Friendship: Books For Kids

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

Reading about friendship helps us learn how to be a good friend. While friendship can change as we age, it’s essence remains the same; friendship is loyalty, fun, communication, support, compassion, and love. Enjoy our list of our favorite books showing the joy, journeys, hardships, and value of friendship! We hope you might even make a few (book) friends along the way.

“Reading for me, is spending time with a friend.” – Gary Pauls

Top 10 Books About Friendship

The Secret Garden book
#1
The Secret Garden
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

A fun classic filled with adventure and friendship. A story of a young girl who finds herself feeling alone, as many of our young readers will. However, through The Secret Gardner, readers can experience the fun of branching out and trying new things, and the friends that come along the way.

After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.

To the Sea book
#2
To the Sea
Written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I absolutely LOVE To the Sea. The text is simple and relatively sparse, making it a pretty quick read while tackling the issues of loneliness and friendship in a kid-friendly and optimistic way. The illustrations are fun, modern and so expressive—such a fun read aloud!

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.

Anne of Green Gables (Puffin in Bloom) book
#3
Anne of Green Gables (Puffin in Bloom)
Written by L.M. Montgomery
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.

The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! book
#4
The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!
Written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Goodfather

Rob Biddulph is a phenomenal children’s book author and illustrator, and I love his work in The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!. His creative rhyming leads readers through a wonderful tale of the value of competition and friendship, while his fun illustrations bring the story to life.

From the award-winning author and illustrator of Blown Away, Rob Biddulph, comes a delightfully hilarious story about a grizzly bear named Fred who loses his GRRRRR. Each year, for as long as the forest has stood, a contest is held for the bears of the wood… Fred is the champion. He’s the best. But being the best takes time and training, especially when it comes to having the loudest growl. Then, one morning, disaster strikes—Fred’s GRRRRR is gone! Oh, no! Will Fred find his GRRRRR and realize that there’s more to life than being a winner?

Dough Knights and Dragons book
#5
Dough Knights and Dragons
Written by Dee Leone and illustrated by George Ermos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I think this book is so fun! I love that the unlikely pair become friends, use their creativity and problem-solving skills, and most of all, that they stand up for what they think is right! Very cute illustrations, too! :)

In a mythical kingdom, a knight and a dragon cook up a delicious plan to save their friendship! In Dough Knights and Dragons, a curious knight and an amiable dragon meet serendipitously, and instantly bond over their shared love of baking. But the friends are filled with sadness when, according to the law, the two must duel one another. Can the unlikely pair find a way to evade the law, save their friendship, and spread good throughout the land? Kids will devour this scrumptiously clever tale!

Blue Chameleon book
#6
Blue Chameleon
Written and illustrated by Emily Gravett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Chameleon can turn himself into anything and appear to fit in anywhere, but it seems that neither the swirly snail, the green grasshopper nor the striped sock want to be friends. Will he ever find someone to talk to? Someone just like him?

With a subtle and witty interplay between words and illustrations this introduction to colors and shapes (and chameleons!) is sure to delight kids of all ages.

Penguin and Pinecone book
#7
Penguin and Pinecone
Written and illustrated by Salina Yoon
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Geisel Honor-winning author/illustrator Salina Yoon introduces readers to a beloved character in Penguin and Pinecone—a picture book about friendship that will warm your heart!

When curious little Penguin finds a lost pinecone in the snow, their friendship grows into something extraordinary! But Grandpa reminds Penguin that pinecones can’t live in the snow—they belong in the warm forest far away. Can Penguin help Pinecone get home? And can they stay friends, even if they’re miles apart?

Prolific author/illustrator Salina Yoon’s spare text and bright, energetic illustrations bring to life this endearing story celebrating friendships lost and found, and overcoming the odds to be with the one you love.

Let's Go, Hugo! book
#8
Let's Go, Hugo!
Written and illustrated by Angela Dominguez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Hugo is a bird that’s afraid to fly. I love this story, because he faces his fears and ends up so happy once he’s learned how to fly. I also love that he has such wonderful friends along the way that help him practice and help him through his nerves when he’s scared. Sometimes it’s helpful to have friends that can help you to overcome your fears. :) Plus, the illustrations in this story based in Paris are gorgeous!

Hugo is a dapper little bird who adores the Eiffel Tower — or at least his view of it from down here. Hugo, you see, has never left the ground. So when he meets another bird, the determined Lulu, who invites him to fly with her to the top of the tower, Hugo stalls, persuading Lulu to see, on foot, every inch of the park in which he lives instead. Will a nighttime flying lesson from Bernard the Owl, some sweet and sensible encouragement from Lulu, and some extra pluck from Hugo himself finally give this bird the courage he needs to spread his wings and fly?

Stick and Stone (Board Book) book
#9
Stick and Stone (Board Book)
Written by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Stick and Stone are sticking together in this hilarious and heart-warming board book that proves once and for all why best friends ROCK!

Enemy Pie book
#10
Enemy Pie
Written by Derek Munson and illustrated by Tara Calahan King
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

It was the perfect summer. That is, until Jeremy Ross moved into the house down the street and became neighborhood enemy number one. Luckily Dad had a surefire way to get rid of enemies: Enemy Pie. But part of the secret recipe is spending an entire day playing with the enemy!

In this funny yet endearing story, one little boy learns an effective recipe for turning your best enemy into your best friend. Accompanied by charming illustrations, Enemy Pie serves up a sweet lesson in the difficulties and ultimate rewards of making new friends.

Books About Friendship and Making Friends

The Secret Garden book
#1
The Secret Garden
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

A fun classic filled with adventure and friendship. A story of a young girl who finds herself feeling alone, as many of our young readers will. However, through The Secret Gardner, readers can experience the fun of branching out and trying new things, and the friends that come along the way.

After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.

Blue Chameleon book
#2
Blue Chameleon
Written and illustrated by Emily Gravett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Chameleon can turn himself into anything and appear to fit in anywhere, but it seems that neither the swirly snail, the green grasshopper nor the striped sock want to be friends. Will he ever find someone to talk to? Someone just like him?

With a subtle and witty interplay between words and illustrations this introduction to colors and shapes (and chameleons!) is sure to delight kids of all ages.

Ruff!: And the Wonderfully Amazing Busy Day book
#3
Ruff!: And the Wonderfully Amazing Busy Day
Written and illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

A fun story all about friends and teamwork! This is a story that can really help get everyone excited to work with friends to accomplish any task, big or small. Ruff is sure to exemplify the qualities of making friends by being a friend.

Meet Ruff the Dog, star of the picture book Ruff! And the Wonderfully Amazing Busy Day. He’s an adorable new animal character created by bestselling illustrator Caroline Jayne Church. What Ruff wants most is to make some friends. He accidentally digs up the house of a little grey mouse named Hubble. By the time Ruff helps Hubble make a new home, he has a friend. Then he and Hubble decide to help Lottie, a duck who has also lost her home. And soon Ruff has a second friend! Caroline Jayne Chruch’s full-color illustrations bring all the animals in her charming story to life.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Andi Unexpected - B is for Bookworm - This story shows how grief is manifested in different ways, but how the two sisters and their guardian bonded together and strengthened one another in their difficult times. I also loved that the mystery was about Andi’s family history and linked to the great depression, both of which are great topics for readers to learn about. I loved following along in their sleuthing and detective efforts to figure out the answer to their mystery. :)

  2. The Invisible Boy - The Book Snob Mom - The book is gorgeously and emotionally illustrated, letting the colors speak to the emotions of Brian —the invisible boy— in this story. A powerful reminder that bullying takes many forms and that one person and one act of kindness can truly make a difference, even if they’re the only one.

  3. A Unicorn Named Sparkle - When Lucy sees an ad in the newspaper for a unicorn, she sends in her twenty-five cents and waits four to six long weeks for her very own unicorn to arrive. She imagines the flowers that she’ll braid into his beautiful pink mane, and she even picks the perfect name for him: Sparkle. But when Sparkle arrives, his ears are too long, his horn is too short, he smells funny—and oh, he has fleas. Lucy isn’t pleased, but in the end she warms up to Sparkle and realizes that even though he wasn’t exactly the unicorn she wanted, he might be just the one she needs.

  4. Reptile Club, The - The Fun Uncle - The Reptile Club is a fun story about unexpected friendship. It’s a tale that reminds us to not overlook people (or animals!) that may not have seemed like friend material originally.

Want to see 25 more children's books about friendship and making friends?

How about children's books about making friends?

Books About Friendship and Problem Solving

To the Sea book
#1
To the Sea
Written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I absolutely LOVE To the Sea. The text is simple and relatively sparse, making it a pretty quick read while tackling the issues of loneliness and friendship in a kid-friendly and optimistic way. The illustrations are fun, modern and so expressive—such a fun read aloud!

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.

Dough Knights and Dragons book
#2
Dough Knights and Dragons
Written by Dee Leone and illustrated by George Ermos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I think this book is so fun! I love that the unlikely pair become friends, use their creativity and problem-solving skills, and most of all, that they stand up for what they think is right! Very cute illustrations, too! :)

In a mythical kingdom, a knight and a dragon cook up a delicious plan to save their friendship! In Dough Knights and Dragons, a curious knight and an amiable dragon meet serendipitously, and instantly bond over their shared love of baking. But the friends are filled with sadness when, according to the law, the two must duel one another. Can the unlikely pair find a way to evade the law, save their friendship, and spread good throughout the land? Kids will devour this scrumptiously clever tale!

