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Friendship and Loneliness: 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

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.

The Rough Patch book
#2
The Rough Patch
Written and illustrated by Brian Lies
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

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

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.

Brimsby's Hats book
#4
Brimsby's Hats
Written and illustrated by Andrew Prahin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A lonely hat maker uses quirky creativity to make friends in this delightful picture book that will charm readers young and old. Brimsby is a happy hat maker—until his best friend goes off to find adventure at sea. Now Brimsby is a lonely hat maker, unsure of what to do. But since making hats is what he does best, perhaps his talents can help him find some friends… Filled with whimsy and wonder, Brimsby’s Hats is a celebration of creativity and friendship.

The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole book
#5
The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole
Written by Michelle Cuevas
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A girl's friendship with a lonely black hole leads her to face her own sadness in this original, funny, and touching middle grade novel for fans of Crenshaw and Flora & Ulysses. When eleven-year-old Stella Rodriguez shows up at NASA to request that her recording be included in Carl Sagan's Golden Record, something unexpected happens: A black hole follows her home, and sets out to live in her house as a pet. The black hole swallows everything he touches, which is challenging to say the least--but also turns out to be a convenient way to get rid of those items that Stella doesn't want around. Soon the ugly sweaters her aunt has made for her all disappear within the black hole, as does the smelly class hamster she's taking care of, and most important, all the reminders of her dead father that are just too painful to have around. It's not until Stella, her younger brother, Cosmo, the family puppy, and even the bathroom tub all get swallowed up by the black hole that Stella comes to realize she has been letting her own grief consume her. And that's not the only thing she realizes as she attempts to get back home. This is an astonishingly original and funny adventure with a great big heart.

Copy Cat book
#6
Copy Cat
Written and illustrated by Mark Birchall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Cat was small and Dog was big, and whatever Dog did, Cat did too... Dog is fed up with Cat copying everything she does. But when Cat stays away, Dog discovers she is lonely without him. A charming story about friendship, sharing and play.

The Lonely Shadow book
#7
The Lonely Shadow
Written and illustrated by Clay Rice
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Award winning author/illustrator Clay Rice has created a beautifully poetic tale about a boy's shadow who has lost his boy and goes in search for him. "I have no you, you have no me, you and me we have no we, but if I find you and you find me, happy we will always be." The Lonely Shadow sings a universal song. Clay Rice brings the shadow to life and allows us to take a journey with him in search of something, someone who connects with him. It's a story of longing, a story of discovery, a story of friendship.

My Old Pal, Oscar book
#8
My Old Pal, Oscar
Written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Amy Bates
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

After a young boy’s beloved pet passes away, he encounters an adorable stray dog on the beach. The boy tries to walk away and ignore the cuddly creature, but the puppy continues to follow him, undeterred. Though the boy is still dealing with the pain of his loss and feels afraid to care about a new pet again, as the two walk the sand together, the boy slowly opens himself up to the joy of having a new dog in his life and making peace with the past. New York Times bestselling Amy Hest and Amy Bates, the beloved team who created The Dog Who Belonged to No One, have created a touching story about new beginnings and how friendship and love have the power to heal.

Rosie And Rasmus book
#9
Rosie And Rasmus
Written and illustrated by Serena Geddes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Two kindred spirits—a lonely young girl and a solitary young dragon—find each other and discover the power and magic of friendship in this sweetly simple picture book. Every day, Rosie waits and watches as children play together, laugh and share stories, hoping she can join in the fun and make a new friend. But every day her wish never comes true. Every day, Rasmus sits in his tree and waits and watches as birds dance in the sky, wishing he could fly just like them. But every day his wish never comes true. Then one day, Rosie and Rasmus meet and girl and dragon are lonely no more. They become the best of friends, playing together, laughing, sharing stories…and Rosie even helps Rasmus learn to fly! But when Rasmus finds his wings, he knows he must also find his fate. Two best friends say goodbye, as Rasmus flies away. But then…a lonely girl watches and waits as children play together, laugh and share stories, hoping she can join in the fun and make a new friend. And today, when Rosie brings her a flower, she does. Serena Geddess’s enchanting tale is sure to make readers believe in the transformative power of love, friendship, and faith.

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