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Friendship and Making Friends: 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 Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! book
#2
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?

Enemy Pie book
#3
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 Friend Maggie book
#4
My Friend Maggie
Written and illustrated by Hannah Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from 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.

"Paula and Maggie are best friends until Paula starts playing with some new friends instead, but when her new playmates turn on her, it's Maggie who rushes to Paula's defense"

How to Win Friends and Influence Creatures book
#5
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.

Spike, the Mixed-up Monster book
#6
Spike, the Mixed-up Monster
Written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

The Magic Misfits book
#7
The Magic Misfits
Written by Neil Patrick Harris and illustrated by Kyle Hinton, 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 Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya book
#8
The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya
Written by Jane Kelley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A desperately ill girl and an orphaned African gray parrot find friendship, security and healing when they are inadvertently joined by fate. By the author of The Girl Behind the Glass.

Bear's Scare book
#9
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.

Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1! book
#10
Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1!
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.

Penny and Penelope book
#11
Penny and Penelope
Written by Dan Richards and illustrated by Claire Almon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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.

A Friend for Henry book
#12
A Friend for Henry
Written by Jenn Bailey and illustrated by Mika Song
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

In Classroom Six, second left down the hall, Henry has been on the lookout for a friend. A friend who shares. A friend who listens. Maybe even a friend who likes things to stay the same and all in order, as Henry does. But on a day full of too close and too loud, when nothing seems to go right, will Henry ever find a friend—or will a friend find him? With insight and warmth, this heartfelt story from the perspective of a boy on the autism spectrum celebrates the everyday magic of friendship.

The Doghouse book
#13
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.

Making A Friend book
#14
Making A Friend
Written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Alison Friend
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Beaver is good at making just about everything...but not friends. One winter day, Beaver sees some snowflakes in the sky and gets a great idea: he’ll make a friend. Yes! A snowman will be a great friend! Raccoon passes by as Beaver sets to work and offers a helping hand. The two work side by side to give their snowman everything a friend needs. But when the snowman proves to be a little cold, Beaver discovers that he may have unknowingly “made” another buddy instead. Perfect for snuggling together for a read-aloud, this sweet snowy friendship story from Tammi Sauer and Alison Friend will warm the hearts of young readers.

Brimsby's Hats book
#15
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.

Bikes for Sale book
#16
Bikes for Sale
Written by Carter Higgins and illustrated by Zachariah OHora
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Maurice rides his bike to his shop every day. Lotta rides her bike to collect sticks every day. Both go about their separate routines, unaware of the friendship that awaits them just a few blocks away. But what happens when a branch and a lemon peel get in the way? This delightful falling-in-like story from acclaimed picture book creators Carter Higgins and Zachariah OHora celebrates the power of coincidence to lead us to the friends we're meant to meet all along.

Peep and Egg: I'm Not Hatching book
#17
Peep and Egg: I'm Not Hatching
Written by Laura Gehl, Joyce Wan and illustrated by Joyce Wan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Peep cannot wait for Egg to hatch so they can have fun together, but Egg is not quite ready.

Friends book
#18
Friends
Written and illustrated by Aiko Ikegami
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A girl from a faraway place begins her first day at school. She doesn’t speak the language and she looks different. She just doesn't fit in. But one day, she makes an unexpected friend—a squirrel! Then a rabbit joins them. Soon the girl’s fuzzy woodland friends are followed by human ones and school becomes more fun! When a surprising new student joins the class, the girl and her new friends know just how to make him feel at home.

Mr. Duck Means Business book
#19
Mr. Duck Means Business
Written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Jeff Mack
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Mr. Duck enjoys a quiet morning routine on his private pond every day until other animals mistakenly think he has invited them to join him, in a simple tale that illustrates the importance of friendship.

Skateboard Sibby book
#20
Skateboard Sibby
Written and illustrated by Clare O’Connor
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Super skateboarder Sibby Henry won't let the loss of her board defeat her. Eleven-year-old Sibby Henry liked her old life. Now she's living in a new town with her nan and pops, and mad at her dad for messing everything up. On her first day of school, she sees a dope skateboard park, but she's lost her precious board. To make things worse, Freddie, a super skater and a super jerk, dominates the park. Sibby tries to stay chill, but when Freddie gets in the face of her only new friend, Charlie Parker Drysdale, things get too hot for chill. Never one to back down, Sibby accepts when Freddie challenges her to a competition on the half pipe. She won't let anything stop her from proving herself.

Dory and the Real True Friend book
#21
Dory and the Real True Friend
Written by Abby Hanlon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

The star of Dory Fantasmagory is heading to school. Her older siblings, Luke and Violet, warn her to leave her imaginary friend, Mary, at home—or better yet, leave her whole imagination at home! But on her very first day she meets a new friend, a girl whose imagination and style are just about as wild as her own. Now she just has to convince her siblings that she’s not making it all up!

The Startup Squad book
#22
The Startup Squad
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

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!

School for Skylarks book
#23
School for Skylarks
Written and illustrated by Sam Angus
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

It is 1939. When Lyla is evacuated from her home in London to her great-aunt’s enormous house in the West Country, she expects to be lonely. She has never been to school nor had any friends, and her parents have been at the center of a scandal. But with the house being used to accommodate an entire school of evacuated schoolgirls, there’s no time to think about her old life. Soon there is a horse in a first-floor bedroom and a ferret in Lyla’s sock drawer, hordes of schoolgirls have overrun the house, and Lyla finds out that friends come in all shapes and sizes.

The Very Very Very Long Dog book
#24
The Very Very Very Long Dog
Written and illustrated by Julia Patton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

"Oh, Bartelby!" Bartelby is a very long and lovable dachshund who lives in a bookstore. He has a lovely set of friends who take him for walks through the city, but he has no idea that his bumbling backside leaves a trail of destruction and accidents behind him. Embarrassed that he has no control over his back end, Bartelby vows to never leave the cozy bookstore again. Can his friends help him find a way to help himself? This beautifully illustrated picture book features silly fun along with an important message: that we love our friends not in spite of their flaws, but because of them.

Hey, Duck! book
#25
Hey, Duck!
Written and illustrated by Carin Bramsen
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

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.

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