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Friendship and Emotions: 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

Three Little Words book
#1
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

Sweety book
#2
Sweety
Written and illustrated by Andrea Zuill
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Sweety is awkward, even for a naked mole rat, but with encouragement from her Aunt Ruth, she begins to see that being herself is the best way to find a friend.

Pedro's Big Break book
#3
Pedro's Big Break
Written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Tammy Lyon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

When Pedro breaks his arm racing his bike he has to cope with the frustration of wearing a cast for a whole month--but with the help of his friends he discovers that there are still fun things to do.

Albert's Quiet Quest book
#4
Albert's Quiet Quest
Written and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Albert wants a quiet place to read...but his friends just want to play! Can they figure out how to have fun together? Albert's home is very loud -- and all he wants to do is read! He escapes outside for some peace, and thinks he's found it at last. But, one by one, his friends boistrously infiltrate his space until Albert just can't take it anymore...and snaps! How will his friends react? While they leave him alone at first, they slowly return...with books in hand. This beautifully illustrated story models flexible, empathic play, and articulates a range of ways a group can have fun together. A useful tool for any classroom or neighborhood!

Pilu Of The Woods book
#5
Pilu Of The Woods
Written and illustrated by Mai K. Nguyen
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

For fans of Hilda and the Troll comes PILU OF THE WOODS, a heartwarming and bittersweet story of friendship, loss, exploring complex emotions and finding your way home from debut creator Mai K. Nguyen. Willow loves the woods near her house. They’re calm and quiet, so different from her own turbulent emotions, which she keeps locked away. When her emotions get the better of her one day, she decides to run away into the woods. There, she meets Pilu, a lost tree spirit who can’t find her way back home—which turns out to be the magnolia grove Willow’s mom used to take her to. Willow offers to help Pilu, and the two quickly become friends. But the journey is long, and Pilu isn’t sure she’s ready to return home yet—which infuriates Willow, who’s determined to make up for her own mistakes by getting Pilu back safely. As a storm rages and Willow’s emotions bubble to the surface, they suddenly take on a physical form, putting both girls in danger… and forcing Willow to confront her inner feelings once and for all.

  1. Mr. Posey's New Glasses - In a charming tale of an elderly man and his obliging young friend, former poet laureate Ted Kooser and newcomer Daniel Duncan invite us to look at the world with fresh eyes. Mr. Posey is feeling gloomy. Everything seems dull. Maybe he needs new glasses? Perhaps a trip to the Cheer Up Thrift Shop with his energetic young neighbor, Andy, will help. But when the duo try on the glasses in the shop's barrel, they're in for a big surprise. One pair with stars for frames shows only constellations in a night sky. Round frames reveal a world all aswirl, while a heart-shaped pair makes everything pink. And as soon as Mr. Posey puts on the cat-eye framed glasses, fierce dogs start chasing him. No, thank you! But when Andy makes a simple observation, Mr. Posey's view opens to a whole new world -- and finally everything is brighter, different, and exciting.

  2. My Friend Bear - 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!

  3. How Are You?/ Cómo Estás - When two giraffe friends find a baby ostrich, they have some questions. Is baby ostrich hungry? Shy? Tired? Ostrich saysno! So how does she feel? Friendship awaits in this book about feelings, expressed both in English and in Spanish.

  4. That's Not Mine - 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.

The Happy Book book
#10
The Happy Book
Written and illustrated by Andy Rash
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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

Ella and Penguin Stick Together book
#11
Ella and Penguin Stick Together
Written by Megan Maynor and illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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

Boss of the World book
#12
Boss of the World
Written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

It was supposed to be a fun day at the beach, but Katie Woo is being bossy. Can she stop being bossy and have fun with her friends?

I'm Silly! book
#13
I'm Silly!
Written by Jennifer L. Holm and illustrated by Matthew Holm
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Parents looking for funny books to read to their babies and toddlers have something to cheer about-a new comic board-book series about feelings from Jennifer and Matthew Holm! a In I'm Silly!, a hyperactive tornado gets a bit TOO goofy and ruins his friends' tea party. A sweet, funny, and simple introduction to the impact that emotions can have on the people around you from the bestselling creators of Babymouse and Squish, Jennifer L. Holm (author of The Fourteenth Goldfish) and Matthew Holm. The Eisner Award winners use panel frames, speech balloons, and thought bubbles to teach children how to read a story. a For more My First Comics stories, look for I'm Grumpy and I'm Sunny!

Ella and Penguin: A Perfect Match book
#14
Ella and Penguin: A Perfect Match
Written by Megan Maynor and illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Ella and Penguin are best friends. So it only makes sense that they like all the same things. But Ella loves tutus. Penguin does not. Ella loves finger painting. Penguin does not. Oh no! They don’t match! They must not be friends after all. Then again, maybe Ella and Penguin don’t need to like all the same things to love being friends. An irresistible follow-up to Ella and Penguin Stick Together!

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