Duncan the Story Dragon book
#3
Duncan the Story Dragon
Written and illustrated by Amanda Driscoll
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Duncan the Dragon loves to read. When he reads a story, his imagination catches fire! Unfortunately . . . so does his book.

Fire breath is great for roasting marshmallows, but it’s not so great for reading. Duncan just wants to get to those two wonderful words, like the last sip of a chocolate milk shake: The End. Will he ever find out how the story ends?

This bright, warm tale champions determination, friendship, and a love for books. And milk shakes!

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Whale in My Swimming Pool - One sunny day, a little boy heads outside for a swim, but his pool is already taken . . . There’s a big whale in the water and it’s not budging! The boy tries everything to get the whale to leave. Nothing seems to work. Not fetch. Not tag. Not even offering his allowance. What’s a boy to do? Luckily, he comes up with the perfect solution: he decides to chill out on a spray of water over the whale’s spout. This colorful whale of a tale from the talented Joyce Wan is sure to inspire giggles from little guppies!

  2. Journey - Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship. A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire? With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.

  3. Max and Marla - Two fearless Olympians sled to victory in this delightful new picture book Max and Marla are best friends. And aspiring Olympians! With their eyes on the prize, they know exactly what it’ll take to reach sledding success: preparation, practice and perseverance. So when rusty blades, strong winds and difficult slopes get in their way, Max and Marla realize true joy lies not in winning but in friendship. Obstacles turn into victories! With delightful illustrations and charming text, Alexandra Boiger brings to life the story of two unstoppable pals—true Olympians who never give up!

  4. Lulu's Party - Follow-up to Kit Chase’s popular and utterly charming debut, Oliver’s Tree, starring Lulu, Charlie, and Oliver The weather is stormy and Lulu is disappointed that she can’t play outside, so she makes a special Rainy Day Treat and plans the perfect party for her friends Oliver and Charlie. But when it’s time to taste the creamy hot chocolate, they quickly realize something went very wrong. Lulu is devastated that her party is ruined, but with some quick-thinking, Charlie and Oliver figure out a delicious solution to save the day! Kit Chase offers a sweet ode to friendship in this tale of three best friends who are always ready to use their imaginations and help each other out.

Want to see more children's books about problem solving?

Books About Friendship and Empathy

Stick and Stone (Board Book) book
#1
Stick and Stone (Board Book)
Written by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Stick and Stone are sticking together in this hilarious and heart-warming board book that proves once and for all why best friends ROCK!

A Sick Day for Amos McGee book
#2
A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This book is beautifully told through both words and illustrations. I love how the story comes full circle from Amos visiting the animals and helping them every day to the animals coming to visit Amos on his sick day, demonstrating that true friendship goes both ways!

THE BEST SICK DAY EVER and the animals in the zoo feature in this striking picture book debut. Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee’s case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it’s time they returned the favor. A Sick Day for Amos McGee is a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children’s Book of the Year and the winner of the 2011 Caldecott Medal. This title has Common Core connections.

The One and Only Ivan book
#3
The One and Only Ivan
Written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by Patricia Castelao
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Soon to be a major motion picture! This Harper Classic edition of the Newbery Medal winner and #1 New York Times bestseller includes an author’s note, a letter from the real Ivan’s caretaker at Zoo Atlanta, Ivan’s “signature,” discussion questions, and more. This unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendship. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated book is told from the point of view of Ivan himself. Having spent twenty-seven years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes. In the tradition of timeless classics such as Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little. Katherine Applegate’s novel blends humor and poignancy to create this incredible tale of friendship, art, and hope. The One and Only Ivan was named to multiple state lists, received three starred reviews, and was hailed as a best book of the year by Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Amazon. Plus don’t miss Katherine Applegate’s Endling series!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Be Kind - A thoughtful picture book illustrating the power of small acts of kindness, from the award-winning author of Sophie’s Squash.

  2. Mira and the Big Story - Mira is a girl with big questions. She knows two different stories about the way the world came to be. Which story is right? Can they both be right? Is there room for more than one way to think about the world and our place in it? Follow her on an inspiring journey as she discovers a story big enough to include everyone. Along the way, Mira learns to respect and revere the traditions and beliefs of others. Teach children kindness and acceptance with this beautifully illustrated and compelling tale. It is sure to keep young ones enthralled.

Want to see more children's books about empathy?

Books About Friendship and Bears

The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! book
#1
The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!
Written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Goodfather

Rob Biddulph is a phenomenal children’s book author and illustrator, and I love his work in The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!. His creative rhyming leads readers through a wonderful tale of the value of competition and friendship, while his fun illustrations bring the story to life.

From the award-winning author and illustrator of Blown Away, Rob Biddulph, comes a delightfully hilarious story about a grizzly bear named Fred who loses his GRRRRR. Each year, for as long as the forest has stood, a contest is held for the bears of the wood… Fred is the champion. He’s the best. But being the best takes time and training, especially when it comes to having the loudest growl. Then, one morning, disaster strikes—Fred’s GRRRRR is gone! Oh, no! Will Fred find his GRRRRR and realize that there’s more to life than being a winner?

The Best Bear in All the World book
#2
The Best Bear in All the World
Written by Paul Bright, Brian Sibley, Kate Saunders, and Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Mark Burgess
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love these stories based off of the original Winnie the Pooh, and love that it’s divided up into four stories with the four seasons. Pooh is always so positive and looks for the good in everything, there’s so much wisdom from the little sayings throughout the story. I think Pooh is a great example of choosing to look at the bright side and be happy. :) It’s so fun to read about these sweet stories of friendship.

For the 90th anniversary of Winnie-the-Pooh, a sequel featuring new stories and a new character from the Hundred Acre Wood.

Now a New York Times Bestseller.

The Trustees of the Pooh Properties have commissioned four authors to write in the timeless style of A.A. Milne to create a quartet of charming new adventures for Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin, and their friends. Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall: take a trip back to the Hundred Acre Wood with a collection of tales sure to delight year-round.

One story finds Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet on a quest to discover the “Sauce of the Nile” (they suspect it’s apple). And in another, all the animals rally around poor Eeyore when he thinks he sees another donkey eyeing his clover. The winter story features a new penguin character, based on a stuffed toy owned by Christopher Robin Milne himself. Readers of all ages will love rediscovering old friends and making new ones in this essential new volume of Pooh stories.

The book feature beautiful color artwork in the style of Ernest H. Shepard by Mark Burgess.

Corduroy book
#3
Corduroy
Written and illustrated by Don Freeman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Corduroy was first introduced to readers in 1968, and in the fifty years since, his adventures have never stopped.

Corduroy has been on the department store shelf for a long time. Yet as soon as Lisa sees him, she knows that he’s the bear for her. Her mother, though, thinks he’s a little shopworn—he’s even missing a button! Still, Corduroy knows that with a bit of work he can tidy himself up and be just the bear for Lisa. And where better to start than with a nighttime adventure through the department store, searching for a new button!

Celebrate 50 years of this irresistible childhood classic, a heartwarming story about a little bear and a little girl finding the friend they have always wanted in each other.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Bear Who Stared - There once was a bear who liked to stare… and stare… and STARE. Bear doesn’t mean to be rude, he’s just curious but too shy to say anything. But nobody likes being stared at and it soon gets Bear into trouble. Luckily a goggly-eyed frog helps Bear realise that sometimes a smile is all you need to turn a stare into a friendly hello.

  2. Bear's Scare - This adorable, quirky board book features a charming odd-couple friendship and is perfect for fans of Peter Brown and Greg Pizzoli. Bear likes to keep his house clean and tidy. In fact, the only thing Bear loves more than cleaning is taking care of his small stuffed friend, Ursa. Then Bear sees a sticky spiderweb . . . and where there’s a web there is certainly a spider! The messy guest must be found, but what Bear and Ursa finally discover might just be an unlikely friend.

  3. Bear Out There - Bear and Spider are back in another charming odd-couple friendship story, perfect for fans of Peter Brown and Greg Pizzoli. Bear’s favorite place is inside. He loves sharing his tidy home with his friend Spider. Spider loves the outdoors! When Spider’s kite flies away, Bear must venture out and into the messy forest to help his friend. As their quest in the forest goes from bad to worse, Bear and Spider show readers that being a friend means being there for each other, no matter what.

  4. Bear's Book - A story about stories, writing, reading, and friendship When Bear’s favorite book of stories falls apart, he is determined to write one of his own. He ventures into the forest for inspiration, but writing is harder than he thinks, and he soon discovers that he needs help from his friends. See how Bear transforms their day into a wonderful adventure in this story about creativity and friendship.

Want to see more children's books about bears?

Books About Friendship and Facing Fears

Let's Go, Hugo! book
#1
Let's Go, Hugo!
Written and illustrated by Angela Dominguez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Hugo is a bird that’s afraid to fly. I love this story, because he faces his fears and ends up so happy once he’s learned how to fly. I also love that he has such wonderful friends along the way that help him practice and help him through his nerves when he’s scared. Sometimes it’s helpful to have friends that can help you to overcome your fears. :) Plus, the illustrations in this story based in Paris are gorgeous!

