own, Farah comes up with a plan—a plan that involves lying to those closest to her. Will her lies catch up with her, or can Farah find a way to defeat the bully and rock fifth grade?

  2. Out of Place - When twelve-year-old Cove Bernstein becomes the target of a school-wide bullying campaign, she sets out to find a way to leave her home on Martha’s Vineyard for New York City, where her best friend lives. But Cove discovers that friends can appear in the unlikeliest places, and maybe home isn’t the worst place to be after all. Jennifer Blecher’s debut novel is a voice-driven story about bullying, friendship, and self-reliance that hits the sweet spot for fans of Ali Benjamin’s The Thing About Jellyfish and Erin Entrada Kelly’s You Go First. Twelve-year-old Cove Bernstein’s year has gone from bad to worse. First, her best friend, Nina, moved from Martha’s Vineyard to New York City. Then, without Nina around, Cove became the target of a bullying campaign at school. Escape seems impossible. But opportunities can appear when you least expect them. Cove’s visit to a secondhand clothing store leads her to a surprising chance to visit Nina, but only if she can win a coveted place in a kids-only design competition. Cove doesn’t know how to sew, but her friend at the retirement home, Anna, has promised to teach her. And things start really looking up when a new kid at school, Jack, begins appearing everywhere Cove goes. Then Cove makes a big mistake. One that could ruin every good thing that has happened to her this year. One that she doesn’t know how to undo. Jennifer Blecher’s accessible and beautifully written debut novel explores actions and consequences, loneliness, bullying, and finding your voice. This voice-driven friendship story is for fans of Rebecca Stead’s Goodbye Stranger and Jodi Kendall’s The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City. Includes black-and-white spot art throughout.

  3. Boy Bites Bug - To defuse a situation between his best friend and a new student, Nolan eats a live stink bug, gaining popularity and a class project idea but, perhaps, losing a friend.

  4. Just Jaime - Another spot-on story of middle school drama and friendship from Terri Libenson, national bestselling author of Invisible Emmie and Positively Izzy. Friends. Frenemies. Middle school… The last day of seventh grade has Jaime and Maya wondering who their real friends are. Jaime knows something is off with her friend group. They’ve started to exclude her and make fun of the way she dresses and the things she likes. At least she can count on her BFF, Maya, to have her back . . . right? Maya feels more and more annoyed with Jaime, who seems babyish compared to the other girls in their popular group. It’s like she has nothing in common with Jai anymore. Are their days as BFFs numbered . . . ? Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Jennifer L. Holm.

Want to see books about bullying?

Books About Best Friends and Individuality

The Perfect Picnic
Written by Ciara Flood
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A hilarious story from the author of Those Pesky Rabbits about friendship, perfectionists, and losing your sandwiches.

Squirrel and Mole are the best of friends, and they do everything together, including going on picnics. But while Mole doesn’t really mind where they have a picnic, Squirrel is very determined that this picnic will be PERFECT, and that means finding the perfect place. But does such a thing exist?

Friends Stick Together
Written & illustrated by Hannah Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Rupert is a rhinoceros of refined sensibilities. Levi, the new tickbird in class, is not. He burps the alphabet, tells corny jokes, and does really embarrassing air guitar solos. Worse, he lands right on Rupert and is determined to be Rupert’s symbiotic best pal! Rupert wants him gone. But when Levi finally does bug off, Rupert finds the peace and quiet a little boring. It turns out, Rupert could really use a friend like Levi.

Cyril and Pat
Written & illustrated by Emily Gravett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From author-illustrator Emily Gravett comes a warm and funny picture book about friendship and loving someone different from yourself. Cyril is a squirrel. Pat is a rat. They have a lot of adventures and fun together. But no one else thinks they should be friends. In Emily Gravett’s brilliantly funny story, two friends learn that some things are more important than being the same, or following others.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Croc & Turtle: Snow Fun! - Croc & Turtle may be different, but they’re the best of friends! This adorable winter-themed story will warm your heart, and is perfect for fans of Penguin and Pinecone. Croc and Turtle are best friends! It’s a wintry day, so Croc and Turtle are ready for snow fun! But Croc likes outside activities and Turtle likes inside activities. What happens when best friends have very different ideas of fun? In this new humorous and heartwarming adventure, Croc and Turtle navigate the ups and downs of friendship.

  2. Duck and Hippo in the Rainstorm - Get ready for a rainy-day adventure with Duck and Hippo! Duck and Hippo may be completely different, but they are best friends. When playful Duck invites careful Hippo to go for a walk in the rain, they have trouble sharing Duck’s umbrella. But Duck and Hippo won’t let that stop them. Soon they are puddle-jumping and sailing down the river! Until…WHOOOSH! A terrible wind sends the umbrella flying up, up, up into the air, with one friend holding on. What will Duck and Hippo do now? Jonathan London’s charming text and Andrew Joyner’s delightful art bring to life two lovable friends in this fun new series.

  3. I'm Not - A young girl discovers that best friends can enjoy and do well at different things as long as they are good at being friends.

  4. Ten Thank-You Letters - Pig is writing a thank-you note to his grandma when his friend Rabbit comes over to play. Eager to get in on the action, Rabbit writes one of his own . . . and another . . . and another . . . until his flurry of thank-you notes has Pig in a tizzy. Pig just wants to finish writing his note in peace! Fortunately, Rabbit’s last thank-you note reminds Pig how lucky he is to have Rabbit as a friend. This funny friendship story shows how different personalities can manage to fit together perfectly. Rabbit’s letters to everyone from the president to the crossing guard will have readers chuckling as the delightful duo from Ten Things I Love About You discovers the joy of showing gratitude to the special people in their lives.

Books About Best Friends and Action And Adventure

Hopper and Wilson
Written & illustrated by Maria van Lieshout
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

As Hopper and Wilson set out on their adventure they are not afraid of anything. Their sight is completely set on the good that could be at the end of the world. I love this optimism. When they come across some trouble they don’t hide or shrink, they look for a solution. This book gives the reader hope in friendships and a reason to focus on the good in the world and to not let worry sneak in.

board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A playful tale about friendship and home

“What,” Hopper asks his little friend Wilson, “do you think it’s like at the end of the world?” Hopper, the blue elephant, imagines a staircase to the moon, while Wilson, the yellow mouse, hopes for an endless supply of lemonade. So the two sail off in a boat made of paper . . . only to discover they already have everything they could wish for in each other, and at home. Maria van Lieshout’s adorable new picture book tugs at heartstrings, inspires discussion, and reminds us all how good returning home can feel.

I Am Going!
Written & illustrated by Mo Willems
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Gerald is careful. Piggie is not. Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.

Gerald and Piggie are best friends.

In I Am Going!, Piggie ruins a perfectly good day by telling Gerald she is going. If Piggie goes, who will Gerald skip with, play Ping-Pong with, and wear silly hats with?

Treasure of the Golden Skull
Written by Chris Priestley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Mildew and Sponge don’t think much of Maudlin Towers, the blackened, gloom-laden, gargoyle-infested monstrosity that is their school. But when they are told the school might close, our heroes realize being apart and somewhere else could be even worse! What starts out as a secret hunt for buried treasure quickly becomes weirder than Mildew and Sponge could ever have imagined. Who is that new boy who can get people to do whatever he wants just by looking them intently in the eye? (A hypnotist!) Why does that strange teacher have tattoos and a beard? (He’s really a pirate also looking for the treasure!) Could their heartbroken English teacher hold the key to this riddle of riddles? (Just maybe…) Most importantly, can Mildew and Sponge save the day – and the school – once more?

Honorable Mentions
  1. Bink and Gollie - Winner of the 2011 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award! In a brilliant collaboration, best-selling authors Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, along with acclaimed illustrator Tony Fucile, introduce an outrageously funny pair of friends. Meet Bink and Gollie, two precocious little girls — one tiny, one tall, and both utterly irrepressible. Setting out from their super-deluxe tree house and powered by plenty of peanut butter (for Bink) and pancakes (for Gollie), they share three comical adventures involving painfully bright socks, an impromptu trek to the Andes, and a most unlikely marvelous companion. No matter where their roller skates take them, at the end of the day they will always be the very best of friends. Full of quick-witted repartee, this brainchild of Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo and award-winning author Alison McGhee is a hilarious ode to exuberance and camaraderie, imagination and adventure, brought to life through the delightfully kinetic images of Tony Fucile.

