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Friendship and Humor: 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

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?

How to Win Friends and Influence Creatures book
#2
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.

The Doghouse book
#3
The Doghouse
Written and illustrated by Jan Thomas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Mouse, Pig, Cow, and Duck are playing a carefree game of ball when (horror of horrors!) their ball gets kicked into . . . THE DOGHOUSE. Who will risk a run-in with scary Dog to get it back? Hysterical high anxiety ensues as Mouse volunteers each animal to do the dirty work—but you’ll never believe what’s really going on in the doghouse! With Jan Thomas’s fun, fresh art and priceless animal expressions, this timeless tale of fear and friendship will have young readers howling.

The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee book
#4
The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee
Written by Deborah Abela
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

India Wimple can spell. Brilliantly. Every Friday night, she and her family watch the Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee on TV. When the Wimples suggest she enter the next bee, India finds the idea disconcerting. She's sure she's not good enough—but her family won't accept that and encourages her to sign up. There are plenty of obstacles to reaching the finals, and the whole thing seems rather calamitous to India. But with hope, hard work, and a little bit of heart, something splendiferous might be on the horizon…

The Rhino in Right Field book
#5
The Rhino in Right Field
Written and illustrated by Stacy DeKeyser
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A boy who loves baseball must get past his hard-working immigrant parents—and the rhino in the outfield—to become a batboy in this laugh-out-loud middle-grade novel in the tradition of The Sandlot.

Sloth at the Zoom book
#6
Sloth at the Zoom
Written by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Orbie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

One day, a sloth accidentally gets delivered to the Zoom! She was supposed to be dropped off at the Zzzzzoo, a much more laid-back, slow-paced place. She had been looking forward to long, languorous naps while the sun gently warmed her belly. But at the Zoom, the zebras gallop so fast they leave their stripes in puddles. The monkeys climb so fast they forget to stop at the treetops. And the parrots fly so fast their tails draw rainbows across the sky. When the sloth tries to make friends, nobody has any time—until the sloth meets a creature who’s a little more her speed, and everyone stops to notice. This is a surprising, delightful, and funny picture book about slowing down to enjoy the little things and making time for what matters.

Bunny Will Not Smile! book
#7
Bunny Will Not Smile!
Written and illustrated by Jason Tharp
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

From the endless imagination of Jason Tharp comes a brand-new, interactive Level 1 Ready-to-Read that’s perfect for fans of Mo Willems, Jim Benton, and David Milgrim and for beginning readers who like to giggle! A bear named Big has a problem. His friend Bunny will not smile, no matter what Big tries…so Big needs your help! With appealing comic-inspired speech bubbles and interactive storytelling that prompts kids to do everything from turning the page, to leaning in so Big can whisper an idea, to making their silliest silly face, beginning readers will giggle their way through this Level 1 Ready-to-Read!

Truck, Truck, Goose! book
#8
Truck, Truck, Goose!
Written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Zoe Waring
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Truck . . .Truck . . . Truck . . . Goose will never get to have his picnic if he can’t cross the street! Bright colors and hilarious antics makes Truck, Truck Goose perfect for toddlers at bedtime, story time, or anytime. With a clever play on the beloved game of Duck, Duck, Goose, it tells the sweet, sometimes chaotic story of a goose who just wants to cross the road in front of his cottage. And everything is going fine . . . until he drops his piano! With bold and bright illustrations from Zoe Waring and minimal text from Tammi Sauer, Truck, Truck, Goose is great fun.

Bruno, the Standing Cat book
#9
Bruno, the Standing Cat
Written by Nadine Robert and illustrated by Jean Jullien
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Meet a silly and absurd cat who's like no cat you've ever met before, in this inventive and unusual book from the illustrator of the picture-book version of John Lennon's song "Imagine." When a box arrives on Peter's doorstep, he opens it to find Bruno, a cat who is standing up on two legs. It is very odd. Bruno likes to chew bubble gum, play house, and skateboard--and refuses to engage in any catlike behavior. But Peter likes Bruno, and so they become friends and do everything they can think of together. Jean Jullien (illustrator of the picture-book version of John Lennon's song "Imagine") is an emerging picture-book creator who works in a signature thick black line and bold, flat color. His quirky, subversive humor is childlike at its core, and kids will delight in his light and irreverent approach.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!