Hugo is a dapper little bird who adores the Eiffel Tower — or at least his view of it from down here. Hugo, you see, has never left the ground. So when he meets another bird, the determined Lulu, who invites him to fly with her to the top of the tower, Hugo stalls, persuading Lulu to see, on foot, every inch of the park in which he lives instead. Will a nighttime flying lesson from Bernard the Owl, some sweet and sensible encouragement from Lulu, and some extra pluck from Hugo himself finally give this bird the courage he needs to spread his wings and fly?

Hopper and Wilson book
#2
Hopper and Wilson
Written and illustrated by Maria van Lieshout
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from Mom of Boys

I really like this book. 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, but they look for a solution and try to find one another. I think it gives the reader reason and hope in focusing on the good in the world and not worrying or fearing what may come.

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.

Little Cub book
#3
Little Cub
Written and illustrated by Olivier Dunrea
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A darling companion to Old Bear and His Cub from the New York Times bestselling creator of the Gossie books

What’s an Old Bear to do when he finds a Little Cub all alone and afraid of the dark? Adopt him, of course! And help him try to get over his fears. In this book we see the father and son from Old Bear and His Cub meet for the first time—and grow to love one another.

With the same bold art and humorous twist on parenting, Olivier Dunrea’s tumbling bears will melt your heart and show how strong the bond is between any father and son pair.

Praise for LITTLE CUB

*”Readers will treasure the bears’ gingerly give-and-take—watching them serendipitously become a family of two is a joy to behold.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

*”Dunrea packs a huge amount of emotion into his limited text and engaging art. A delight for fans of these characters and a lovely next step for children ready to move beyond the ‘Gossie and Friends’ series.” —School Library Journal, starred review

Honorable Mentions
  1. Bear Feels Scared - Bad weather frightens Bear, but his woodland friends are there to help him in this sweet, reassuring Bear story from bestselling duo Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman! In the deep, dark woods by the Strawberry Vale, a big bear lumbers down a small, crooked trail… The sun is setting and it’s getting chilly. When Bear’s friends discover that he is not at home in his lair, they march out into the cold to find their pal. Friends don’t let friends stay lost! Wren, Owl, and Raven take to the skies while Badger, Mole, and Mouse search on the ground. Pretty soon Bear is found, and once he’s back in his cave, he feels quite safe with his friends all around.

  2. Somewhere Else - George has absolutely no interest in exploring the world. None at all. He’s far too busy enjoying his home life and baking delicious pastries. Or so he tells all his friends when they invite him along on their wonderful adventures. But when George’s friend Pascal digs a little deeper, the real reason George refuses to travel away from home is finally revealed . . . From the children’s book author of the acclaimed Herman and Rosie comes Gus Gordon’s Somewhere Else.

  3. Pablo in the Snow - What is soft, fluffy, and white? Pablo’s wool, of course. But this little lamb soon discovers that there’s something else as well: SNOW! From making trails to sledding with friends, having snowball fights and crafting snowmen, there’s tons of fun to be had in the snow. But winter days grow dark very fast, and Pablo finds himself lost on his way home. Not to worry―Mama and Papa help Pablo get back to the cozy barn so he can talk about his adventures.

  4. Super Spooked - Although she has battled supervillains, Ellie has recently become scared of the dark, so when she is invited to a Halloween sleepover at her best friend’s house she is apprehensive—but when the villainous Fairy Frightmare sprinkles the girls with bad dream dust, trapping them all inside their nightmares, Ellie must squash her own fears to rescue her friends.

Want to see more children's books about facing fears?

Books About Friendship and Kindness

Enemy Pie book
#1
Enemy Pie
Written by Derek Munson and illustrated by Tara Calahan King
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

It was the perfect summer. That is, until Jeremy Ross moved into the house down the street and became neighborhood enemy number one. Luckily Dad had a surefire way to get rid of enemies: Enemy Pie. But part of the secret recipe is spending an entire day playing with the enemy!

In this funny yet endearing story, one little boy learns an effective recipe for turning your best enemy into your best friend. Accompanied by charming illustrations, Enemy Pie serves up a sweet lesson in the difficulties and ultimate rewards of making new friends.

My Year in the Middle book
#2
My Year in the Middle
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Miss Garrett’s classroom is like every other at our school. White kids sit on one side and black kids on the other. I’m one of the few middle-rowers who split the difference. In a racially polarized classroom in 1970 Alabama, Lu’s talent for running track makes her a new best friend—and tests her mettle as she navigates the school’s social cliques. Sixth-grader Lu Olivera just wants to keep her head down and get along with everyone in her class. Trouble is, Lu’s old friends have been changing lately—acting boy crazy and making snide remarks about Lu’s newfound talent for running track. Lu’s secret hope for a new friend is fellow runner Belinda Gresham, but in 1970 Red Grove, Alabama, blacks and whites don’t mix. As segregationist ex-governor George Wallace ramps up his campaign against the current governor, Albert Brewer, growing tensions in the state—and in the classroom—mean that Lu can’t stay neutral about the racial divide at school. Will she find the gumption to stand up for what’s right and to choose friends who do the same?

What Can a Citizen Do? book
#3
What Can a Citizen Do?
Written by Dave Eggers and illustrated by Shawn Harris
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A citizen can pick up litter A citizen can pull a weed A citizen can help that critter A citizen can plant a seed A citizen can aid a neighbor A citizen can join a cause A citizen can write a letter A citizen can help change laws . . . Empowering and timeless, What Can a Citizen Do? is the latest collaboration from the acclaimed duo behind the bestselling Her Right Foot: Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris. This is a book for today’s youth about what it means to be a citizen. Across the course of several seemingly unrelated but ultimately connected actions by different children, we watch how kids turn a lonely island into a community—and watch a journey from what the world should be to what the world could be. This is a book about what citizenship—good citizenship—means to you, and to us all.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Pip and Posy: The New Friend - Pip and Posy are having a lovely day at the beach, collecting shells and digging in the sand. But when Posy takes a nap, Pip makes a new friend named Zac. Zac is very cool: he has lots of fun toys and he’s really good at handstands. When Posy wakes up, she finds that Pip is more interested in playing with Zac than with her. A funny and dramatic story about discovering that two’s company and three’s a . . . PARTY!

  2. Lubna and Pebble - In an unforgettable story that subtly addresses the refugee crisis, a young girl must decide if friendship means giving up the one item that gives her comfort during a time of utter uncertainty. Lubna’s best friend is a pebble. Pebble always listens to her stories. Pebble always smiles when she feels scared. But when a lost little boy arrives in the World of Tents, Lubna realizes that he needs Pebble even more than she does. This emotionally stirring and stunningly illustrated picture book explores one girl’s powerful act of friendship in the midst of an unknown situation.

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Books About Friendship and Love

Penguin and Pinecone book
#1
Penguin and Pinecone
Written and illustrated by Salina Yoon
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Geisel Honor-winning author/illustrator Salina Yoon introduces readers to a beloved character in Penguin and Pinecone—a picture book about friendship that will warm your heart!

When curious little Penguin finds a lost pinecone in the snow, their friendship grows into something extraordinary! But Grandpa reminds Penguin that pinecones can’t live in the snow—they belong in the warm forest far away. Can Penguin help Pinecone get home? And can they stay friends, even if they’re miles apart?

Prolific author/illustrator Salina Yoon’s spare text and bright, energetic illustrations bring to life this endearing story celebrating friendships lost and found, and overcoming the odds to be with the one you love.

I Loathe You book
#2
I Loathe You
Written and illustrated by David Slonim
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Unconditional loathing is disguised as monsterly love in this sweetly humorous picture book from acclaimed author-illustrator David Slonim. Just how much does Big Monster loathe Little Monster? Let it count the ways… I loathe you more than tooth decay More than blizzard snow in May More than garbage in a dump More than splinters in my rump No matter what, through thick and thin, I loathe you there and back again! Author and illustrator David Slonim depicts a tender, tongue-in-cheek celebration of a very special kind of loathe…er, love.

We are Better Together book
#3
We are Better Together
Written by Roger Priddy
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

You can’t paint a picture without paint, or make a milkshake without milk. This charming book of teamwork and friendship shows how individual things are so much better, when they all work together! Flour, eggs, butter, and sugar all join together to make a cake; paper, scissors, and tape wrap a beautiful present. Designed with a mixture of photographs and fun illustrations to engage little ones and make them smile, there are cute rhymes to read and share in this celebration of teamwork in its many forms.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Hey, Boy - In the classic style of The Giving Tree comes a touching debut picture book about the unfaltering love between a boy and his pet. One day a boy finds a dog. He takes him home, already dreaming of the adventures they will have and the games they will play. But when the boy gets hurt, he and his new best friend are separated. Will the boy be able to grow up quickly enough to get his furry companion back, or will life keep getting in the way? With dreamily spare text and sweeping yet simple illustrations, Hey, Boy is a reminder that true friends always find their way home to each other.

  2. Small Bunny's Blue Blanket - Small Bunny does everything with Blue Blanket. Blue Blanket helps him paint the best pictures, go the highest on the swings, and read the hardest words. They need each other. But one day, Small Bunny’s mother insists Blue Blanket needs to be washed. She says Blue Blanket will be as good as new after. But Bunny isn’t sure he likes new. Will his friend ever be the same?

  3. How Do I Love Thee? - A gorgeous reinvention of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous “Sonnet 43” from the bestselling author of the BabyLit board books and the acclaimed illustrator of Over and Under the Snow. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Whether in soft sunlight or rain-drizzled night or winter’s frost-etched breath, three children share the love and joy of friendship while exploring the wonders of nature. Bestselling author Jennifer Adams has reimagined Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s beloved “Sonnet 43,” best known by its opening lines, creating a lyrical, evocative ode to the love of family and friends. Christopher Silas Neal brings the poetry to life with his beautiful, imaginative, and whimsical illustrations.