  2. Croc & Turtle - For fans of Penguin and Pinecone, this adorable new duo will warm your heart and tickle your funny bone. Meet Croc! He is the strongest and fastest crocodile around. Meet Turtle! He agrees that Croc is the strongest and fastest. But what happens when Elephant lifts that heavy rock with ease? And when Cheetah speeds on by? Croc and Turtle might not be the strongest or the fastest, but they’re definitely the best at something even more important . . . Introducing an utterly charming new duo, this humorous and heartwarming adventure will delight readers of all ages.

  3. Big Foot and Little Foot (Book #1) - Hugo is a young Sasquatch who longs for adventure. Boone is young boy who longs to see a Sasquatch. When their worlds collide, they become the unlikeliest pair of best friends. At the Academy for Curious Squidges, Hugo learns all manner of Sneaking—after all, the most important part of being a Sasquatch is staying hidden from humans. But Hugo dreams of roaming free in the Big Wide World rather than staying cooped up in caves. When he has an unexpected run-in with a young human boy, Hugo seizes the opportunity for a grand adventure. Soon, the two team up to search high and low for mythical beasts, like Ogopogos and Snoot-Nosed Gints. Through discovering these new creatures, together, Big Foot and Little Foot explore the ins and outs of each other’s very different worlds but learn that, deep down, maybe they’re not so different after all.

Books About Best Friends and Moving

Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend!
Written & illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From the creator of The Rabbit Listened comes a gentle story about the difficulty of change . . . and the wonder that new beginnings can bring.

Change and transitions are hard, but Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend! demonstrates how, when one experience ends, it opens the door for another to begin. It follows two best friends as they say goodbye to snowmen, and hello to stomping in puddles. They say goodbye to long walks, butterflies, and the sun…and hello to long evening talks, fireflies, and the stars. But the hardest goodbye of all comes when one of the friends has to move away. Feeling alone isn’t easy, and sometimes new beginnings take time. But even the hardest days come to an end, and you never know what tomorrow will bring.

Button and Bundle
Written by Gretchen McLellan & illustrated by Gillian Flint
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A tender story about two best friends who must move away from each other. With a sprinkle of imagination and a lot of love, Button and Bundle will learn the true meaning of friendship.

Button and Bundle are best friends. So are their dolls.

But when Button has to move away, she’s sad and lonely without Bundle.

Until one day, Button finds a single yellow balloon and an idea. With a little luck, maybe she can reunite Bundle with their dolls again!

Knowing that her faraway friend would be happy is the happiest idea of all.

This sweet and charming friendship story addresses how to cherish old friendships while making new ones. With fun, imaginative play, Button and Bundle create a world they’ll share no matter how far apart they are.

Paper Planes
Written by Jim Helmore & illustrated by Richard Jones
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A compassionate and lyrical story of staying in touch after a friend has moved away.

Mia and Ben are the very best of friends. They live side by side at the edge of a great, wide lake. Together they sail, swing, and sing. But what they love doing most of all is making paper planes. They dream of one day being able to make a plane that can fly all the way across the lake! But Ben has terrible news: he and his family are moving far away. How are Mia and Ben going to stay best friends if they’re going to be so far apart? And will flying paper planes ever be the same again without Ben?

From the author and illustrator team who gave readers The Snow Lion, gorgeous illustrations accompany a gentle story about long-distance friendship that is filled with magic and imagination.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Heidi Heckelbeck Has a New Best Friend - Heidi has a new best friend in the twenty-second Heidi Heckelbeck adventure! A new family moves in next door and Heidi is excited to meet them. They have a daughter Heidi’s age! Her name is Bryce Beltran, and she’s Heidi’s super nice, super talkative new neighbor. After spending the day together, Heidi promises to introduce her to Lucy and Bruce. But on the first day of school, things don’t go as planned. Bryce is convinced that her so-called best friends aren’t very good ones and tries to get in between them. Can Heidi help everyone get along before she loses them all? With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Heidi Heckelbeck chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

  2. Wonderland - When her mother uproots them again to another home and takes a job as housekeeper, ten-year-old Mavis is determined to find a best friend in Landry, Alabama, where the summer also holds the promise of friendship and change for a sad man, a stray dog, and a timid girl.

  3. Sunday Sundaes - Enjoy a sprinkle of happy with this fun, sweet new series from the author of Cupcake Diaries! Meet the Sunday Sundae Sisters! Allie, Sierra, and Tamiko have been best friends since kindergarten. Now Allie’s parents are divorced and Allie has moved one town away. She can still see her friends but she no longer goes to the same middle school. So that means new teachers, new classrooms, and new students to deal with—all without her BFFs for support. But when Allie’s mom decides to fulfill her lifelong dream and open up an ice cream shop, Allie has an idea. Maybe she and her friends can work in the shop every Sunday! It’s a way for them to stay in touch every week and have fun—that is, of course, until they actually start working.

  4. Cody and the Mysteries of the Universe - Not everything turns out to be as it first appears when Cody and her best friend, Spencer, navigate a neighborhood mystery and the start of a new school year. Cody’s best friend, Spencer, and his parents are moving in with his grandmother right around the corner, and Cody can’t wait. For one thing, Cody needs Spencer to help solve the mystery of the never-seen Mr. Meen, who lives on the other side of the porch with a skull-and-crossbones sign in the window and an extermination truck out front. How’s Cody to know that a yellow jacket would sting her, making her scream “Ow! Ow!” just as they start spying? Or that the ominous window sign would change overnight to “Welcome home,” only deepening the mystery? In this second adventure, Spencer’s new-school jitters, an unexpected bonding with a teacher over Mozart, and turf-claiming kids next door with a reason for acting out are all part of Cody’s experiences as summer shifts into a new year at school.

Want to see books about moving?

Books About Best Friends and Art

A Friendship Yarn
Written by Lisa Moser & illustrated by Olga Demidova and Lisa Moser
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Porcupine and Badger have always been the best of friends, so when Porcupine finds some yarn in the woods, she makes a present for Badger. And when Badger finds yarn, she makes a present for Porcupine. The only problem? It’s the same yarn—and to finish the gift, they each must unravel the other’s creation. An act of kindness turns into a fierce standoff as the friendship frays—can Porcupine and Badger set aside their differences and knit themselves back together?

Dream Machine
Written by Martha Maker & illustrated by Xindi Yan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Bella learns that sometimes following your dreams is easier said than done in this fourth book of the Craftily Ever After chapter book series! Emily Adams, Maddie Wilson, Bella Diaz, and Sam Sharma are eight-year-olds with one special thing in common: they love to create. They each have unique talents, too! Emily is great at constructing and building; Maddie has an eye for fashion, fabrics, and sewing; Bella is a gadget whiz; and Sam is a gifted artist. Together, these four crafty friends dream up new projects to design, build, and create and through their experiences, they’ll learn how to handle various obstacles at school and in their everyday eight-year-old lives. Bella is a computer whiz and loves brainstorming new gadgets to make. So when she spies a flier for a citywide robotics competition, the young inventor’s wheels start spinning. She can’t wait to start building and programming! There’s just one problem: all the kids on her school’s robotics team are older. Bella must find a way to prove herself to the big kids. Now the competition is heating up—both in the craft clubhouse and at school. Will Bella find the confidence to follow her dreams and conquer the competition? With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Craftily Ever After chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.

