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Friendship and Problem Solving: 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.

Dough Knights and Dragons book
#2
Dough Knights and Dragons
Written by Dee Leone and illustrated by George Ermos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I think this book is so fun! I love that the unlikely pair become friends, use their creativity and problem-solving skills, and most of all, that they stand up for what they think is right! Very cute illustrations, too! :)

In a mythical kingdom, a knight and a dragon cook up a delicious plan to save their friendship! In Dough Knights and Dragons, a curious knight and an amiable dragon meet serendipitously, and instantly bond over their shared love of baking. But the friends are filled with sadness when, according to the law, the two must duel one another. Can the unlikely pair find a way to evade the law, save their friendship, and spread good throughout the land? Kids will devour this scrumptiously clever tale!

Circle book
#3
Circle
Written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Multi-award-winning, New York Times best-selling duo Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen deliver the final wry and resonant tale about Triangle, Square, and Circle. This book is about Circle. This book is also about Circle's friends, Triangle and Square. Also it is about a rule that Circle makes, and how she has to rescue Triangle when he breaks that rule. With their usual pitch-perfect pacing and subtle, sharp wit, Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen come full circle in the third and final chapter of their clever shapes trilogy.

Duncan the Story Dragon book
#4
Duncan the Story Dragon
Written and illustrated by Amanda Driscoll
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Duncan the Dragon loves to read. When he reads a story, his imagination catches fire! Unfortunately . . . so does his book. Fire breath is great for roasting marshmallows, but it’s not so great for reading. Duncan just wants to get to those two wonderful words, like the last sip of a chocolate milk shake: The End. Will he ever find out how the story ends? This bright, warm tale champions determination, friendship, and a love for books. And milk shakes!

The Whale in My Swimming Pool  book
#5
The Whale in My Swimming Pool
Written and illustrated by Joyce Wan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

One sunny day, a little boy heads outside for a swim, but his pool is already taken . . . There's a big whale in the water and it's not budging! The boy tries everything to get the whale to leave. Nothing seems to work. Not fetch. Not tag. Not even offering his allowance. What's a boy to do? Luckily, he comes up with the perfect solution: he decides to chill out on a spray of water over the whale's spout. This colorful whale of a tale from the talented Joyce Wan is sure to inspire giggles from little guppies!

Journey book
#6
Journey
Written and illustrated by Aaron Becker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship. A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire? With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.

Somewhere Else book
#7
Somewhere Else
Written and illustrated by Gus Gordon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

George has absolutely no interest in exploring the world. None at all. He's far too busy enjoying his home life and baking delicious pastries. Or so he tells all his friends when they invite him along on their wonderful adventures. But when George's friend Pascal digs a little deeper, the real reason George refuses to travel away from home is finally revealed . . . From the children's book author of the acclaimed Herman and Rosie comes Gus Gordon's Somewhere Else.

Max and Marla book
#8
Max and Marla
Written and illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Two fearless Olympians sled to victory in this delightful new picture book Max and Marla are best friends. And aspiring Olympians! With their eyes on the prize, they know exactly what it’ll take to reach sledding success: preparation, practice and perseverance. So when rusty blades, strong winds and difficult slopes get in their way, Max and Marla realize true joy lies not in winning but in friendship. Obstacles turn into victories! With delightful illustrations and charming text, Alexandra Boiger brings to life the story of two unstoppable pals—true Olympians who never give up!

This Moose Belongs to Me book
#9
This Moose Belongs to Me
Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

From the illustrator of the #1 smash hit The Day the Crayons Quit comes the age-old tale of a boy and his moose . . . Wilfred is a boy with rules. He lives a very orderly life. It’s fortunate, then, that he has a pet who abides by rules, such as not making noise while Wilfred educates him on his record collection. There is, however, one rule that Wilfred’s pet has difficulty following: Going whichever way Wilfred wants to go. Perhaps this is because Wilfred’s pet doesn’t quite realize that he belongs to anyone. A moose can be obstinate in such ways. Fortunately, the two manage to work out a compromise. Let’s just say it involves apples.

Lulu's Party book
#10
Lulu's Party
Written and illustrated by Kit Chase
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Follow-up to Kit Chase’s popular and utterly charming debut, Oliver’s Tree, starring Lulu, Charlie, and Oliver The weather is stormy and Lulu is disappointed that she can’t play outside, so she makes a special Rainy Day Treat and plans the perfect party for her friends Oliver and Charlie. But when it’s time to taste the creamy hot chocolate, they quickly realize something went very wrong. Lulu is devastated that her party is ruined, but with some quick-thinking, Charlie and Oliver figure out a delicious solution to save the day! Kit Chase offers a sweet ode to friendship in this tale of three best friends who are always ready to use their imaginations and help each other out.