  4. We Are Brothers, We Are Friends - Being a big brother is a BIG job. There’s lots to show your little brother . . . Trains . . . Planes . . . How to be a dinosaur. There are games to play and adventures to be had. And if trouble comes, it’s big brother to the rescue because there’s no better friend than a brother.

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Books About Friendship and Adventure

Lost And Found book
#1
Lost And Found
Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

What is a boy to do when a lost penguin shows up at his door? Find out where it comes from, of course, and return it. But the journey to the South Pole is long and difficult in the boy’s rowboat. There are storms to brave and deep, dark nights.To pass the time, the boy tells the penguin stories. Finally, they arrive. Yet instead of being happy, both are sad. That’s when the boy realizes: The penguin hadn’t been lost, it had merely been lonely.

A poignant, funny, and child-friendly story about friendship lost . . . and then found again.

Sunk! book
#2
Sunk!
Written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

A pirate hat. A sunny day. For Penguin Blue A game to play…

Penguin Blue is back in a swashbuckling new adventure about pirates, treasure, and friendship. While sailing the seven seas Captain Blue and his friends are unexpectedly sunk! But with a shipwreck to explore and a mysterious stranger on a desert island to meet, they might still find some treasure after all. The follow-up to the bestselling and award-winning Blown Away.

The Little Green Girl book
#3
The Little Green Girl
Written and illustrated by Lisa Anchin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Mr. Aster, who likes routine, is happy to care for Little Green Girl when she arrives in his garden, but not interested in helping her see the world beyond its walls.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Thunder Pug - Welcome back the perfect pug-and-pig pair: Percy and Petunia. The two besties are inseparable—until Petunia wins a blue ribbon at the fair. Suddenly she’s too busy to play anymore. So when lonely Percy finds a faded comic book, he takes on a new persona: THUNDER PUG! But what’s a superhero without a sidekick? Will a little “Pink Lightning” (aka Petunia) come to his rescue?

  2. Penny and Penelope - Two girls on a play date learn there’s more to each other than meets the eye with a little help from their dolls in this exciting picture book adventure. Penny and Penelope are very different dolls. Penelope is a sweet princess, while Penny is a fierce secret agent. Penelope wants to ride her pony through the countryside, while Penny wants to wrestle alligators. How can they possibly get along playing in an imaginary kingdom? Luckily, Penny and Penelope are more than their packaging. After all, you can’t judge a doll by its outfit.

  3. Anne of Green Gables - BabyLit(R) Storybooks give classics new life for the next generation of early readers. In Anne of Green Gables, preschoolers get to know the beloved redheaded orphan Anne Shirley, who is sent to live with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert in Avonlea. Tag along with Anne on her adventures with her best friend Diana and classmate Gilbert as they explore Prince Edward Island. Easy-to-follow, engaging text combined with original quotes and beautiful artwork create a book to be treasured through childhood and beyond. Part of the BabyLit(R) Storybook Series. Stephanie Clarkson authored Pride and Prejudice BabyLit(R) Storybook. She is also the author of Sleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-ups, illustrated by Brigette Barrager (Scholastic). She lives in Surrey, England. Annabel Tempest illustrated three previous BabyLit(R) Storybooks: Pride and Prejudice, The Jungle Book, and Moby-Dick. She lives in Somerset, England.

  4. Peanut and Grape - “Peanut and grape are a perfect pair! Morning and night, rain or shine, through thick and thin…these two friends are always better together!”—Back cover

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Books About Friendship and Pets

Charlotte and the Rock book
#1
Charlotte and the Rock
Written by Stephen W. Martin and illustrated by Samantha Cotterill
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

An unexpected friendship forms between a girl and her pet rock in this charming story that’s perfect for fans of What Pet Should I Get?

Charlotte has always really wanted a pet, so when her parents present her with one for her birthday she expects a cat, dog, or maybe a bird. Instead, she receives a rock. Rocks can’t cuddle, fetch, or even help her eat her vegetables, but that doesn’t stop Charlotte from loving her rock as if he were real. If only he could love her back…or can he?

Strictly No Elephants book
#2
Strictly No Elephants
Written by Lisa Mantchev and illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When the local Pet Club won’t admit a boy’s tiny pet elephant, he finds a solution—one that involves all kinds of unusual animals in this sweet and adorable picture book.

Today is Pet Club day. There will be cats and dogs and fish, but strictly no elephants are allowed. The Pet Club doesn’t understand that pets come in all shapes and sizes, just like friends. Now it is time for a boy and his tiny pet elephant to show them what it means to be a true friend.

Imaginative and lyrical, this sweet story captures the magic of friendship and the joy of having a pet.

Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1! book
#3
Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1!
Written by Jennifer Swender and Paul DuBois Jacobs and illustrated by Stephanie Laberis
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

The first three novels in the Animal Inn chapter book series, where the fur—and fun—flies at an animal spa and hotel, are now available together in a fur-tastic paperback edition! The Animal Inn is an all-inclusive pet resort and spa for animals from dogs to rabbits, cats to ducks, parrots to lizards. From doggie and kitty daycare, to grooming, and group play—you name it, and the Animal Inn has it. The Inn is run by the Tyler family along with their pets Leopold, the Macaw; Fuzzy and Furry, the gerbils; dogs Dash and Coco; felines Shadow and Whiskers; and a rollicking horde of animal visitors. In A Furry Fiasco, when the animals hear that a new boarder—a Komodo Dragon—will be coming to the Inn, they panic! Will it gobble them all up and then devour their family? In Treasure Hunt, the animals are convinced a pirate with a glittering treasure is visiting the Animal Inn. Will the animals have to walk the plank in order to survive? Arghhh! And in The Bow-Wow Bus, Cassie Tyler’s first grade class takes a field trip to Animal Inn for a meet and greet. And it’s a furry good time for all—even for the newest kid in class, a goldfish named Blub.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Floaty - Blah! Mr. Raisin is a bit of a grump. He lives all alone in a little house, and he likes it that way just fine. One day, a mysterious basket appears on Mr. Raisin’s doorstep. When he opens it up, it seems there’s nothing inside . . . until he notices a floating dog bobbing along his ceiling. What follows is a heartwarming, hilarious tale about embracing the unexpected—and finding friendship that takes you to new heights.

  2. Cody Harmon, King of Pets - Cody Harmon doesn’t love reading, math, spelling, or really any of the subjects that Miss Molina teaches in her third-grade class. But he lives on a farm and he loves animals—he even has nine pets—so when the school holds a pet-show fund-raiser, it should be his time to shine. There’s a ten-dollar entrance fee per pet, though, and Cody can’t pay it for all nine pets. He’d love to take his pig, but what about the others? In the end, Cody figures out a way to lend out his pets so that every person in the class (and every pet) gets to participate in the show.

  3. The Rough Patch - Evan and his dog do everything together. They play and read and eat. But mostly you will find them tending to Evan’s extraordinary garden, where flowers and other good things flourish and reach for the sky. But friends don’t always stay forever, and when Evan loses his, he destroys the place that meant the most to them, and creates something to match his mood. Something ugly and twisted, sad and stubborn, ragged and rough—and he likes it that way. Until one day . . . New York Times–bestselling author Brian Lies has created a breathtakingly beautiful and luminescent book about loss and grief, love and hope, and the healing power of friendship, curiosity, and nature.

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Books About Friendship and Family

The Rag Coat book
#1
The Rag Coat
Written and illustrated by Lauren A. Mills
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

With paintings that capture all the beauty of Appalachia in authentic detail, this tender story about a resourceful mountain girl’s special coat will touchreaders with its affirming message of love and friendship.

Three Little Words book
#2
Three Little Words
Written by Clemency Pearce and illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Perfect for Valentine’s Day, graduation, birthdays, or anytime a hug is required, this beautiful book lets children know their parents will always be there for them!

What are the three little words that make everything better? I Love You! Preschoolers will love snuggling with their families and counting all the ways that the three little words “I love you” can solve most every childhood concern. With warm, cuddly, reassuring illustrations of adorable animal families, this book lets children know that their parents will always be there with lots of hugs and kisses.

“Each time the phrase I love you is introduced, Pearce describes it with a different adjective, such as mighty, friendly, or winning, which emphasizes the myriad ways unconditional love can rescue upsetting moments…. The bouncy rhythm makes it fun to read aloud, especially since little ones will easily catch on to the repeated refrain. Great for any time a kiddo needs a boost of confidence.”—Booklist

Best Friends: We Are A Family book
#3
Best Friends: We Are A Family
Written by Roger Priddy
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Like peas in a pod, and leaves in a tree, we all belong to a family! Whether they are big, or whether they are small, this charming book shows young readers that there are all kinds of different families to be found in the world around us, from a bunch of balloons, to eggs in a box, and fingers on a hand. Designed with a mixture of photographs and fun illustrations to engage little ones and make them smile, there are cute rhymes to read and share in this celebration of family in its many forms.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Trees of the Dancing Goats - Trisha loves the eight days of Hanukkah, when her mother stays home from work, her Babushka makes delicious potato latkes, and her Grampa carves wonderful animals out of wood as gifts for Trisha and her brother. In the middle of her family’s preparation for the festival of lights, Trisha visits her closest neighbors, expecting to find them decorating their house for Christmas. Instead they are all bedridden with scarlet fever. Trisha’s family is one of the few who has been spared from the epidemic. It is difficult for them to enjoy their Hanukkah feast when they know that their neighbors won’t be able to celebrate their holiday. Then Grampa has an inspiration: they will cut down trees, decorate them, and secretly deliver them to the neighbors, “But what can we decorate them with?” Babushka asks. Although it is a sacrifice, Trisha realizes that Grampa’s carved animals are the perfect answer. Soon her living room is filled with trees — but that is only the first miracle of many during an incredible holiday season. Based on a long cherished childhood memory, this story celebrates the miracle of true friendship.