Tie-Dye Disaster
Written by Martha Maker & illustrated by Xindi Yan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

In this third book of the Craftily Ever After chapter book series, Maddie, Emily, Bella, and Sam accidentally tie-dye a shirt Maddie’s mother made for the mayor! Emily Adams, Maddie Wilson, Bella Diaz, and Sam Sharma are eight-year-olds with one special thing in common: they love to create. They each have unique talents, too! Emily is great at constructing and building; Maddie has an eye for fashion, fabrics, and sewing; Bella is a gadget whiz; and Sam is a gifted artist. Together, these four crafty friends dream up new projects to design, build, and create and through their experiences, they’ll learn how to handle various obstacles at school and in their everyday eight-year-old lives. Maddie gets her knack for fashion and sewing from her mom, a seamstress. And she’s made a lot for an eight-year-old—from theater costumes, to brand-new pairs of pants, to pillows for the Craft Clubhouse. But she’s never tie-dyed before! Maddie, Emily, Bella, and Sam have lots of fun turning clothing bright, groovy colors. But then something not so bright and groovy happens. The kids accidentally tie-dye a shirt Maddie’s mother made for the mayor of the town! They try all sorts of things to fix their mistake, but nothing works. What is the foursome going to do about their tie-dye disaster? With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Craftily Ever After chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Breaking the Piggy Bank - Bella, Emily, Maddie, and Sam decide to create their very own start-up—a lemonade stand!—in this fifth book of the Craftily Ever After chapter book series. Emily Adams, Maddie Wilson, Bella Diaz, and Sam Sharma are eight-year-olds with one special thing in common: they love to create. They each have unique talents, too! Emily is great at constructing and building; Maddie has an eye for fashion, fabrics, and sewing; Bella is a gadget whiz; and Sam is a gifted artist. Together, these four crafty friends dream up new projects to design, build, and create and through their experiences, they’ll learn how to handle various obstacles at school and in their everyday eight-year-old lives. Bella, Emily, Maddie, and Sam have been hard at work in their craft studio—so busy in fact, that their supplies are starting to dwindle. It’s time to stock up! In order to add a little money to their piggy bank, the friends decide to combine their skills and use the last of their allowance to create their very own business: a lemonade stand! But something’s not quite right. While the stand looks fabulous, the lemonade is…not. Can these crafty entrepreneurs save their business before it’s too late? With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Craftily Ever After chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.

  2. Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery - Two best friends with a flair for adventure use their gardening and art skills to catch a criminal during Día de los Muertos, in the first book of the Lou Lou and Pea series! Lou Lou Bombay and Peacock Pearl have been best friends since first grade. Every Friday afternoon, they get together in Lou Lou’s backyard garden for their PSPP (Post-School Pre-Parents) tea party. They chat about school, discuss Pea’s latest fashions, and plot the weekend’s activities. But all plans go out the window when a series of small crimes crop up around El Corazón, their quaint and quirky neighborhood, right before the Día de Los Muertos procession. First, Pea’s cousin’s quinceañera dress is tragically ruined. Then Lou Lou’s beloved camellia bush, Pinky, suffers a serious blow. And that’s just the beginning! When clues start to appear in El Corazón’s outdoor murals, the best friends join forces, using Lou Lou’s floral expertise and Pea’s artistic genius to solve the mysteries. Accented by Lesley Vamos’s spirited black-and-white illustrations, Jill Diamond’s debut is a delightful introduction to two very creative best friends and their unforgettable adventures! Backmatter includes a recipe, crafting activity, and glossary of Spanish terms. “Lou Lou and Pea are likable heroines and the cast of multicultural characters and Latino-themed festivities broaden the accessibility. . . . This is a pleasant, breezy friendship tale for middle grade readers who also enjoy a light mystery.” —School Library Journal

  3. The Un-Friendship Bracelet - In the first book of the Craftily Ever After chapter book series, a new student gets between best friends Emily and Maddie—and changes the meaning of their friendship bracelets! Emily Adams, Maddie Wilson, Bella Diaz, and Sam Sharma are eight-year-olds with one special thing in common: they love to create. They each have unique talents, too! Emily is great at constructing and building; Maddie has an eye for fashion, fabrics, and sewing; Bella is a gadget whiz; and Sam is a gifted artist. Together, these four crafty friends dream up new projects to design, build, and create and through their experiences, they’ll learn how to handle various obstacles at school and in their everyday eight-year-old lives. In the first Craftily Ever After book, best friends Emily and Maddie are so close that they spend most of their free time together, and wear matching friendship bracelets, too! One day, a new student named Bella Diaz shows up at Mason Creek Elementary. Maddie immediately befriends her, discovering that she too is really crafty. As Maddie and Bella spend more time together, Emily finds herself spending more time alone…until she realizes that the boy who’s been sitting next to her in class this whole time loves to draw and create just like she does. When Emily’s friendship bracelet falls off and Maddie doesn’t even notice, Emily begins to think that maybe it was an un-friendship bracelet after all. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Craftily Ever After chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.

Want to see books about art?

Books About Best Friends and Performing Arts

Andy & Sandy and the Big Talent Show
Written by Tomie dePaola & illustrated by Jim Lewis and Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Andy and Sandy hit the stage in this fourth book of an easy-to-read picture book series about friendship—from Caldecott and Newbery Honoree Tomie dePaola and Emmy Award–winning writer for the Muppets Jim Lewis. Outgoing Sandy convinces shy Andy to do a dance at the big talent show. The only problem? Andy doesn’t know how to dance! Luckily, Sandy is a good teacher. But when showtime finally arrives, it’s Sandy who freezes up! A true friend through and through, Andy overcomes his shyness to save the performance. Let’s give a standing ovation to friendship! Written in simple words and short, declarative sentences, this book is perfect for little ones just learning to read on their own.

Olive Becomes Famous (and Hopes She Can Become Un-Famous)
Written by Megan Atwood & illustrated by Gareth Llewhellin and Kim Barnes
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Olive is going to be in a commercial! The only problem is that Olive can’t land the gymnastics stunt for it, and she is afraid to tell the truth. Meanwhile, her cross-country pen pal, Molly, has started taken acting classes and is super jealous of Olive, but doesn’t want to tell her. Molly goes on a mission to get on a commercial, too, with her new friend from class. Follow the secrets and threatened friendship through reading the jealous emails and alternating first-person points of view to discover Olive’s plan to make everything right.

Ivy and Bean: Doomed to Dance
Written by Annie Barrows & illustrated by Sophie Blackall
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Finally! After begging their parents for ballet lessons, Ivy and Bean finally get what they want…well, not exactly. Much to their surprise, it turns out ballet lessons do not include karate chops and roundhouse kicks to the villain’s heart. The girls have no interest in learning how to dance gracefully, but they promised their parents they would finish the entire ballet course! When it comes time for Ivy and Bean to participate in the ocean-themed class recital, the girls must figure out a way to get out of it without breaking their promises. Includes bonus material! - Sneak peek chapter from the next book in the Ivy + Bean series Ivy and Bean What’s the Big Idea? by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Honorable Mentions
  1. Making the Band - Maddie, Bella, Emily, and Sam create rock star–worthy instruments with found objects in this second book in the brand-new Craftily Ever After chapter book series! Emily Adams, Maddie Wilson, Bella Diaz, and Sam Sharma are eight-year-olds with one special thing in common: they love to create. They each have unique talents, too! Emily is great at constructing and building; Maddie has an eye for fashion, fabrics, and sewing; Bella is a gadget whiz; and Sam is a gifted artist. Together, these four crafty friends dream up new projects to design, build, and create and through their experiences, they’ll learn how to handle various obstacles at school and in their everyday eight-year-old lives. In the second Craftily Ever After book, there’s a talent show at school and for the first time, Maddie, Bella, Emily, and Sam can’t think of anything to do. That is, until an old tin can and some plastic tubing give them a musical idea! With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Craftily Ever After chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.

  2. Magic Molly - After going to a magic show, Molly decides that she wants to be a real magician, and she hopes that her father’s old magic kit may help her master some real magic in time to put on a show for Sharing Time at school—aiming big, she would really like to be able to saw her best friend in half (and of course put her back together).

  3. Too Many Toppings! - Sierra learns to balance all of her responsibilities in this sixth delicious book in the Sprinkle Sundays series from the author of the Cupcake Diaries series! Sierra thinks she has everything under control—she loves staying busy. But between working in the ice cream shop, after-school sports, and now being asked to be the lead singer in a band—has Sierra taken on more than she can handle? What’s a girl who wants to have it all to do?