Charlie's Boat book
#11
Charlie's Boat
Written and illustrated by Kit Chase
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Best friends really are the best when they use their imaginations to help each other. Charlie, Oliver, and Lulu love to play outside together. One fine day they all go fishing, but Charlie doesn’t have much fun—all he can catch are sticks. Next, they build little boats and have a race, but, once again, things don’t go very well. Charlie’s boat comes in last. Things seem pretty gloomy until Oliver comes up with a plan. They build a special boat they can all play on, together! Kit Chase offers a sweet ode to friendship in this tale of three best friends who can count on each other to always make play time fun.

The Kingdom of Wrenly - 4 Books in 1! book
#12
The Kingdom of Wrenly - 4 Books in 1!
Written by Jordan Quinn and illustrated by Robert McPhillips
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Journey to the magical Kingdom of Wrenly with this fanastical four-book collection! Join Prince Lucas and his best friend, Clara, as they search for the queen’s lost necklace, save a scarlet dragon, tame a sea monster, and stop an evil curse from destroying the kingdom’s crops in this enchanting four-book collection. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Kingdom of Wrenly chapter books are perfect for beginning readers. This adventurous four-book collection includes: The Lost Stone, The Scarlet Dragon, Sea Monster!, and The Witch’s Curse.

The 91-Story Treehouse book
#13
The 91-Story Treehouse
Written by Andy Griffiths and illustrated by Terry Denton
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

The "New York Times-"-bestselling team of Griffiths and Denton invites readers to hang out with them in the seventh book of their illustrated chapter book series. Illustrations.

Hat Trick book
#14
Hat Trick
Written by Alex Morgan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The Kicks are dedicated to soccer and to friendship—but can they balance all their goals? Find out in book four in the fun and empowering New York Times bestselling middle grade series from star soccer player, Olympic gold medalist, and World Cup champion, Alex Morgan. Now that playoffs are over, the Kicks won’t be playing together again until the spring. But soccer-crazy Devin can’t imagine a life without soccer! She and her friends decide to try out for a travel team in a very competitive local league, but not everyone makes the cut. Meanwhile, Devin’s little sister, Maisie, wants to try out for her elementary school’s soccer program. But due to budget cuts, the program has been eliminated! The Kicks rally together to help raise money—and volunteer to help with four different projects on the same day! Things get hectic as the girls deal with the challenges of being on the competitive, tougher team; figuring out how to keep their friendships together as they all go in different directions; and trying to save the elementary school’s soccer program. If they can pull off all three, it will be a true hat trick!

Robot on the Loose book
#15
Robot on the Loose
Written by Henry Winkler and illustrated by Lin Oliver
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Hank, the star of the bestselling easy-to-read series, is back! This time, he has to learn the nuts and bolts of making a robot–and making a friend! Hank’s school is hosting its first-ever Build-a-Robot competition and Hank is ready to win. There’s just one problem: he completely forgot about the contest! While other kids have been working on their robots for a month, Hank has just two days to create an amazing robot that will wow the judges and win him the trophy. To make matters worse, there might be another problem, too. Hank has no idea how to build a robot! With help from Jaden, a robot expert at his school, Hank and his friends construct their robot, Stanley, just in time. But on the day of the competition, Stanley malfunctions! It will take Hank, Frankie, Ashley, and their new friend Jaden to get it back on track. Forget winning the trophy–Hank has to stop a robot on the loose!

The Eleventh Trade book
#16
The Eleventh Trade
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

From debut author Alyssa Hollingsworth comes a story about living with fear, being a friend, and finding a new place to call home. They say you can't get something for nothing, but nothing is all Sami has. When his grandfather’s most-prized possession—a traditional Afghan instrument called a rebab—is stolen, Sami resolves to get it back. He finds it at a music store, but it costs $700, and Sami doesn’t have even one penny. What he does have is a keychain that has caught the eye of his classmate. If he trades the keychain for something more valuable, could he keep trading until he has $700? Sami is about to find out. The Eleventh Trade is both a classic middle school story and a story about being a refugee. Like Katherine Applegate, author of Wishtree, Alyssa Hollingsworth tackles a big issue with a light touch.

George and the Unbreakable Code book
#17
George and the Unbreakable Code
Written by Stephen Hawking, Lucy Hawking and illustrated by Garry Parsons
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

George and Annie are off on another cosmic adventure to figure out why strange things are happening on Earth in the fourth book of the George’s Secret Key series from Stephen and Lucy Hawking. George and his best friend Annie haven’t had any space adventures for a while and they’re missing the excitement. But not for long, because seriously strange things have started happening. Banks are handing out free money, supermarkets aren’t able to charge for their products so people are getting free food, and aircrafts are refusing to fly. It looks like the world’s biggest and best computers have all been hacked. And no one knows why… It’s up to George and Annie to travel further into space than ever before in order to find out what—or who—is behind it.

