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Friendship and Bears: Books For Kids

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

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
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.

Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear book
#3
Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear
Written and illustrated by Monica Carnesi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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

Corduroy book
#4
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.

Bear's Scare book
#5
Bear's Scare
Written and illustrated by Jacob Grant
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

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.

  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 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.

  3. Little Cub - A young bear cub, who is alone in the world, and Old Bear, who is grumpy and tired of living alone, meet and discover what they have been missing. By the best-selling creator of the Gossie and Gertie books.

  4. Bears Make the Best Reading Buddies -

Oh, Bear book
#10
Oh, Bear
Written by Melissa Nelson Greenberg and illustrated by Ruth Hengeveld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Bear receives a bright yellow kite for his birthday and flies it until . . . it gets stuck in a tree and rips. Oh, Bear. Lucky for Bear, Bird is busy building a nest and flies his broken kite home, where an even better surprise awaits him. A story about nature, renewal, and friendship—the best gift of all.

Bear and Duck book
#11
Bear and Duck
Written by Katy Hudson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Red Knit Cap Girl to the Rescue book
#12
Red Knit Cap Girl to the Rescue
Written and illustrated by Naoko Stoop
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-7

'I hope it's not too far away,' says Red Knit Cap Girl. 'Follow the light of the Moon,' calls Owl. In this heartwarming follow-up to Naoko Stoop's debut Red Knit Cap Girl, Red Knit Cap Girl meets a lost Polar Bear Cub. Determined to help him find his way home, to an Arctic land of ice and snow, Red Knit Cap Girl, White Bunny, and Polar Bear Cub set off on an unforgettable voyage. Gorgeously illustrated on wood grain, Red Knit Cap Girl's curiosity, imagination, and joy will captivate the hearts of readers young and old. Simple prose and luminous pictures will remind readers that even small actions - such as recycling - can help to solve big world problems, in this inspiring story that celebrates friendship, bravery, and the importance of home.

Bear at the Beach and Other Adventures book
#13
Bear at the Beach and Other Adventures
Written and illustrated by Clay Carmichael
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

In Bear at the Beach & Others Adventures, kids and parents will find a collection of three stories from writer and illustrator Clay Carmichael. The loveable and stuffed Bear is center stage, taking on adventures of the heart at home and afar. In Bear at the Beach, our plush protagonist sets out to find a father who will love him unconditionally, but learns that his little girl, Clara, gives him all the love he needs. In Used-Up Bear, time has left our favorite stuffed toy in dire, threadbare straits. Will Clara throw Bear away in favor of a shiny new toy? The surprising and heart-warming conclusion cements Bear's place in Clara's life. Bear loses Clara in Lonesome Bear, and befriends new toys on his search for his best friend. Full of emotions that young children can relate to, Clay Carmichael's endearing collection is a gentle introduction to reading

Pine & Boof: Blast Off! book
#14
Pine & Boof: Blast Off!
Written and illustrated by Ross Burach
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Frog and Toad meets Elephant & Piggie in the second installment of a humorous and heartfelt picture book series about the adventures of Boof the bear and Pine the porcupine, from the acclaimed author-illustrator of There’s a Giraffe in My Soup and I Am Not a Chair! There’s no one Boof the bear would rather spend the day with than his best friend—Pine the porcupine. And there’s nothing he’d rather do than collect things, which is his favorite hobby of all time. So one day, when Boof is collecting rocks with Pine, he doesn’t think the day could get any better, until . . . An egg falls on Boof’s head—all the way from outer space! Now it’s up to Pine and Boof to return the space egg to its space nest . . . before it hatches. They’ll need a rocket ship, space training, and plenty of sandwiches for the trip. But most important, they’ll need each other to complete a mission that’s out of this world! Pine & Boof: Blast Off! tells the story of an unlikely friendship through highly original characters and vibrant illustrations that are impossible not to love.

  1. But the Bear Came Back - A bear knocks on a door, and a boy tells the bear to go home, but the bear keeps coming back. When the bear finally stops coming back, the boy misses him.

  2. Masha and the Bear: Reader #2 - An exciting leveled reader featuring Masha and the Bear! After the Bear's birthday, Masha gets excited about her own special day—and all of the presents she'll get. But when her birthday finally arrives, she can't find her friends. Where are they? Did they forget?!