  4. Frankie Sparks and the Talent Show Trick - Frankie Sparks uses her inventing skills to help her friend overcome stage fright in this second chapter book in the STEM inspired Frankie Sparks, Third-Grade Inventor series. It’s time for the annual school talent show, and Frankie is excited to audition with her magic act! She wants to be just like her idol, Adelaide Herrmann, Queen of Magic. But on the day of the audition, Frankie’s best friend and Magician’s Assistant, Maya, gets a big, scary case of stage fright! How can Maya be Frankie’s helper on stage if she can’t bring herself to speak in front of their audience? It’s up to Frankie Sparks to invent just the perfect thing to help her best friend cope with the spotlight!

Books About Best Friends and Feelings And Emotions

The Happy Book
Written & illustrated by Andy Rash
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

From the creator of ARCHIE THE DAREDEVIL PENGUIN comes the unique story of two friends who can’t escape all the feels. Camper is happy as a clam and Clam is a happy camper. When you live in The Happy Book, the world is full of daisies and sunshine and friendship cakes . . . until your best friend eats the whole cake and doesn’t save you one bite. Moving from happiness to sadness and everything in between, Camper and Clam have a hard time finding their way back to happy. But maybe happy isn’t the goal—being a good friend is about supporting each other and feeling all the feels together. At once funny and thoughtful, The Happy Book supports social-emotional learning. It’s a book to keep young readers company no matter how they’re feeling!

Love Monster and the Perfect Present
Written & illustrated by Rachel Bright
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Everyone in Cutesville is excited for the most special day of the year: Present Day! Love Monster goes on a hunt for the perfect gift for his special someone, but as it turns out, finding the perfect gift is not easy. And the only thing worse than a not-perfect present is no present at all. But Love Monster soon comes up with the idea for the best gift ever—one that comes straight from his furry heart.

Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever (Probably)
Written by Julie Falatko & illustrated by Tim J. Miller
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Snappsy (begrudgingly!) returns in this clever and hilarious follow-up to the critically-acclaimed Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book).

Snappsy the alligator wants nothing more than a quiet evening to himself, but a pesky chicken who insists he’s Snappsy’s best friend won’t leave him alone. Friendship bracelets? Matching shirts? The sleepover of the century? Snappsy did not ask for any of the activities the chicken—his best friend forever?—is planning. This pitch-perfect sequel to Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) explores all the ways we get friendship wrong (and why it feels so magical when we get it right!).

Honorable Mentions
  1. My New Friend Is So Fun! - Gerald is careful. Piggie is not. Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can. Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to. Gerald and Piggie are best friends. In My New Friend Is So Fun!, Piggie has found a new friend! But is Gerald ready to share?

  2. The Thing About Jellyfish - This stunning debut novel about grief and wonder was an instant New York Times bestseller and captured widespread critical acclaim, including selection as a 2015 National Book Award finalist! After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting-things don’t just happen for no reason. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory—even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe…and the potential for love and hope right next door.

  3. 13 Stories About Harris - A wry and affectionate look at the ups and downs of preschoolers in the big city. “That’s why they call permanent markers permanent,” Harris’ mother says as she surveys Harris and his best friend Ayana’s handiwork in his bedroom. In 13 illustrated vignettes, young Harris gets into big and little adventures at home, at best friend Ayana’s house, and throughout his diverse city neighborhood. Inspired by her own child, celebrated author-illustrator Amy Schwartz captures a preschooler’s sense of wonder and possibility, such as when Harris and Ayana vow to keep holding hands “forever and ever”—even while riding stampeding elephants. A Junior Library Guild Selection

  4. The Liberation of Gabriel King - Gabriel King was a born chicken. He’s afraid of spiders, corpses, loose cows, and just about everything related to the fifth grade. Gabe’s best friend, Frita Wilson, thinks Gabe needs some liberating from his fears. Frita knows something about being brave— she’s the only black kid in school in a town with an active Ku Klux Klan. Together Gabe and Frita are going to spend the summer of 1976 facing down the fears on Gabe’s list. But it turns out that Frita has her own list, and while she’s helping Gabe confront his fears, she’s avoiding the thing that scares her the most.

Books About Best Friends and Jealousy

Poppy's Best Paper
Written by Susan Eaddy & illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Fans of Olivia and Lilly will delight in Poppy, a little rabbit with big dreams—and an even bigger personality.

More than anything, Poppy wants to be a verrrry famous writer. She’s sure Mrs. Rose will pick her paper to read to the whole class! Trouble is, she has tall ambitions but is short on effort, and her jealousy takes over when her best friend’s paper is chosen instead. In the end, Poppy discovers that she has to get out of her own way if her big dreams are going to come true.

Rosalinde’s adorable, expressive illustrations make memorable, quirky Poppy a real star!

Anna, Banana, and the Recipe for Disaster
Written by Anica Mrose Rissi & illustrated by Meg Park
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Anna and Banana must cook up a solution when her jealousy gets her into some hot water in the sixth book of this “fast-paced, fun, and funny” (Megan McDonald, bestselling author of the Judy Moody series) illustrated chapter book series about the joys and challenges of elementary school friendships.

After watching the contestants on The Batter-Up Bake-Off Show whip up sweet treats, Anna, Isabel, Sadie, and Banana are ready to put their culinary chops to the test. The plan? To make the best-ever cookie recipe for the town library’s bake sale!

There’s only one problem: Isabel and Sadie have started hanging out with a girl named Monica, and suddenly she’s all they can talk about. Anna’s sure she, Sadie, and Isabel are complete as a trio, and winning the bake sale will prove it. But when Monica shows up with Sadie and Isabel for their big baking day things quickly turn from sweet to sour.

Can Anna win back the attention of her two besties, or will she learn that friendship—like cookies—is best when shared?

Flower Girl Dreams
Written by Debbie Dadey & illustrated by Tatevik Avakyan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Unable to comprehend a beloved librarian’s imminent marriage to a cafeteria worker who seems to be perpetually grouchy, Pearl becomes jealous when Echo, Shelly, and Kiki are all asked to be flower girls.

Honorable Mentions
  1. We Are Not Friends - Two fuzzy friends are having a fun playdate when a new pal hops in. As the day continues, each friend feels left out at times. It isn’t so easy to figure out how to act when everything seems to change. With humor and heart, the beloved characters from Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner You Are (Not) Small navigate a friendship triangle as only they can.

  2. If I Were You - Be careful what you wish for. A refreshing twist on the Freaky Friday set-up, If I Were You by Leslie Margolis is a fun, touching middle-grade story about friendship, family, and overcoming jealousy. Katie is jealous of her best friend, Melody. Turns out that Melody is jealous of Katie, too. It’s the end of what was supposed to be the best summer of their lives, before they start middle school, and the girls aren’t on speaking turns. They’ve had a big fight over-what else?-a boy. When the two girls wish for the exact same thing at the same moment-to redo the summer as each other-their wishes are granted. But, as the girls will learn, sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

  3. Awesome! - Marvin the moose and Woody the beaver are best friends, but after a heroic deed Marvin is too popular to have time for Woody, who sets out to prove that he is awesome, too.

Want to see books about jealousy?

Books About Best Friends and Birds

Max and Marla Are Having a Picnic
Written & illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Best friends Max and Marla are back in this charming spring tale of friendship and forgiveness

Max and Marla know how to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. So when the first sunny day of spring comes along, they’ve got the perfect plan—a picnic! They pack up their favorite dishes and their comfiest blanket and then they’re off to the lake. Once they settle in, Max realizes the picnic needs one more thing to be just right: a bouquet for Marla. But while he’s gone, Marla falls asleep, leaving their picnic prey to some thieving squirrels. Max returns to find their spread ruined and says it’s all Marla’s fault. But best friends can’t stay mad for long . . . Max and Marla Are Having a Picnic is another adorable ode to friendship from fan favorite Alexandra Boiger.