Choosing Sides book
#18
Choosing Sides
Written by Alex Morgan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From FIFA World Cup Champion, Olympic gold medalist, and bestselling author Alex Morgan comes the ninth book in an empowering and fun-filled middle grade series that inspired the Amazon original series, The Kicks! After an easy win against the Roses, Devin is reminded of how the Kicks were playing when she first joined and how far they have come since then. Devin runs into Sasha, a summer league teammate of hers, who confides that the Roses’ coach doesn’t seem to care that they’re losing and asks Devin for help. She invites the Roses to a weekend soccer clinic that the Kicks are going to. But when the eighth graders find out that Devin is helping another team in their league, they are not pleased and accuse Devin of helping the competition—especially when the Roses begin to win. Meanwhile, Zoe and Emma haven’t been seeing eye-to-eye, and their friendship seems to be in trouble, putting Devin and Jessi in the middle of their fights. When they begin to disrupt the Kicks’ practices, Devon knows she has to do something. Can Devin prove to her team and her friends that she’s not playing favorites or choosing sides?

The Alcatraz Escape book
#19
The Alcatraz Escape
Written by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman and illustrated by Sarah Watts
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-14

Sleuthing duo Emily and James engage in a literary escape-room challenge on Alcatraz Island, but soon find that an invisible enemy is trying to sabotage the team at any cost.

Code It! Create It! book
#20
Code It! Create It!
Written by Sarah Hutt and illustrated by Brenna Vaughan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Girls can design the perfect coding-powered project for themselves in this informative, interactive book published in partnership with the nonprofit organization Girls Who Code that guides readers through the brainstorming process, provides inspiration, and teaches basic coding concepts. Illustrations. Consumable.

Rookie of the Year book
#21
Rookie of the Year
Written by Phil Bildner and illustrated by Tim Probert
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

"Rip and Red find that fifth grade continues to challenge them in brand-new ways and discover that sometimes radical change is nothing to be afraid of"--

Most Valuable Players book
#22
Most Valuable Players
Written by Phil Bildner and illustrated by Tim Probert
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

With their fifth grade graduation only weeks away, Rip, Red, and the rest of their classmates must decide if boycotting a test is worth forfeiting their graduation gala and the opportunity to play with Hoops Machine, a Harlem Globetrotters-like team.

Firestorm! book
#23
Firestorm!
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Twelve-year-old Poppy is an orphan living in a bad neighborhood in Chicago, pick pocketing so that she has a place to sleep at night. Justin’s world couldn’t be more different—his father owns a jewelry store—but when he and Poppy meet, they become fast friends, thanks in part to Justin’s sweet pet goat. Through their friendship, Poppy realizes that she doesn’t want to be a thief anymore and she begins to feel like she may have a place with Justin’s family. But when Justin makes an expensive mistake at his father’s store, Poppy is immediately blamed. In response, she flees . . . right into the Great Chicago Fire. Poppy and Justin must rely on their instincts if they are going to survive the catastrophe. Will anything be left when the fire finally burns out?

Team Players book
#24
Team Players
Written and illustrated by Mike Lupica
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Cassie must learn that you can’t “fix” someone else after a girl with Aspergers joins her softball team in the fourth and final book of the Home Team series from New York Times bestselling author and sports-writing legend Mike Lupica. Cassie Bennett is great at being in charge. She always knows what to do to lead her teams to victory, keep her many groups of friends together, or fix any problem that comes her way. So when Sarah Milligan, an autistic girl with unreal softball skills, joins Cassie’s team, Cassie’s sure she can help her fit in with the team. But before long it’s obvious that being around so many people is really hard for Sarah, and the more Cassie tries to reach out and involve her, the more Sarah pushes her away, sometimes literally. It doesn’t help that Cassie’s teammates aren’t as interested in helping Sarah as they are in making sure they make it to the new softball All-Star Tournament that’ll be televised just like the Little League World Series. Soon no one besides Cassie seems to even want Sarah on the team anymore, and the harder Cassie tries to bring everyone together, the worse things seem to get. Cassie Bennett never backs down from a challenge, but can she realize that maybe the challenge isn’t fixing a problem in someone else, but in herself? Or will her stubbornness lead her to lose more than just softball games?

Munch Your Lunch! book
#25
Munch Your Lunch!
Written by Becky Friedman and illustrated by Jason Fruchter
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A new generation of children love Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, inspired by the classic series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood! Daniel Tiger is the lunch helper at school and gets a sweet surprise from Mom Tiger in this 8x8 storybook based on an episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood that comes with tiger-tastic lunch notes to pack in your little one’s lunchbox! It’s lunchtime at Daniel Tiger’s school. Teacher Harriet tells everyone to take a deep breath and open their lunch boxes. Daniel Tiger’s lunch box has a sandwich, strawberries, and a special surprise: A note from Mom Tiger! With the Daniel Tiger lunch notes included in this 8x8 storybook, parents and guardians can add special messages in their little one’s lunchboxes to show how much they care!

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