  2. Time for a Hug - A little rabbit receives hugs around the clock.

  3. The Storm Whale in Winter - In this sequel to The Storm Whale, the boy, Noi, is caught in a storm at sea and his whale friend comes to his rescue. When Noi’s dad sails out on one last fishing trip before winter, Noi waits for him at home. But as the storm worsens and his dad does not return, Noi decides to go looking for his dad. But the storm is powerful and dangerous, and soon Noi, too, is stuck in the icy sea. When it seems that all hope is lost, a friend comes to help Noi and his father. Poignant and evocative, this is a beautiful celebration of friendship and family, and the special bond between a father and son.

  4. Max and the Superheroes - Max is crazy about superheroes, like all his friends, but the one he loves most is Megapower—especially when she turns into his Mommy and gives him a goodnight kiss.

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Books About Friendship and Animals

Stuart Little book
#1
Stuart Little
Written and illustrated by E.B. White
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A hardcover edition of this treasured story, for which Garth Williams’s original black-and-white line drawings for the jacket of Stuart Little have been colorized by the celebrated illustrator Rosemary Wells. Stuart Little is no ordinary mouse. Born to a family of humans, he lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother George, and Snowbell the cat. Though he’s shy and thoughtful, he’s also a true lover of adventure. Stuart’s greatest adventure comes when his best friend, a beautiful little bird named Margalo, disappears from her nest. Determined to track her down, Stuart ventures away from home for the very first time in his life. He finds adventure aplenty. But will he find his friend?

Ribbit! book
#2
Ribbit!
Written by Rodrigo Folgueira and illustrated by Poly Bernatene
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

A group of frogs are living happily in a peaceful pond, until they discover a surprise visitor: a little pink pig. Sitting contentedly on a rock in the middle of their pond, the pig opens his mouth and says: RIBBIT! The frogs are bewildered at first, and then a bit annoyed—“What did that little pig just say?”, “Does he think he’s a frog?”, “Is he making fun of us?”

Soon the pig draws the attention of all the nearby animals; everyone is curious to know what he wants! After much guessing (and shouting) and a visit to the wise old beetle, the animals realize that perhaps the pig was not there to mock them afterall—maybe he just wanted to make new friends! But is it too late? This is a warm, funny, and beautifully illustrated story of friendship, with boisterous RIBBIT!s throughout—perfect for reading aloud

How to Win Friends and Influence Creatures book
#3
How to Win Friends and Influence Creatures
Written and illustrated by Deborah Zemke
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Presents humorous advice on maintaining friendships with animals, including not hogging a mudbath, howling along with a pack, and learning to listen to small voices.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Friends Stick Together - 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.

  2. Kitty Alone - Kitty Alone is the latest in a series of captivating picture books, each based on a beloved songtale from the great American folk music heritage. This beautifully illustrated version sets the song in the Appalachian Mountains and uses a bobcat, called a “woods ghost” by locals, as the title character. Like the other titles in the First Steps in Music series, Kitty Alone includes song history and notation, along with a free download link for the song, sung by Jill Trinka.

  3. Owl & Friends - I play with the squirrels, sing with the birds, and have a picnic with the deer. What am I? Children are asked to figure out just who does all these things in this delightful, bright board book. By opening the gatefold at the end, they discover it’s a big, strong tree.

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Books About Friendship and Sharing

The Snatchabook book
#1
The Snatchabook
Written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Where have all the bedtime stories gone? A delightful addition to the picture book canon about the love of reading One dark, dark night in Burrow Down, a rabbit named Eliza Brown found a book and settled down…when a Snatchabook flew into town. It’s bedtime in the woods of Burrow Down, and all the animals are ready for their bedtime story. But books are mysteriously disappearing. Eliza Brown decides to to stay awake and catch the book thief. It turns out to be a little creature called the Snatchabook who has no one to read him a bedtime story. All turns out well when the books are returned and the animals take turns reading bedtime stories to the Snatchabook.

The Nice Book book
#2
The Nice Book
Written and illustrated by David Stein
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A perfect introduction to manners and playing nice, by David Ezra Stein—author of Caldecott Honor winner Interrupting Chicken, Pouch! (a Charlotte Zolotow Honor book) and Leaves (recipient of the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award).

From cuddling koalas to friendly penguins, an array of animals illustrates fun, sweet, and silly examples of “how to be nice,” showing simple ways young children can show they care for those around them. The lyrical text, funny illustrations and upbeat friendship message make this a great gift and a wonderful introduction to manners.

Too Many Carrots book
#3
Too Many Carrots
Written by Katy Hudson
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

The bestselling picture book that Publisher’s Weekly calls “simultaneously sassy and sweet.” Rabbit loves carrots — and that’s a big problem! In this phenomenal bestseller, Rabbit loves carrots a little too much. In fact, his carrots are crowding him out of his cozy burrow. When his friends offer to help, they’re just asking for trouble — a lot of trouble! This charming and lovingly illustrated children’s book, by acclaimed author Katy Hudson (A Loud Winter’s Nap and Bear and Duck), shows how friendships get us over the rough spots in life, even if the going gets a little bumpy. Too Many Carrots is the perfect springtime, Eastertime, and anytime gift.

Honorable Mentions
  1. I Am the Boss of This Chair - When a new kitten joins the family, can a top cat learn to share his chair—and (almost) everything else, too? “I, Oswald Minklehoff Honey Bunny III, am the boss of this chair. You may look at it, and you may walk by it, but you may not sit in it. Because I am the boss of this chair, and that’s that.” Oswald Minklehoff Honey Bunny III has always been top cat. Then Pom Pom the kitten comes along and suddenly Oswald isn’t the boss of everything anymore—not the toilet paper, food dish, back door, toy mouse, or even his own special chair. Will Oswald realize that life is more fun when you have a friend—and that, really, there’s plenty of room on the chair to share? A fun picture book with a comforting message for any kid with a new sibling.

  2. Famously Phoebe - Phoebe was the shining star of her family. Then someone came along to take her place.
    For as long as Phoebe can remember, she’s known the clickety click click of a photographer snapping her picture. Thanks to the camera-carrying “paparazzi” (aka Mom and Dad), she’s always been the star of the show . . . until the day a tiny newcomer arrives on set. Will Phoebe learn to share the spotlight and assume the role she was born to play: big sister? This sweet tale of sibling rivalry resolved is perfect for every older brother and sister.

  3. And Away We Go! - Mr. Fox is going to the moon! Away he goes in his hot air balloon. . . . But wait! Can Elephant come too? Sure! Let’s bring along some pizza. What about Giraffe? And Squirrel? Everyone is welcome in Mr. Fox’s balloon, but look out—will everyone fit? In the tradition of classic cumulative tales like Mr. Gumpy’s Outing, Migy’s And Away We Go! is an unforgettable debut picture book from an exciting new talent.

  4. Love Monster and the Last Chocolate - When Love Monster comes home from vacation, he discovers a box of chocolates on his doorstep. He knows he should share it with his friends, but what if there’s none left for him after everyone has a piece? What if they take his favorite-the double chocolate strawberry swirl? And even worse-what if the only piece left is the coffee-flavored one? Ick! In the end, Love Monster learns that sharing with friends is the sweetest treat of all.

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Books About Friendship and Being Yourself

The Trumpet of the Swan book
#1
The Trumpet of the Swan
Written by E.B. White
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Swan Song Like the rest of his family, Louis is a trumpeter swan. But unlike his four brothers and sisters, Louis can’t trumpet joyfully. In fact, he can’t even make a sound. And since he can’t trumpet his love, the beautiful swan Serena pays absolutely no attention to him. Louis tries everything he can think of to win Serena’s affection—he even goes to school to learn to read and write. But nothing seems to work. Then his father steals him a real brass trumpet. Is a musical instrument the key to winning Louis his love?

Lola Dutch book
#2
Lola Dutch
Written and illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright and Kenneth Wright
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Meet Lola Dutch, a delightfully creative girl who is bursting with grand ideas. From the best ways to serve breakfast — an elegant feast! — to the ideal sleeping spot — a majestic blanket fort, of course! — Lola is inspired all day long. Her dear companion Bear sometimes says she is just too much, but Lola is rich with imagination and originality, which even Bear will agree is AMAZING.The unstoppable Lola Dutch is about to show you how to make every day grand and full of fun. You’ll love her so much! Inspired by their own four gorgeously feisty children, Sarah Jane and Kenneth Wright are thrilled to introduce the unstoppable Lola Dutch and her fresh, fun, commercial, character-driven series.