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

  4. Journey of the Pale Bear - A runaway boy befriends a polar bear that’s being transported from Norway to London in this lyrical and timeless adventure story about freedom, captivity, and finding a family. The polar bear is a royal bear, a gift from the King of Norway to the King of England. The first time Arthur encounters the bear, he is shoved in her cage as payback for stealing food. Restless and deadly, the bear terrifies him. Yet, strangely, she doesn’t harm him—though she has attacked anyone else who comes near. That makes Arthur valuable to the doctor in charge of getting the bear safely to London. So Arthur, who has run away from home, finds himself taking care of a polar bear on a ship to England. Tasked with feeding and cleaning up after the bear, Arthur’s fears slowly lessen as he begins to feel a connection to this bear, who like him, has been cut off from her family. But the journey holds many dangers, and Arthur knows his own freedom—perhaps even his life—depends on keeping the bear from harm. When pirates attack and the ship founders, Arthur must make a choice—does he do everything he can to save himself, or does he help the bear to find freedom? Based on the real story of a polar bear that lived in the Tower of London, this timeless adventure story is also a touching account of the bond between a boy and a bear.

The Adventures of Buster Bear book
#19
The Adventures of Buster Bear
Written by Thornton W. Burgess and illustrated by Maddie Frost
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The Adventures of Buster Bear introduces a new generation of children to Thornton W. Burgess’s long-beloved Bedtime Stories characters. Buster Bear is new to the Green Forest and because he is so big (and his appetite is also so big), he's having some trouble making new friends. But there are always interesting stories about meeting the new folks in the neighborhood. Is a nice fat trout a good present for a new friend? Can someone as big as Buster be afraid of Farmer Brown's boy? How can a little tin pail cause any trouble? Children have laughed at the antics and adventures of the residents of the Green Meadows for five generations. And while laughing they're learning something about the natural world, and maybe something about themselves. A dedicated naturalist, Burgess imbues his stories with the good humor, imagination, and fun animal antics that all children will enjoy reading during story time. These essential childhood classic stories also feature the original black-and-white illustrations by Harrison Cady, lending this edition a vintage feel.

My Friend Bear book
#20
My Friend Bear
Written and illustrated by Jez Alborough
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Eddie’s feeling sad, and so is the bear. They both wish they had a friend to talk to. All they have are their teddies, and teddies can’t talk. Or can they? Teddy fans, prepare! From the author-illustrator of the best-selling WHERE’S MY TEDDY? and IT’S THE BEAR! comes a third warm and funny story about this odd-sized, lovable pair, a small boy and a rather large bear!

That's Not Mine book
#21
That's Not Mine
Written by Anna Kang and illustrated by Christopher Weyant
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Two fuzzy creatures both want to sit in the same comfy chair. The trouble is, they can’t agree who it belongs to. They get madder and madder, until… With expressive illustrations and simple text, this giggle-inducing tale about (not) sharing and (not) being a good friend features the endearing characters from Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner You Are (Not) Small.

Bear Counts book
#22
Bear Counts
Written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

As friends Bear and Mouse share a day together, Bear counts various objects, from one to five, and the reader is invited to do the same. Simultaneous eBook.

Big Bear, Small Mouse book
#23
Big Bear, Small Mouse
Written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

"A big bear and a small mouse discover all of the opposites between their animal friends"--

  1. Fergus Barnaby Goes on Vacation - Family, friendship, sharing, vacations, and apartment living are just some of the things that are celebrated in this charming children's book! Fergus Barnaby is so excited! Mom, Dad, and Fergus are about to go away on vacation for a few days of fun in the sun. But first... Dad tells him to pack everything he needs, and now Fergus has a problem. Fred has his bucket and shovel, Emily Rose has his swimming goggles, and Teddy has his kite. Fergus lives on the first floor, but his friends--and the toys he let them borrow--are all upstairs. So many stairs, so little time! Will Fergus and Daddy remember to pack everything they need to bring? (Hint: this story ends with a surprise and a big laugh!) Lots of bold illustrations and an enchanting story about friendship and life in the city will make Fergus Barnaby one of your child's favorites.

  2. A Bear Sat on My Porch Today - What to do if a rather insistent bear squats on your porch today? Followed in short order by a shaggy squirrel, a spraying skunk, a playful possum, and a bevy of forest critters large and small? This hilarious cumulative tale of reluctant hospitality and generous inclusivity will leave readers chanting, "OKAY. OKAY! YOU CAN STAY." But watch out! That porch is starting to sway. . . . Jane Yolen's uproarious chant-aloud story is brought to life by Rilla Alexander's dazzling retro-hip illustrations in an exuberant collaboration sure to take its place alongside such cumulative classics as This is the House that Jack Built and There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.

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