I'm Worried
Written by Michael Ian Black & illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A girl, a flamingo, and a worried potato star in the third book in New York Times bestselling author Michael Ian Black and illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s series about feelings—and why they’re good, even when they feel bad. Potato is worried. About everything. Because anything might happen. When he tells his friends, he expects them to comfort him by saying that everything will be okay. Except they don’t. Because it might not be, and that’s okay too. Still, there’s one thing they can promise for sure: no matter what happens…they will always be by his side.

Night of the Living Zombie Bugs
Written by Dave Coverly
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Book 3 in the Speed Bump and Slingshot Misadventures illustrated chapter book series starring two slacker friends on a frightful odyssey through a zombie-filled forest! Speed Bump and Slingshot investigate a potential zombie outbreak in their neck of the forest. As newly minted members of the Eagle Scouts, they’re doing their best to be brave, but when a creepy crow confirms their suspicions, these chicken-hearted birds lose their cool. To make matters worse—they’re not just zombie-birds, they’re ZOMBIE-BUGS! Can these hesitant heroes cast their fears aside and face the cicadas newly risen from the underworld? Or will the zombie-bugs conquer all and transform Speed Bump and Slingshot into the undead? Find out in Night of the Living Zombie Bugs, the third installment of this hilarious series from Dave Coverly. A Christy Ottaviano Book Read the whole series! Night of the Living Worms Night of the Living Shadows Night of the Living Zombie Bugs Praise for Night of the Living Shadows: “Overall a lighter-than-air escapade with just a light wash of satire.” —Kirkus Reviews “This misadventure from a bird’s perspective is hilarious, light, and clever and may provide fun reading and anew favorite.” —Children’s Literature Night of the Living Worms: An Amazon Editors’ Best Book of the Month A Florida Sunshine State Young Readers’ Award Selection “Dave Coverly is ridiculously funny and clever and creative. I’m jealous of his bird brain.” —Stephan Pastis, New York Times-bestselling author of the Timmy Failure series “Coverly’s drawings are full of visual jokes, and the narrative is packed with playful language. . . . Clever, imaginative, and precisely targeted to its audience, this new series is sure to please.” —Booklist “Filled with subtle irony, wordplay, and gentle pokes at life, the text is accompanied by appealingly large, cartoon-style, black-and-white line drawings . . . This story will have students laughing out loud and reluctant readers asking for the sequel.” —School Library Journal “The jokes and birdy banter come fast and furious . . . and should keep readers flying through the pages.” —Publishers Weekly “Both [pictures and text] are liberally festooned with gags, sight gags . . . and puns.” —Kirkus Reviews

Honorable Mentions
  1. Puffin Peter - Kids will delight in this witty story of mistaken identity from acclaimed author-illustrator Petr Horácek. Peter and Paul are puffins and the best of friends. But one day Peter gets lost in a terrible storm, and Paul is nowhere to be found. With the help of a big blue whale, Peter sets out, determined to find his pal. What the pair discovers is that many other birds match the description Peter gives of Paul, but none are quite like his friend. With gorgeous collage artwork and a lighthearted touch, this fun read-aloud tale will both amuse and enlighten.

  2. Shorty & Clem Blast Off! - The energetic and zany duo Shorty and Clem are back, and this time they learn all about working together! A fresh and dynamic friendship story featuring a spirited dinosaur and a cranky but loving bird. Clem can’t wait to assemble his brand-new rocket ship kit. If all goes right, he’ll blast it off! Vroom! “It looks like you need my help,” observes Shorty. “That’s okay, Shorty. I’ve got this,” says Clem. Even though Clem is sure he doesn’t need help, it turns out that he really does! From the creator of the award-winning app Scruffy Kitty, Michael Slack, Shorty & Clean Blast Off! is perfect for fans of Jory John’s Goodnight Already, Chris Haughton’s books, and Mo Willems.

Want to see books about birds?

Books About Best Friends and Multicultural

Henry and Bea
Written & illustrated by Jessixa Bagley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Henry and Bea are inseparable, but one day Henry suddenly stops talking to his best friend. Bea knows there’s something Henry’s not telling her, but what could it be?

Henry and Bea have always been inseparable…until one day Henry suddenly stops talking to Bea. He won’t chat with her in class, and he won’t sit with her at lunch. Bea can tell something’s going on, and she’s determined to find out what it is.

Then their teacher announces that the class is taking a field trip to a farm, and Bea hopes that this might be her chance to reconnect with Henry. When Henry finds an old cat collar at the farm and starts to cry, he finally reveals his secret to Bea: his cat Buddy died last week.

And even though it’s hard for them both, Bea knows that she’ll be there for Henry, as his best friend, no matter what. From award-winning author/illustrator Jessixa Bagley comes a realistic and ultimately uplifting portrayal of the challenges of childhood friendship.

Lou Lou and Pea and the Bicentennial Bonanza
Written by Jill Diamond & illustrated by Lesley Vamos
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

BFFs Lou Lou Bombay and Peacock Pearl are busy preparing for the Bicentennial Bonanza, their city’s two-hundredth birthday bash! And this year, the party will take place in their beloved neighborhood of El Corazón. With a baking contest, talent show, and a new gazebo planned, the community can’t wait to celebrate the founders (and historical BFFs), Diego Soto and Giles Wonderwood. But when Vice-Mayor Andy Argyle claims the festivities belong to Verde Valley, using a mysterious diary as evidence, Lou Lou and Pea smell trouble. Will the friends be able to uncover the secrets of their city’s founding, and bring the Bonanza back to El Corazón?

Why Can't I Be You
Written by Melissa Walker
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

“This book is for anyone who has ever felt ‘less than’ or on the outside. That is to say, this is a book for everyone.” —Elana K. Arnold, author of A Boy Called Bat Claire Ladd knows that this summer is going to be special. She and her two best friends, Ronan and Brianna, are turning twelve. She is leaving camp behind and gets to do what she wants all day. She feels everything starting to change. But things don’t always change for the better. With Brianna’s cousin Eden visiting for the summer, Claire feels like a third wheel. Even though she is only a year older, Eden seems so much more sophisticated and glamorous . . . and when she is around, she takes up everyone’s attention, including Brianna’s. But that doesn’t explain why things have felt awkward with Brianna ever since she moved to a fancy new house, or why Ronan, who lives in the trailer next to Claire’s, has started acting moody anytime anyone mentions his dad. Claire has always been happy with her life just as it is, but as the summer wears on and the issues with her friends start to grow, she can’t help but wonder: Would everything be better if she could just be someone else?

Honorable Mentions
  1. Cody and the Rules of Life - Doing the right thing can be hard! When prized possessions start going missing, Cody gets a crash course in the most important rules of all — the rules of life. In Cody’s life, many things are hard to predict. Like why her older brother, Wyatt, is obsessed with his new bicycle called the Cobra, or why her best friend Pearl suddenly wants to trade favorite toys. Pearl says she will trust Cody with Arctic Fox because Cody is a trusty person. But Cody doesn’t want to give up her beloved Gremlin, and she regrets it as soon as she hands him over. When the Cobra goes missing, Cody has to decide for herself who is trusty and who is not. If only she had Gremlin to talk to! Surely Pearl wouldn’t mind if she secretly traded back . . . it’s not stealing if it belonged to you in the first place, right?

  2. The Year of the Book - This fully illustrated chapter book follows Anna, a young Asian-American girl, as she navigates relationships with family, friends, and her fourth-grade classroom, and finds a true best friend.

  3. How I Learned to Fall Out of Trees - Roger and Adelia are the very best of friends. They’ve spent many springtimes collecting birds’ nests, autumns jumping into piles of colorful leaves, and winters building snowmen. When the time comes for Adelia to move away, the two friends must say good-bye. But Adelia has one parting gift for Roger: She will teach him, once and for all, how to climb a tree. Lyrical and colorful, the narrative flips between Adelia’s instructions (“hold on tight,” “move up when you’re ready”) and her packing list (things they loved to play with, things they were supposed to throw away). By the time the moving van pulls up, Roger is ready to start his climb. But now, he’s afraid of “letting go.” In a sweet reveal, we learn that Adelia has left behind a soft landing, making sure that—for Roger—falling is the easiest part.

Books About Best Friends and Family Life

Ellie May on April Fool's Day
Written by Hillary Homzie & illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Ellie May can’t believe her class is allowed to celebrate April Fools’ Day—so long as it’s done in good fun. Practicing on her parents and sisters, Ellie May brainstorms harmless pranks. Soon enough, good intentions turn her classroom and home upside-down when fake ants, trick tape, and hidden surprises don’t go as planned. Ellie May may not be perfect like Miss-Know-itAll Ava but she eventually realizes that the best trick is to make friends genuinely laugh—at no one’s expense.

Jasmine Toguchi, Super Sleuth
Written by Debbi Michiko Florence & illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The second heartfelt story of friendship and sisterhood in this charming new chapter book series, starring a Japanese-American girl! It’s a big weekend for Jasmine Toguchi! She’s excited to celebrate Girl’s Day—a Japanese holiday honoring women and girls—with her sister, mother, and best friend, Linnie. On Friday after school, Linnie comes over to plan their outfits for the Girl’s Day celebrations. And Jasmine’s neighbor, Mrs. Reese, lets them search through her old clothes for the perfect accessories. But the clothes are in her dark garage, which is kind of scary. And Linnie decides to go home early, which is kind of weird. And Jasmine’s big sister, Sophie, doesn’t seem to want to join in the Girl’s Day fun this year, which is kind of confusing. WHAT is going on? As her big weekend plans start to unravel, Jasmine must use her sleuthing skills to spot the clues around her—and within herself. Then maybe, just maybe, she can put everything back in order before Girl’s Day is over!

The Last Great Adventure of the PB & J Society
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

When her best friend’s house is threatened with foreclosure, young Annie Jenkins is full of ideas to save the home: selling her appendix on eBay, winning the lottery, facing down the bankers . . . anything to keep Jason from moving. But Jason’s out-of-work dad blows up at the smallest things, and he’s not very happy with Annie’s interventions, which always seem to get them into more trouble. But when Annie tracks a lost treasure to Jason’s backyard, she’s sure the booty will be enough to save Jason’s family. Pirate treasure in the Midwest seems far-fetched, even to Annie, but it could be the answer to all their problems. Now all she has to do is convince Jason. As the two hunt for answers and the pressure gets to Jason and his family, Annie discovers that the best-laid plans aren’t always enough and there are worse things than moving away.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Anna, Banana, and the Friendship Split - Anna has two favorite things: her best friend, Sadie, and her dog, Banana. She can’t wait to celebrate her birthday with both of them. But Anna’s birthday party turns into a birthday disaster when Sadie starts a terrible fight that Anna never saw coming. Anna doesn’t know why her best friend is suddenly acting like her worst enemy, but she knows she’d do anything to fix it. She and Banana just need to come up with a plan. Only, what if Sadie doesn’t want their friendship to be fixed?

  2. Anna, Banana, and Monkey in the Middle - Anna is lucky to have two best friends—it makes everything twice as fun. She’s excited to go with Sadie and Isabel on their class trip to the zoo. But when Anna’s two best friends start choosing opposite sides on everything, Anna feels caught in the middle. Sadie wants Anna to see the spiny anteater with her, but Isabel wants to visit the tortoise instead. When Isabel pulls Anna toward the camel house, Sadie yanks her toward the giraffes. It’s like they’re playing a game of tug-of-war and Anna is the rope! How can Anna keep the peace without causing double trouble?

  3. Wings for Wyatt - In book 6 of the Tales of Sasha series, Sasha and Wyatt try to find a way to get Wyatt to the Island of Royal Flying Horses. Sasha’s better-than-best friend Wyatt wants to come along once he finds out about her trip to visit the island where royal flying horses live. But the island is far away and Wyatt can’t fly. Can Sasha come up with a way to take Wyatt with her?

  4. Nina Soni, Former Best Friend - The first title in a new series featuring a lovable, distractible Indian-American girl and her family and friends. Nina tried as hard as she could, but still somehow she forgot about her school project. Fortunately, a class lesson about Alexander Fleming suggests how she might make a great discovery—and thus a great project! But with little sister Kavita’s birthday party right around the corner, and her longtime friendship with Jay on the rocks, Nina has a lot to keep track of. Readers are sure to relate to author Kashmira Sheth’s endearing Nina Soni and her slightly scatter-brained efforts to manage her life with lists, definitions, and real-life math problems.

Books About Best Friends and Girls And Women

Sleepover Scientist #3
Written by Kelly Starling Lyons & illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton and Nneka Myers
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Jada Jones is back for the third book of this popular, celebrated series perfect for STEM fans!

Jada is hosting her first sleepover, and she has lots of cool scientific activities planned: kitchen chemistry, creating invisible ink, and even making slime! But when her friends get tired of the lessons and just want to hang out, can Jada figure out the formula for fun and save the sleepover?

Sleepover Scientist
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Jada Jones is back for the third book of this popular, celebrated series perfect for STEM fans! Jada is hosting her first sleepover, and she has lots of cool scientific activities planned: kitchen chemistry, creating invisible ink, and even making slime! But when her friends get tired of the lessons and just want to hang out, can Jada figure out the formula for fun and save the sleepover? Praise for Jada Jones: Rock Star “Fast-paced, with supersimple vocabulary and a smattering of earth science to spark interest in young rock collectors everywhere.”—Kirkus Reviews “Readers who love “Ivy and Bean” or “Katie Woo” will want to meet Jada Jones.”—School Library Journal

The Girls
Written by Lauren Ace & illustrated by Jenny Lovlie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A timeless picture book for friends of all ages, The Girls celebrates kindness, supportiveness, and the power of true friendship.

Winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize Illustrated Book of the Year 2019

Meet the girls: Sasha, Lottie, Alice, and Leela.

These four best friends spend their days playing beneath the branches of their favorite apple tree. As the tree grows tall and reaches across the sky, so do they . . .

. . . growing from little girls into big girls . . .

. . . and from big girls into women!

Through their shared secrets, dreams, worries, and schemes, their friendship grows ever stronger. Even when their adventures take them in different directions, the girls always stay rooted together.

The Girls is a celebration of lasting friendship for every girl . . . big or little.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Spotlight on Coding Club! - Perfect for fans of The Babysitters Club and anyone interested in computer science, this series is published in partnership with the organization Girls Who Code! It’s almost time for the talent show at school, and Erin couldn’t be more excited. It’s her time to take center stage! Plus, she and her friends from coding club are putting together an awesome coding program for the show. But Erin has a big secret: she has anxiety. And when things start piling up at home and school, she starts having trouble handling everything. Her friends from coding club have always been there for her, but will they be as understanding when the going gets tough? Sometimes in coding—like in friendship—things don’t go exactly as planned, but the outcome can be even better than you’d imagined.

  2. The Good Egg - Welcome to Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. The five scouts of Roanoke cabin—Jo, April, Molly, Mal, and Ripley—love their summers at camp. They get to hang out with their best friends, earn Lumberjane scout badges, annoy their no-nonsense counselor Jen . . . and go on supernatural adventures. That last one? A pretty normal occurrence at Miss Qiunzella’s, where the woods contain endless mysteries. Book three shines the spotlight on Ripley, the smallest, youngest, most animal-loving member of the cabin. When Ripley comes across an abandoned egg, she’s determined to take care of it until the parent comes back. Unfortunately, her plan is quickly foiled by egg poachers, who steal the egg for their own collection.

  3. Lumberjanes: Ghost Cabin (Lumberjanes #4) - Based on the bestselling graphic novels, this series of middle-grade novels contains all-new adventures Welcome to Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. The five scouts of Roanoke cabin—Jo, April, Molly, Mal, and Ripley—love their summers at camp. They get to hang out with their best friends, earn Lumberjane scout badges, annoy their no-nonsense counselor Jen . . . and go on supernatural adventures. That last one? A pretty normal occurrence at Miss Qiunzella’s, where the woods contain endless mysteries. Book four, the last book of the novel series, will shine the spotlight on inseparable couple Mal and Molly, who find an extra cabin at camp, one that’s full of ghosts!

  4. The Treasure of Mad Doc Magee - A rip-roaring puzzle box of an adventure about grit, guts, and gold, from Elinor Teele, the acclaimed author of The Mechanical Mind of John Coggin. The small, run-down town of Eden is the only place Jenny Burns has ever called home. The roots of the trees are in her bones, the air of the mountains is in her breath, the lakes and rivers are in her blood. And that’s why, when her father loses his job and tells Jenny that they may have to move on from Eden, she knows she can’t let that happen. The fever of New Zealand’s gold rush still runs in the veins of Eden, and everyone knows the legend of Doc Magee: how he found the largest gold nugget anyone had ever seen and hid it somewhere in the hills before he disappeared. Jenny and her best friend, Pandora, know that if they can find the gold, it’ll solve all their problems. But the way is fraught with mysteries, riddles, and danger—and those are just the threats they know about. Before her quest is over, Jenny will have to face challenges from within as well as from without.

Books About Best Friends and Middle School

Martin McLean, Middle School Queen
Written by Alyssa Zaczek
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Seventh-grader Martin McLean has trouble expressing himself except at Mathletes competitions and now, as a female impersonator but his first-ever drag show falls on the same night as an important Mathletes tournament.

The Third Wheel
Written & illustrated by Jeff Kinney
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Greg Heffley is not willing to be the odd man out.

A dance at Greg’s middle school has everyone scrambling to find a partner, and Greg is determined not to be left by the wayside. So he concocts a desperate plan to find someone—anyone!—to go with on the big night.

But Greg’s schemes go hilariously awry, and his only option is to attend the dance with his best friend, Rowley Jefferson, and a female classmate as a “group of friends.” But the night is long, and anything can happen along the way. Who will arrive at the dance triumphantly, and who will end up being the third wheel?

Karma Khullar's Mustache
Written & illustrated by Kristi Wientge
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In the tradition of Judy Blume, debut author Kristi Wientge tackles the uncomfortable—but all too relatable—subject of female body hair and self-esteem with this “sparkling and triumphant tale of a middle school misfit” (Heather Vogel Frederick). Karma Khullar is about to start middle school, and she is super nervous. Not just because it seems like her best friend has found a newer, blonder best friend. Or the fact that her home life is shaken up by the death of her dadima. Or even that her dad is the new stay-at-home parent, leading her mother to spend most of her time at work. But because she’s realized that she has seventeen hairs that have formed a mustache on her upper lip. With everyone around her focused on other things, Karma is left to figure out what to make of her terrifyingly hairy surprise all on her own.

Honorable Mentions
  1. So Done - When best friends Tai and Mila are reunited after a summer apart, their friendship threatens to combust from the pressure of secrets, middle school, and the looming dance auditions for a new talented-and-gifted program. Fans of Renée Watson’s Piecing Me Together will love this memorable story about a complex friendship between two very different African American girls—and the importance of speaking up. Jamila Phillips and Tai Johnson have been inseparable since they were toddlers, having grown up across the street from each other in Pirates Cove, a low-income housing project. As summer comes to an end, Tai can’t wait for Mila to return from spending a month with her aunt in the suburbs. But both girls are grappling with secrets, and when Mila returns she’s more focused on her upcoming dance auditions than hanging out with Tai. Paula Chase explores complex issues that affect many young teens, and So Done offers a powerful message about speaking up. Full of ballet, basketball, family, and daily life in Pirates Cove, this memorable novel is for fans of Ali Benjamin’s The Thing About Jellyfish and Jason Reynolds’s Ghost.

  2. Pumpkin Spice Secrets - Just as Maddie picks up her pumpkin spice frappe from the coffee shop counter, she spills it all over the cute boy behind her. Talk about mortifying! Luckily, the boy—Jacob—is also friendly and easy-going, and soon Maddie is deeply in crush. But before she can tell her best friend Jana about him at lunch the next day, Jana announces her huge new crush—on Jacob! Maddie doesn’t want to cause trouble, so she keeps her feelings hidden. Can she stay true to her friend and her heart?

  3. Goodbye Stranger - This brilliant, New York Times bestselling novel from the author of the Newbery Medal winner When You Reach Me explores multiple perspectives on the bonds and limits of friendship. Long ago, best friends Bridge, Emily, and Tab made a pact: no fighting. But it’s the start of seventh grade, and everything is changing. Emily’s new curves are attracting attention, and Tab is suddenly a member of the Human Rights Club. And then there’s Bridge. She’s started wearing cat ears and is the only one who’s still tempted to draw funny cartoons on her homework. It’s also the beginning of seventh grade for Sherm Russo. He wonders: what does it mean to fall for a girl—as a friend? By the time Valentine’s Day approaches, the girls have begun to question the bonds—and the limits—of friendship. Can they grow up without growing apart? “Sensitively explores togetherness, aloneness, betrayal and love.” —The New York Times A Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book for Fiction Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, NPR, and more!

  4. A Galaxy of Sea Stars - In this heartfelt middle-grade novel, Izzy’s quiet beach town life is upended when a new friendship with a Muslim girl teaches her about acceptance, respect, and being true to what is right. Izzy is starting sixth grade, and she wants her dad to act like he did before he was deployed to Afghanistan. She wants her mom to move back to the marina where they live. Most of all, she wants Piper, Zelda, and herself—the Sea Star Posse—to stay best friends. But everything changes when Izzy’s father invites his former interpreter’s family, including twelve- year-old Sitara, to move in. Izzy doesn’t know what to make of Sitara, with her hijab and refusal to eat cafeteria food, and her presence disrupts the Sea Star Posse. But as Izzy and Sitara grow closer, Izzy must make a choice: stay in her comfort zone and risk betraying her new friend, or speak up and lose the Sea Star Posse forever. A Galaxy of Sea Stars is about family, loyalty, and the hard choices we face in the name of friendship.

Books About Best Friends and Sports And Recreation

Ready, Set, Goal!
Written by Debbie Dadey & illustrated by Tatevik Avakyan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Shelly Siren and Trident Academy’s Shell Wars team travel to the city of Atlantis for the championship game in this sparkling new adventure. Illustrations. 5 1/8 x 7 5/8.

Most Valuable Players
Written by Phil Bildner & illustrated by Tim Probert
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

With their fifth grade graduation only weeks away, Rip, Red, and the rest of their classmates must decide if boycotting a test is worth forfeiting their graduation gala and the opportunity to play with Hoops Machine, a Harlem Globetrotters-like team.

Rookie of the Year
Written by Phil Bildner & illustrated by Tim Probert
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Combining fast-paced action for young readers and fresh, humorous takes on school issues for teachers, this installment in the Rip and Red series is an illustrated chapter book that both audiences will love.

Just when they think they’ve got the hang of things, Rip and Red find that fifth grade continues to challenge them in head-spinning ways. Tiki, a new girl whose Egyptian dad is an animal-rights activist, has just joined their class. She’s charismatic, funny—and she’s got game! Rip has his world turned upside down as Tiki proves to be tough competition on the Clifton United basketball team and leads a rebellion against the lousy new food service in the school cafeteria. Red—a kid on the autism spectrum—is struggling with the upheavals as well. But as these two funky and funny best friends discover, sometimes radical change is the right move, on the court and off.

Phil Bildner and Tim Probert return to the Rip and Red series that started with A Whole New Ballgame in a sequel that is just as fun and entertaining as the first book, Rookie of the Year.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Tournament of Champions - The third book in a fun, illustrated middle-grade series about friendship, school, and basketball. It’s spring of their fifth-grade year and Rip and Red have a thrilling opportunity to participate in a weekend basketball tournament with a few other members of Clifton United. While the tournament is only a short bus ride away, both boys will travel outside their comfort zones. Ultra-competitive Rip must play on a team with kids he doesn’t like. But he faces an even bigger hurdle when someone from his past returns, someone he hasn’t seen in years, someone who just may derail the entire weekend. As for Red, because of his autism spectrum disorder, he’s never traveled anywhere without his mother. Will he muster the courage to take the trip? Fortunately for both boys, also on the team is an unlikely addition, a source of inspiration who helps everyone discover the true meaning of the word champion. Tournament of Champions by Phil Bildner, with illustrations by Tim Probert, is a fun, fast-paced, and diverse middle grade novel perfect for reluctant readers and sports fans. Read all of the Rip and Red series: A Whole New Ballgame Rookie of the Year Tournament of Champions Most Valuable Players Praise for Rookie of the Year: “This fast, fun read featuring characters who love books as much as basketball will appeal to sports fans and nonathletes alike.” —School Library Journal “A diverse cast of characters highlights this good-natured, high-spirited slice of life.” —Kirkus Reviews Praise for A Whole New Ballgame: “The book depicts the evolution of a group of fifth graders who learn a lot, grow a lot, and help one another . . . The charming and diverse characters [are] pure fun with a lot of heart.” —School Library Journal “If the students are inspiring, so is [their teacher] Mr. Acevedo, who risks his job to do such radical things as reading aloud and encouraging free reading. (He’s supposed to be preparing the kids to take tests!) Probert’s cartoonish illustrations lend energy and personality to the likable cast of characters.” —Kirkus Reviews “This warm slice-of-life novel from Bildner engages and entertains . . . Probert’s energetic illustrations match the positive exuberance of the story.” —Publishers Weekly “With its energetic and authentic story and artwork, this is a fresh, fun book about school, sports, and friendship.” —Children’s Book Council

  2. The Meltdown - When snow shuts down Greg Heffley’s middle school, his neighborhood transforms into a wintry battlefield. Rival groups fight over territory, build massive snow forts, and stage epic snowball fights. And in the crosshairs are Greg and his trusty best friend, Rowley Jefferson. It’s a fight for survival as Greg and Rowley navigate alliances, betrayals, and warring gangs in a neighborhood meltdown. When the snow clears, will Greg and Rowley emerge as heroes? Or will they even survive to see another day?

  3. Roller Girl - For fans of Raina Telgemeier’s Smile, a heartwarming graphic novel about friendship and surviving junior high through the power of roller derby. For most of her twelve years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid’s life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend she feels slipping away, and cautiously embark on a new friendship. As the end of summer nears and her first roller derby bout (and junior high!) draws closer, Astrid realizes that maybe she is strong enough to handle the bout, a lost friendship, and middle school in short, strong enough to be a roller girl. In her graphic novel debut, real-life derby girl Victoria Jamieson has created an inspiring coming-of-age story about friendship, perseverence, and girl power!

  4. The Right Hook of Devin Velma - Even though he suffers from social anxiety, twelve-year-old Addison agrees to help his best friend achieve social media fame while at a nationally-televised NBA game.

Books About Best Friends and School

A Whole New Ballgame
Written by Phil Bildner & illustrated by Tim Probert
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Rip and Red are best friends whose fifth-grade year is nothing like what they expected. They have a crazy new tattooed teacher named Mr. Acevedo, who doesn’t believe in tests or homework and who likes off-the-wall projects, the more “off” the better. They also find themselves with a new basketball coach: Mr. Acevedo! Easy-going Rip is knocked completely out of his comfort zone. And for Red, who has autism and really needs things to be exactly a certain way, the changes are even more of a struggle. But together these two make a great duo who know how to help each other—and find ways to make a difference—in the classroom and on the court.

With its energetic and authentic story and artwork, this is a fresh, fun book about school, sports, and friendship.

Rock Star
Written by Kelly Starling Lyons & illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

When Jada Jones’s best friend moves away, school feels like the last place she wants to be. She’d much rather wander outside looking for cool rocks to add to her collection, since finding rocks is much easier than finding friends. So when Jada’s teacher announces a class project on rocks and minerals, Jada finally feels like she’s in her element. The only problem: one of her teammates doesn’t seem to like any of Jada’s ideas. She doesn’t seem to like Jada all that much, either. Can Jada figure out a way to make a winning science project and a new friend?

My Last Best Friend
Written by Julie Bowe & illustrated by Penguin Young Readers Licenses
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

After her best friend moves away, fourth-grader Ida May is determined not to make another best friend, despite the efforts of a new girl in her class.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Danitra Brown, Class Clown - They may be best friends, but Zuri Jackson and Danitra Brown respond very differently to the start of school. For Zuri, there are so many things to ponder — a new teacher who replaced the old one she liked so much, passing math, and worrying about her mother’s health. But for Danitra, the only real deal is being true to herself, having fun, and supporting Zuri in any way she can. Multiple Coretta Scott King award winners Nikki Grimes and E. B. Lewis have poured their best into Danitra Brown, Class Clown. This third book starring Zuri and Danitra speaks to everyone who has faced the trials of a new school year.

  2. Hammy and Gerbee: Mummies at the Museum - Best friends Hammy and Gerbee—a hamster and a gerbil—find out they’re both in Miss Capybara’s class. On a field trip to the science museum, what are two rodent friends to do but find their own fun (and trouble)? This graphic novel hybrid includes science and history facts on Egypt. Illustrations.

Books About Best Friends and Cooking And Food

The Purr-fect Scoop
Written by Coco Simon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Sierra tries to find a way to balance all of the activities in her life in this third delicious book in the Sprinkle Sundays series from the author of the Cupcake Diaries series! Sierra does lots of things. She’s captain of the softball team, the director of the school play, and she’s on Student Council, but her favorite thing to do is work at the ice cream shop with her best friends Tamiko and Allie. But when her parents decide to foster three kittens and their mama, Sierra’s life gets a lot more catty! Can Sierra do it all—and maybe find homes for the cats, too?

Cracks in the Cone
Written & illustrated by Coco Simon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Allie must find a balance between being a boss and being a friend in this second delicious book in the Sprinkle Sundays series from the author of the Cupcake Diaries series!

Emma Catwalks and Cupcakes
Written & illustrated by Coco Simon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Emma loses a modeling assignment—to Katie!—in the latest addition to the Cupcake Diaries series.

When Emma goes on an audition for a new modeling job, Katie tags along to keep her company. But as it turns out, everyone wants Katie to model instead of Emma! At first Emma is happy for her friend. Soon though, she realizes sharing the spotlight isn’t much fun, even if it is with your BFF! Will the Cupcake girls continue to bicker amongst themselves or will they finally realize there’s just one person you need to please—yourself?

Honorable Mentions
  1. Krista Kim-Bap - Krista and Jason have been best friends since preschool. It never mattered that he was a boy with reddish brown hair and she was “the Korean girl” at school. Now in fifth grade, everyone in their class is preparing their Heritage Month projects. Jason has always loved Krista’s Korean family, and particularly her mom’s cooking, but Krista is conflicted about being her school’s “Korean Ambassador.” She’s also worried about asking her intimidating grandma to teach the class how to cook their traditional kim-bap. Combine that with her new friends pulling her away from Jason, and Krista has a lot to deal with this year!

  2. Sprinkles Before Sweethearts - Tamiko, Allie, and Sierra focus on ice cream rather than crushes in this fifth delicious book in the Sprinkle Sundays series from the author of the Cupcake Diaries series! It feels like everyone around Tamiko is crazy in love, and it’s driving her crazy! Thankfully, Allie and Sierra would rather brainstorm new ice cream flavors than squeal over a crush. But there’s a small voice inside Tamiko that keeps wondering: is there something wrong with her if she’s more interested in sprinkles than sweethearts?

  3. Original Recipe - Finley’s best friend Henry is about to turn nine, and Finley has a major problem: she has no idea what to give him for his birthday. He already owns all of her best creations! The school cook-off might be the perfect solution. The grand prize is a year’s worth of Flying Pie Pizza ― Henry’s favorite. But coming up with something original and tasty is harder than it looks. As one crazy concoction leads to another, Finley discovers that cooking is just like the rest of life ― things don’t always turn out as planned and friendship is the real prize.

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