Up and Down book
#3
Up and Down
Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A penguin has wings for a reason . . . doesn’t he? Having a best friend with his own airplane is one thing, but actually experiencing what it feels like to fly by himself? Here is one penguin who believes this is precisely what he needs to feel complete. Only . . . if flying by himself is so wonderful, then why does he feel so empty?

Because some experiences are better shared. (And penguins are much happier on the ground.)

Oliver Jeffers delivers the perfect companion to his much-loved Lost and Found. Penguins everywhere will take flight in delight.

Honorable Mentions
  1. You Should, You Should! - Hippo’s morning starts off good, until friends say, “You should! You should!” You should prance! You should sing! Wear this hat! Stretch your wing! Though Hippo wants to be a friend, he wonders when the “shoulds” will end. Hippo and friends will soon find out that being yourself is what life’s about.

  2. Sadie and the Silver Shoes - When shoes are the only thing you get to pick out yourself, what happens when you lose one of them? A tale of self-expression and friendship, told with humor and charm. With three older brothers to pass along hand-me-downs, Sadie doesn’t have much say in choosing her clothes. Her outfits always look interesting, though (even if some kids at school might not think so). But Sadie is allowed to pick her shoes, so one day she buys the most beautiful shoes ever — shoes that sparkle in the sun, shoes she wears everywhere. That is, until Sadie and her brothers hop down a creek on an adventure, and one shoe falls off and is swept away. Whatever will Sadie do with one silver shoe? From a winning picture-book team comes a story of creativity, resilience, and like-minded souls that is sure to appeal to independent thinkers everywhere.

  3. I Like Me! - I have a best friend. That best friend is Me! Meet Nancy Carlson’s peppy pig—a character who is full of good feelings about herself. Her story will leave little ones feeling good about themselves, too!

  4. Bear and Duck - Debut author-illustrator Katy Hudson brings to life characters Bear and Duck in this hilarious story about a bear who is fed up being a bear and wants to be a duck. Bear is sick and tired of being a bear. Who wants to sleep all winter? His fur feels so hot in the summer. And the bees . . . there are just too many angry bees! Bear is done being a bear. But when he sees a line of happy yellow ducklings, he has a thought. What if he could be a duck? With a few duck lessons from Duck, Bear learns that being a duck is fun; but as it turns out, Bear realizes he makes a really good bear . . . and he makes a really good friend along the way. Young readers will delight in the hilarious relationship between Bear and Duck.

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Books About Friendship and Imagination

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book
#1
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From the author of The BFG and Matilda!

Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!

We Forgot Brock! book
#2
We Forgot Brock!
Written and 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.

Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse book
#3
Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse
Written by Marcy Campbell and illustrated by Corinna Luyken
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A classic in the making, this heartwarming story about empathy and imagination is one that families will treasure for years to come.

Adrian Simcox tells anyone who will listen that he has a horse—the best and most beautiful horse anywhere.

But Chloe does NOT believe him. Adrian Simcox lives in a tiny house. Where would he keep a horse? He has holes in his shoes. How would he pay for a horse?

The more Adrian talks about his horse, the angrier Chloe gets. But when she calls him out at school and even complains about him to her mom, Chloe doesn’t get the vindication she craves. She gets something far more important.

Written with tenderness and poignancy and gorgeously illustrated, this book will show readers that kindness is always rewarding, understanding is sweeter than judgment, and friendship is the best gift one can give.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear - 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.

  2. Heart and the Bottle - There is a wonder and magic to childhood. We don’t realize it at the time, of course . . . yet the adults in our lives do. They encourage us to see things in the stars, to find joy in colors and laughter as we play. But what happens when that special someone who encourages such wonder and magic is no longer around? We can hide, we can place our heart in a bottle and grow up . . . or we can find another special someone who understands the magic. And we can encourage them to see things in the stars, find joy among colors and laughter as they play. Oliver Jeffers delivers a remarkable book, a tale of poignancy and resonance reminiscent of The Giving Tree that will speak to the hearts of children and parents alike.

  3. All about Cats - A hilarious look at what cats get up to when humans aren’t around. Contrasting personality traits are put side by side to show how cats - like people - are diverse. The book celebrates positive relationships and the power of the imagination.

  4. Sophie's Squash - On a trip to the farmers’ market with her parents, Sophie chooses a squash, but instead of letting her mom cook it, she names it Bernice. From then on, Sophie brings Bernice everywhere, despite her parents’ gentle warnings that Bernice will begin to rot. As winter nears, Sophie does start to notice changes…. What’s a girl to do when the squash she loves is in trouble? The recipient of four starred reviews, an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor, and a Charlotte Zolotow Honor, Sophie’s Squash will be a fresh addition to any collection of autumn books.

Want to see more children's books about imagination?

Books About Friendship and Helping Others

Goat's Coat book
#1
Goat's Coat
Written by Tom Percival and illustrated by Christine Pym
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

This charmingly illustrated rhyming picture book about Alfonzo, a goat with a very special coat, celebrates the power of kindness and friendship. Let me tell you the tale of Alfonzo the goat, who was terribly proud of his lovely new coat. Alfonzo was happy; he pranced and he skipped. Then he heard a sad noise, croaking out of a ditch. Alfonzo couldn’t be happier. He just got an amazing new coat, and he feels like a million dollars. But when he discovers some creatures in need of help, will Alfonzo be able to give up his treasured possession to save the day? This great big hug of a book shows that kindness is definitely the best recipe. Awards for Tom Percival Herman’s Letter—A Kids’ Indie Next List Pick

The Scarecrow book
#2
The Scarecrow
Written by Beth Ferry and illustrated by The Fan Brothers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A Junior Library Guild Selection and Indie Next List Pick

“An emotionally impactful exploration of love and loneliness, this is an essential addition to any picture book collection.” —School Library Journal (starred review)

Bestselling author Beth Ferry (Stick and Stone) and the widely acclaimed Fan Brothers (The Night Gardener) present a gorgeous and poignant picture book about two unexpected friends and the special connection they share.

This tender and affectionate story reminds us of the comforting power of friendship and the joy of helping others—a tale that will inspire and delight children for generations to come.

All the animals know not to mess with old Scarecrow. But when a small, scared crow falls from midair, Scarecrow does the strangest thing.…

He saves the tiny baby crow.

Soon a loving bond grows between the two unlikely friends. But is it strong enough to weather the changing of the seasons?

“A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling.”—Kirkus

“A novel twist on the theme of love between adversaries.” —Publishers Weekly

Samson in the Snow book
#3
Samson in the Snow
Written and illustrated by Philip C. Stead
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

One sunny day Samson, a large and friendly woolly mammoth, encounters a little red bird who is looking for yellow flowers for her mouse friend (whose favorite color is yellow). As she flies off with the flowers, Samson wonders what it must be like to have a friend. He wonders this for so long, in fact, that he falls asleep and wakes up to a world covered in snow. In the midst of a blizzard, Samson finds and shelters the little red bird and flower-loving mouse in a tender tale of kindness and unexpected friendship.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Daddy Honk Honk! - An arctic fox adopts a baby goose in this heartwarming read-aloud perfect for dads and their little ones When Aput the fox finds an abandoned goose egg, he has no idea what’s in store for him. He doesn’t know anything about babies and he certainly doesn’t know what to do when the gosling hatches and mistakes him for its daddy. So he decides to find the gosling a home. But with each page turn, Aput learns more about caring for a baby and, with a little help from his friends, he discovers what a baby needs most is love.

  2. The Fix-It Friends: The Show Must Go On - In the third adventure in Nicole C. Kear’s sweet chapter book series, it’s up to the Fix-It Friends to help the star of the school play prepare for opening night. Because reading isn’t always as easy as ABC. It’s a dream come true! Veronica’s playing the Queen of Hearts in the school play. It’s perfect: She gets to be a star and scream her head off! Even better, she makes an amazing new friend. Liv, who’s playing Alice, is a natural—it seems there’s nothing she can’t do! That is, until she reveals to Veronica that reading is really hard for her. To learn her lines, she’s going to need a lot of help. That’s the cue for the Fix-It Friends! With Jude working on sets, Cora on costumes, Ezra on stage lights, and Veronica by her side on stage, Liv is surrounded by just the right crew to help her get ready for opening night. After all, the show must go on! Told in Veronica’s charismatic, enthusiastic, and funny voice, The Show Must Go On is the third book in The Fix-It Friends series, which makes childhood issues accessible for chapter book readers. Includes a toolbox of expert advice on how to approach reading challenges! Don’t miss the other Fix-It Friends adventures: The Fix-It Friends: Have No Fear! The Fix-It Friends: Sticks and Stones The Fix-It Friends: Wish You Were Here The Fix-It Friends: Eyes on the Prize The Fix-It Friends: Three’s a Crowd An Imprint Book Praise for The Fix-It Friends: Have No Fear!: “Fears are scary! But don’t worry: the Fix-It Friends are here with step-by-step help —and humor too.”—Fran Manushkin, author of the Katie Woo series “Full of heart and more than a little spunk” —Kathleen Lane, author of The Best Worst Thing An empowering resource for kids — and they’re just plain fun to read.” —Lauren Knickerbocker, Ph.D., Co-Director, Early Childhood Service, NYU Child Study Center “Hooray for these young friends who work together; this diverse crew will have readers looking forward to more.” —Kirkus Reviews “The humor is spot-on, and the stories pull kids in, teaching without preaching, encouraging children to be active problem-solvers in their own lives.” —Dr. Dawn Huebner, Ph. D., child psychologist and creator of the What-to-Do Guides for Kids series

Want to see more children's books about helping others?

Books About Friendship and Magic

The Magic Misfits book
#1
The Magic Misfits
Written by Neil Patrick Harris and illustrated by Kyle Hinton and Lissy Marlin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From award-winning actor, Neil Patrick Harris, comes the magical first book in a new series with plenty of tricks up its sleeve. When street magician Carter runs away, he never expects to find friends and magic in a sleepy New England town. But like any good trick, things change instantly as greedy B.B. Bosso and his crew of crooked carnies arrive to steal anything and everything they can get their sticky fingers on. After a fateful encounter with the local purveyor of illusion, Dante Vernon, Carter teams up with five other like-minded illusionists. Together, using both teamwork and magic, they’ll set out to save the town of Mineral Wells from Bosso’s villainous clutches. These six Magic Misfits will soon discover adventure, friendship, and their own self-worth in this delightful new series. (Psst. Hey, you! Yes, you! Congratulations on reading this far. As a reward, I’ll let you in on a little secret… This book isn’t just a book. It’s a treasure trove of secrets and ciphers and codes and even tricks. Keep your eyes peeled and you’ll discover more than just a story—you’ll learn how to make your own magic!)

The Infinity Year of Avalon James book
#2
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.

Honey Moon Shiver book
#3
Honey Moon Shiver
Written and illustrated by Joyce Magnin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

“Honey Moon is in a terrible pickle. She borrowed her mother’s precious silver locket without permission and now the family heirloom has gone missing. Honey suspects it was taken by one of her best friends. She sets out to find the necklace before her mother notices it’s gone. Along the way, Honey meets Shiver, who turns out to be much more than the owner of the newest popsicle shop in Sleepy Hollow. With Shiver’s guidance and a bit of magic, Honey is able to track down the locket and learn the importance of telling the truth and the power of forgiveness.”—Amazon.com.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Language of Spells - Grisha is a dragon in a world that’s forgotten how to see him. Maggie is a unusual child who thinks she’s perfectly ordinary. They’re an unlikely duo—but magic, like friendship, is funny. Sometimes it chooses those who might not look so likely. And magic has chosen Grisha and Maggie to solve the darkest mystery in Vienna. Decades ago, when World War II broke out, someone decided that there were too many dragons for all of them to be free. As they investigate, Grisha and Maggie ask the question everyone’s forgotten: Where have the missing dragons gone? And is there a way to save them? At once richly magical and tragically historical, The Language of Spells is a novel full of adventure about remembering old stories, forging new ones, and the transformative power of friendship.

  2. The Secret Garden - Join Mary, Dickon, and Colin on their heartwarming journey of friendship and gardening magic. Filled with interactive wheels and pull-tabs, and lavishly illustrated, The Secret Garden is an unprecedented kid’s introduction to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved classic novel. Unlike many board books that tackle the classics, Lit for Little Hands tells the actual story in simple, engaging prose. Gorgeous springtime illustrations transport the reader to the gardens and halls of Misselthwaite Manor, while tons of interactive elements invite kids to help Mary discover the secret garden, make friends, and help Colin walk! Fans of the novel will be delighted by the book’s attention to detail and clever use of original text and dialogue. And the book’s super-sturdy board means everyone can enjoy this tale over . . . and over . . . and over again! The magic of the secret garden will return each time you read!

  3. Sea Monster! - Troubled waters ahead! Lucas and Clara search for a scary sea monster in this third chapter book in the fantastical Kingdom of Wrenly series. Something has been making waves around Wrenly, and it’s not the tides. Prince Lucas is sure that it’s the mysterious sea monster that has only been heard of in tall tales. Now the legendary monster is frightening everyone—from fishermen, to the king’s men, to even the hardiest of sea captains. With the aid of his best friend, Clara, and a cast of unlikely helpers, it’s up to Prince Lucas to discover what is bothering the beast—and make the trouble stop! With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, The Kingdom of Wrenly chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

  4. Polly Diamond and the Super Stunning Spectacular School Fair - Polly and her magic book, Spell, have all kinds of adventures together because whatever Polly writes in Spell comes true! But when Polly and Spell join forces to make the school fair super spectacular, they quickly discover that what you write and what you mean are not always the same. Filled with the familiar details of home and school, but with a sprinkling of magic, this book is just right for fans of Ivy + Bean, Judy Moody, and Dory Fantasmagory, as well for aspiring writers, who, just like Polly, know the magic of stories.

Want to see more children's books about magic?

Books About Friendship and Outer Space

Hopper and Wilson Fetch a Star book
#1
Hopper and Wilson Fetch a Star
Written and illustrated by Maria van Lieshout
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Have you ever wanted your very own star?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have your own star for a nightlight? It is this thought that begins Hopper and Wilson’s second adventure. They fill their airplane with lemonade and soar into the night sky. So many stars to choose from! One is too pointy. One is too heavy. Another is too bright! Taking a break on the moon, the two friends look directly above and spot it—the perfect star! As Hopper lays down for a nap, Wilson ventures off on his own, to the dark side of the moon. Yet now he is lost! How can he find his way back to Hopper?

The perfect star, of course. Wilson spots it in the sky and follows it back to his friend. In another deceptively simple story, Maria van Lieshout shows how sometimes the best part of nature is that it’s found only in nature—and that everything has its proper place . . . be it stars or even best friends, who always belong together.

Moon! Earth's Best Friend book
#2
Moon! Earth's Best Friend
Written by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Stevie Lewis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From writer Stacy McAnulty and illustrator Stevie Lewis, Moon! Earth’s Best Friend is a light-hearted nonfiction picture book about the formation and history of the moon—told from the perspective of the moon itself…

Meet Moon! She’s more than just a rock—she’s Earth’s rock, her best friend she can always count on. Moon never turns her back on her friend (literally: she’s always facing Earth with the same side!). These two will stick together forever. With characteristic humor and charm, Stacy McAnulty channels the voice of Moon in this next celestial “autobiography” in the Our Universe series. Rich with kid-friendly facts and beautifully brought to life by Stevie Lewis, this is an equally charming and irresistible companion to Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years and Sun! One in a Billion.

The Night the Stars Went Out book
#3
The Night the Stars Went Out
Written and illustrated by Suz Hughes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Alien is very small, but it is his job to shine all the stars and make sure they keep shining, and he has no time for anything else—so when the stars go out one night he is desperate to find the solution, a quest that takes him to Earth.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Your Alien - One day, you’ll be looking out your window when something wonderful comes your way… and you will want to keep him. When a little boy meets a stranded alien child, the two instantly strike up a fabulous friendship. They go to school, explore the neighborhood, and have lots of fun. But at bedtime, the alien suddenly grows very, very sad. Can the boy figure out what his new buddy needs most of all? This funny, heartwarming story proves that friends and family are the most important things in the universe . . . no matter who or where you are. An NPR Best Book of 2015

  2. Garcia and Colette Go Exploring - Exploring outer space and the ocean is exciting, but what if you left something very important at home? Best friends Garcia and Colette are eager to go exploring, only they can’t agree on where to go. Garcia loves everything about space (Stars! Planets!)­ and Colette is obsessed with the sea (Waves! Fish!). Staying home is not an option, so they each get busy. Garcia builds a rocket ship that’s snazzy and silver. Colette’s shiny submarine is perfect for deep-sea dives. And they wish each other well on their travels. It turns out the Milky Way really is amazing and the ocean floor is truly spectacular, but Garcia and Colette both realize they left something very important back home. Exploring your favorite place can be terrific, but maybe the company is more important than the destination.

Want to see more children's books about outer space?

Epilogue

32 books that are just too good to leave off of our friendship list.

  1. My Friend Maggie - The Book Snob Mom - Hannah E. Harrison’s illustrations are always so detailed and wonderfully colorful and expressive and this book is no exception. This books reminds us that participating in bullying may make you feel part of the in-crowd initially, but bullies are rarely nice for long, even to their “friends,” and it’s far better to be true to our true friends from the get-go. The message is fantastic, and I really appreciated the little example of forgiveness included as well.

  2. Wilfred - When Wilfred, a big, hairy, and lonesome giant, enters a town full of tiny bald people, he finds only one friend but that proves to be enough when the other townspeople trick him out of his warm hair.

  3. Library Lion - When a lion comes to the library one day, no one is sure what to do. There are no rules about lions in the library. When something terrible happens, the lion quickly comes to the rescue in the only way he knows how.

  4. The Girl and the Bicycle - A wordless picture book in which a girl sees a bicycle she wants to buy, works hard for a kindly neighbor to earn the money for it, then gets a pleasant surprise.

  1. Hooray for Hat! - Elephant wakes up grumpy—until ding, dong! What’s in the surprise box at the front door? A hat! HOORAY FOR HAT! Elephant marches off to show Zebra, but Zebra is having a grumpy day, too—until Elephant shares his new hat and cheers up his friend. Off they march to show Turtle! The parade continues as every animal brightens the day of a grumpy friend. This sturdy board book is an irresistible celebration of friendship, sharing, and fabulous hats.

  2. The Bear and the Piano - One day, a bear cub finds something strange and wonderful in the forest. When he touches the keys, they make a horrible noise. Yet he is drawn back again and again. Eventually, he learns to play beautiful sounds, delighting his woodland friends. Then the bear is invited to share his sounds with new friends in the city. He longs to explore the world beyond his home, and to play bigger and better than before. But he knows that if he leaves, the other bears will be very sad . . . This gorgeously illustrated tale of following one’s dreams reminds us of the value of friendship, wherever we go.

  3. Boy and Bot - The story of an irresistible friendship between a boy and a robot, now in board for little hands. One day, a boy and a robot meet in the woods. They play. They have fun. But when Bot gets switched off, Boy thinks he’s sick! So Boy tucks the bot into bed and falls asleep. Bot is worried when he powers on and finds his friend powered off. He takes Boy home with him and tries all his remedies: oil, reading an instruction manual. Nothing revives the malfunctioning boy! Can the Inventor help fix him? Using the perfect blend of sweetness and humor, this story of an adorable duo will win the hearts of the very youngest readers.

  4. Hector and Hummingbird - In the mountains of Peru, friends Hector the bear and Hummingbird the hummingbird spend most of their time together, doing the same things, and Hector has had just about enough of it—or has he? Includes a list of animals hidden in the illustrations.

  1. Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie - When nine-year-old Eleanor’s beloved babysitter Bibi moves away to care for her ailing father, Eleanor must spend the summer adjusting to a new babysitter while mourning the loss of her old one.

  2. The Fix-It Friends: Three's a Crowd - Because no one likes to feel left out. Friends are like sprinkles on a birthday cake—you can never have too many! So when a new girl named Margot joins the class, Veronica and her BFF, Cora, welcome her with open arms. Everything about Margot is super exciting— from her fashion designer mom to the perfect French she speaks—and everyone loves her. Especially Cora. Before long, Cora and Margot have matching outfits and rhyming nicknames. Veronica feels left out, big time, but she won’t give up on her best friend without a fight. Trouble is, the harder she tries to hold on to Cora, the more she pushes her away—until the two besties end up in a showdown that hurts more than just feelings. It’s a job for the Fix-It Friends, to be sure. But can the president of the problem-solvers accept help herself?

  3. Peep and Egg: I'm Not Hatching - Egg is not hatching. No way. No how. It is too scary out there. Peep wants Egg to hatch so they can do fun things together, like watch the sunrise, splash in puddles, and play hide-and-seek. But Egg is not cracking… Joyce Wan’s bright and bold illustrations will have young chickies giggling at Laura Gehl’s reassuring tale that takes the not out of I’m not.

  4. The Startup Squad - Girls mean business in a brand-new middle grade series about friendship and entrepreneurship! All the great leaders had to start somewhere. And Theresa (“Resa” for short) is starting with the lemonade stand competition her teacher assigned to the class—but making it a success is going to be a lot harder than Resa thinks. The prize: line-skipping tickets to Adventure Central. The competition: Val, Resa’s middle school nemesis. And the biggest obstacle to success: Resa’s own teammates. Harriet is the class clown, Amelia is the new girl who thinks she knows best, and Didi is Resa’s steadfast friend—who doesn’t know the first thing about making or selling lemonade. The four of them quickly realize that the recipe for success is tough to perfect—but listening to each other is the first step. And making new friends might be the most important one… The back of each book features tips from the Startup Squad and an inspirational profile of a girl entrepreneur!

  1. Hey, Duck! - Carin Bramsen’s Duck and Cat make their board book debut! A small little duckling is trying to befriend another duck, but what if that “duck” . . . is actually a cat? Toddlers will love this quack-tastic story about fun and friendship.

  2. George and Martha - Collects all thirty-five stories about best friends George and Martha.

  3. Frog and Toad Are Friends - From writing letters to going swimming, telling stories to finding lost buttons, Frog and Toad are always there for each other—just as best friends should be.

  4. 11 Birthdays - After celebrating their first nine same-day birthdays together, Amanda and Leo, having fallen out on their tenth and not speaking to each other for the last year, prepare to celebrate their eleventh birthday separately but peculiar things begin to happen as the day of their birthday begins to repeat itself over and over again.

  1. Counting by 7s - Twelve-year-old genius and outsider Willow Chance must figure out how to connect with other people and find a surrogate family for herself after her parents are killed in a car accident.

  2. The Great Troll Rescue - Meet Jack and his talking chicken Betsy, Red, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, and a host of other Little Legendsas they have fantastic new adventures!Get to know your favorite fairytale characters like never before in this magical new book series. What starts as an adventure ends in disaster when Jack and all his friends are captured by a wicked witch with a devious plan. It’s up to Red, the woodcutter’s daughter, to save the day. Along the way Red befriends the wicked witch’s servants, Ella and her Fairy Godbrother Cole. Can they rescue Red’s friends and all the other magical creatures the witch has kidnapped — including a fearsome troll?

  3. My Last Best Friend - 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.

  4. Ninth Ward - In New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, twelve-year-old Lanesha, who can see spirits, and her adopted grandmother have no choice but to stay and weather the storm as Hurricane Katrina bears down upon them.

  1. Summer of the Gypsy Moths - A foster child named Angel and 12-year-old Stella, who are living with Stella’s great-aunt Louise at the Linger Longer Cottage Colony on Cape Cod, secretly assume responsibility for the vacation rentals when Louise unexpectedly dies and the girls are afraid of being returned to the foster care system. 50,000 first printing.

  2. When the World Is Full of Friends - When the world is full of friends, the fun and laughter never ends. Albert, Tom, Flossie, and Pipkin love to play. And while they have fun inventing games together, their biggest wish is to have friends to share them with. One day, something magical happens. A family of squirrels moves in across the stream! They could be the perfect friends—but how will they cross the stream? With a little help from Father Rabbit, Albert, Tom, Flossie, and Pipkin will discover just how wonderful it is when the world is full of friends. This touching story from the revered team behind When the World Is Ready for Bed and When the World Was Waiting for You will warm the hearts of readers young and old.

  3. Little Owl's First Day - It’s a big day for Little Owl. His first day at school. Little Owl doesn’t want a big day though. He’d rather stay at home and have fun with Mummy and Baby Owl. But at school he gets to build a rocket, learn to fly and even make a tiny new friend. Maybe big days spent with friends can be lots of fun after all! From the bestselling creators of Little Owl’s Egg comes another gentle and comforting story about the lovable Little Owl. Perfect for any little one starting nursery or school.

  4. Piggy: Let's Be Friends! - The Fun Uncle - An adorable story of a cute protagonist reaching out to a shy potential friend. This story does a great job of teaching that it’s up to us to reach out and be a friend instead of waiting for friendship to find us.

  1. You Are Special - Every day the small wooden people called Wemmicks do the same thing: stick either gold stars or gray dots on one another. The pretty ones―those with smooth wood and fine paint―always get stars. The talented ones do, too. Others, though, who can do little or who have chipped paint, get ugly gray dots. Like Punchinello. In this heartwarming children’s tale from best-selling author Max Lucado, Eli the woodcarver helps Punchinello understand how special he is―no matter what other Wemmicks may think. It’s a vital message for children everywhere: that regardless of how the world evaluates them, God cherishes each of them, just as they are. This tale originally appeared within one of the chapters in the award-winning children’s bestseller Tell Me the Secrets.

  2. A Little Princess: A Babylit(r) Friendship Primer - Meet Sara’s friends with text from the original novel, A little princess, showing little ones that friends can be found in surprising places.

  3. Circle - Multi-award-winning, New York Times best-selling duo Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen deliver the final wry and resonant tale about Triangle, Square, and Circle. This book is about Circle. This book is also about Circle’s friends, Triangle and Square. Also it is about a rule that Circle makes, and how she has to rescue Triangle when he breaks that rule. With their usual pitch-perfect pacing and subtle, sharp wit, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen come full circle in the third and final chapter of their clever shapes trilogy.

  4. The Dragon and the Nibblesome Knight - A case of mistaken identity allows two sworn enemies—a young dragon and knight—to become friends. But what will they do when they discover the truth? A funny, rhyming read-aloud picture book illustrated by Benji Davies, of The Storm Whale. - GODWIN BOOKS -

  1. How to Grow a Friend - A lovely metaphor teaches valuable lessons in how to treat others and make friendships blossom! Making a friend takes patience, care, and room to bloom—just like growing a flower. Soon your little gardeners will have their very own green thumbs for this most important of life skills.

  2. Triangle - Meet Triangle. He is going to play a sneaky trick on his friend, Square. Or so Triangle thinks. . . . With this first tale in a new trilogy, partners in crime Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen will have readers wondering just who they can trust in a richly imagined world of shapes. Visually stunning and full of wry humor, here is a perfectly paced treat that could come only from the minds of two of today’s most irreverent — and talented — picture book creators.

  3. Spike, the Mixed-up Monster - Meet Spike, a lovable monster—and a real-life salamander—who’s looking for friends in this lively picture book that includes Spanish vocabulary. Spike is a scary-looking salamander who keeps trying to frighten other animals—until he finds that using fear is not the best way to make friends. And since Spike lives in Mexico (he is an endangered species called the axolotl), this story is peppered with easy-to-understand Spanish words. In addition to a charming tale of friendship, this picture book contains nonfiction information about the axolotl and a Spanish/English glossary.

  4. Maurice the Unbeastly - No ordinary beast, Maurice is neat, polite, photogenic, and his roar is delightful to the ear, which leads his parents to enroll him at the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts, where he realizes he has a few things he can teach his fellow beasts.

Did you enjoy our friendship book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!

Additional book lists you might enjoy: