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Friendship and School: 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

My Year in the Middle book
#1
My Year in the Middle
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Miss Garrett’s classroom is like every other at our school. White kids sit on one side and black kids on the other. I’m one of the few middle-rowers who split the difference. In a racially polarized classroom in 1970 Alabama, Lu’s talent for running track makes her a new best friend—and tests her mettle as she navigates the school’s social cliques. Sixth-grader Lu Olivera just wants to keep her head down and get along with everyone in her class. Trouble is, Lu’s old friends have been changing lately—acting boy crazy and making snide remarks about Lu’s newfound talent for running track. Lu’s secret hope for a new friend is fellow runner Belinda Gresham, but in 1970 Red Grove, Alabama, blacks and whites don’t mix. As segregationist ex-governor George Wallace ramps up his campaign against the current governor, Albert Brewer, growing tensions in the state—and in the classroom—mean that Lu can’t stay neutral about the racial divide at school. Will she find the gumption to stand up for what’s right and to choose friends who do the same?

Cody Harmon, King of Pets book
#2
Cody Harmon, King of Pets
Written by Claudia Mills and illustrated by Rob Shepperson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Cody Harmon doesn't love reading, math, spelling, or really any of the subjects that Miss Molina teaches in her third-grade class. But he lives on a farm and he loves animals--he even has nine pets--so when the school holds a pet-show fund-raiser, it should be his time to shine. There's a ten-dollar entrance fee per pet, though, and Cody can't pay it for all nine pets. He'd love to take his pig, but what about the others? In the end, Cody figures out a way to lend out his pets so that every person in the class (and every pet) gets to participate in the show.

A Friend for Henry book
#3
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.

Big Nate Goes Bananas! book
#4
Big Nate Goes Bananas!
Written and illustrated by Lincoln Peirce
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-12

Join Big Nate and his pals for another round of pranks, jokes, and wedgies! NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR! The school year is winding down, and Nate can't wait for summer vacation: baseball, beach trips, and...overripe bananas? Yuck! Turns out Nate has a problem with fruit that's past its prime. And that's not all that's bugging him. Kim Cressly is making Chester jealous at Nate's expense, Artur is challenging him in the Hunny Bursts mascot contest, and his replacement social studies teacher is none other than Coach John. In banana terms, it's all left Nate feeling a little bruised. Can he make it to summer without slipping up? Join Nate and the gang for more shenanigans in this newest collection of Big Nate comics!

Posey, the Class Pest book
#5
Posey, the Class Pest
Written by Holly Anna and illustrated by Genevieve Santos
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Daisy brings her totally true imaginary friend, Posey, to visit her totally real school in this seventh Daisy Dreamer chapter book! Nerd alert! Guess what? I, Daisy Dreamer, have a big confession. I love school. You know what else I love? Posey. He’s my totally true imaginary friend. So if I were to mix school and Posey together, then I would have the absolutely, most perfect day. Obviously. Unfortunately, sometimes mixing two great things together makes for an absolutely huge mess, like grape juice and fluffy carpets, or lollipops and long hair. Well, I would not recommend mixing school and Posey together, unless you love having a classroom pest. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Daisy Dreamer chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.

Robot on the Loose book
#6
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
#7
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.

Dory and the Real True Friend book
#8
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!

Sleepover Scientist book
#9
Sleepover Scientist
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Jada Jones is back for the third book of this popular, celebrated series perfect for STEM fans! Jada is hosting her first sleepover, and she has lots of cool scientific activities planned: kitchen chemistry, creating invisible ink, and even making slime! But when her friends get tired of the lessons and just want to hang out, can Jada figure out the formula for fun and save the sleepover? Praise for Jada Jones: Rock Star "Fast-paced, with supersimple vocabulary and a smattering of earth science to spark interest in young rock collectors everywhere."--Kirkus Reviews "Readers who love "Ivy and Bean" or "Katie Woo" will want to meet Jada Jones."--School Library Journal

Dory Dory Black Sheep book
#10
Dory Dory Black Sheep
Written by Abby Hanlon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Ever since Dory met Rosabelle, a real true friend whose imagination and high spirits match her own, school has been pretty good. But now the class is learning to read, and it’s proving to be a challenge for Dory. While Rosabelle can read chapter books in her head, Dory is stuck with baby books about a happy little farm. Dory wishes for a potion to turn her into a reader but things don’t go as planned. Suddenly, a naughty little girl who looks an awful lot like Dory’s imaginary nemesis, Mrs. Gobble Gracker, shows up. And a black sheep leaves the pages of the farm book to follow Dory to school. It really needs her help–this seems like a job for a superhero! And it would help if she knew how to read.

School for Skylarks book
#11
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.

Shadow of a Pug (Howard Wallace, P. I. , Book 2) book
#12
Shadow of a Pug (Howard Wallace, P. I. , Book 2)
Written and illustrated by Casey Lyall
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Middle-school detectives Howard Wallace and Ivy Mason are itching for a juicy case--but when they're forced to prove that uber-bully Carl Dean didn't pugnap the school mascot, they're not thrilled. Now Howard and Ivy have to play nice with Carl, dodge a snoopy reporter, and deal with Howard's worst enemy, Miles Fletcher. Can Howard handle these complications and still be there for Ivy when her life is turned upside down?

Everybody Is Somebody book
#13
Everybody Is Somebody
Written by Henry Winkler and illustrated by Lin Oliver
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

In the final book of this bestselling easy-to-read series, Hank begins a new chapter! When a well-known author of a beloved book series visits Hank's school, he and his two best friends get the chance to be her guide for the day and introduce her at an assembly. But Hank, embarrassed by his struggles with reading, tries to hide the fact that he's never actually finished reading the author's books--or any book, for that matter! So Hank gets creative and makes up his own version of the story. But will everyone be able to tell fact from fiction? This bestselling series written by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver is perfect for the transitional reader. With a unique, easy-to-read font, endless humor, and characters every kid would want to be friends with, any story with Hank is an adventure!

Anna, Banana, and the Big-Mouth Bet book
#14
Anna, Banana, and the Big-Mouth Bet
Written by Anica Mrose Rissi and illustrated by Meg Park
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Anna has a loose tooth! It’s as wiggly as her dog Banana’s tail. But while Anna is poking at her loose tooth, class clown Justin keeps poking fun at Anna and her friends. Anna tries to make Justin leave them alone and gets pulled into a high-stakes bet. If Anna wins, Justin has to play nice; but if Anna loses, she has to do something so jaw-droppingly embarrassing, even Banana can’t believe it. There’s no wiggling her way out of this one. Anna has to win this bet.

Class Act book
#15
Class Act
Written by Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Fans of Princess Posey and Ivy and Bean will enjoy rooting for Jada Jones as she runs for student council in this easy-to-read chapter book. As a candidate for class representative, Jada is ready to give the campaign her all. But when rumors start to fly about her secret fear of public speaking, she isn't sure who she can trust. And the pressure to make promises she can't keep only adds to her growing list of problems. Is winning even worth it when friendships are on the line? This easy-to-read story--with plenty of pictures and a charming, relatable cast of characters--is a sure winner. The early chapter book bridges between leveled readers and chapter books for fluent readers adjusting to the chapter book format. At about 5,000 words, with short chapters and two-color art on almost every page, it will appeal to this unique reader. The two-color art throughout will help readers transition from the familiar four-color art of leveled readers and ease them into black-and-white chapter books.

Most Valuable Players book
#16
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.

Rookie of the Year book
#17
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"--

Anna, Banana, and the Friendship Split book
#18
Anna, Banana, and the Friendship Split
Written by Anica Mrose Rissi and illustrated by Meg Park
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Anna has two favorite things: her best friend, Sadie, and her dog, Banana. She can't wait to celebrate her birthday with both of them. But Anna's birthday party turns into a birthday disaster when Sadie starts a terrible fight that Anna never saw coming. Anna doesn't know why her best friend is suddenly acting like her worst enemy, but she knows she'd do anything to fix it. She and Banana just need to come up with a plan. Only, what if Sadie doesn't want their friendship to be fixed?

Ada Lace and the Impossible Mission book
#19
Ada Lace and the Impossible Mission
Written by Tamson Weston, Emily Calandrelli and illustrated by Renee Kurilla
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

From Emily Calandrelli—Emmy-nominated host of Xploration Outer Space, correspondent on Bill Nye Saves the World, and graduate of MIT—comes the fourth novel in a fun illustrated chapter book series about an eight-year-old girl with a knack for science, math, and solving mysteries with technology. Third grader and inventor extraordinaire Ada Lace has a new social studies teacher—who loves group projects. While most of the class has constructed regular dioramas with clay and construction paper, Ada, her best friend Nina, and sometimes nemesis Milton have built a complex scale model of an historic silver mine. But when Milton reveals that he added his “old Milton touch” on their project right before turning it in, Ada worries that he has sabotaged their work. In a desperate attempt to save their project, Ada and Nina use their combined creative and technical prowess to perform a heist and break into their teacher’s supply closet after school. Do the two friends have what it takes to deceive the school’s security system? Or will they get caught trying to pull off this seemingly impossible mission.

The Crossroads book
#20
The Crossroads
Written by Alexandra Diaz
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Jaime and Ángela discover what it means to be living as undocumented immigrants in the United States in this timely sequel to the Pura Belpré Honor Book The Only Road. After crossing Mexico into the United States, Jaime Rivera thinks the worst is over. Starting a new school can’t be that bad. Except it is, and not just because he can barely speak English. While his cousin Ángela fits in quickly, with new friends and after-school activities, Jaime struggles with even the idea of calling this strange place “home.” His real home is with his parents, abuela, and the rest of the family; not here where cacti and cattle outnumber people, where he can no longer be himself—a boy from Guatemala. When bad news arrives from his parents back home, feelings of helplessness and guilt gnaw at Jaime. Gang violence in Guatemala means he can’t return home, but he’s not sure if he wants to stay either. The US is not the great place everyone said it would be, especially if you’re sin papeles—undocumented—like Jaime. When things look bleak, hope arrives from unexpected places: a quiet boy on the bus, a music teacher, an old ranch hand. With his sketchbook always close by, Jaime uses his drawings to show what it means to be a true citizen. Powerful and moving, this touching sequel to The Only Road explores overcoming homesickness, finding ways to connect despite a language barrier, and discovering what it means to start over in a new place that alternates between being wonderful and completely unwelcoming.

A Whole New Ballgame book
#21
A Whole New Ballgame
Written by Phil Bildner and illustrated by Tim Probert
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

"From the first morning with their odd new teacher, fifth grade is full of shocking surprises for best friends Rip and Red"--

Ask Emma (Ask Emma Book 1) book
#22
Ask Emma (Ask Emma Book 1)
Written by Sheryl Berk and illustrated by Carrie Berk
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Emma Woods knows just how to fix all her peers' problems-or so she thinks-in this first book in the brand-new middle grade series Ask Emma, from the bestselling creators behind the Cupcake Club series! When 13-year-old Emma Woods gets that tingling feeling in her fingertips, she knows she's on to a great idea-and starting an advice blog for her classmates at Austen Middle may be one of her most brilliant ones yet! Who better to give advice on friendship, style, school, and even crushes than someone who's going through it too? But when Ask Emma goes live, she quickly realizes not everyone sees it that way. Suddenly, Emma is bombarded with peers asking her to help them postpone quizzes, get out of detention, and cut gym class short. This wasn't exactly what she had in mind. . . .What's worse, someone is posting hurtful comments, telling her to mind her own business. Despite her good intentions, Emma's blog seems to only be getting her-and her friends--deeper and deeper into trouble. Will Ask Emma come to an end before it's really begun? Or can Emma find her voice, write what's in her heart, and truly stand up for what she believes in? This book will include an appendix on cyberbullying resources.

Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat: Enemies book
#23
Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat: Enemies
Written by Emily Chenoweth, Johnny Marchiano and illustrated by Robb Mommaerts
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

Klawde is not your basic cat. He's an emperor from another planet, exiled to Earth. He's cruel. He's cunning. He's brilliant... and he's also Raj Banerjee's best friend. Klawde and Raj are back! As summer turns to fall, our favorite warlord cat remains in his pitiful exiled existence. But Raj has an even scarier prospect than cosmic exile: starting at a new school. And if things didn't seem complicated enough, both cat and human are confronted with two figures from their past they did not expect to pop up in Elba, Oregon... Heavily illustrated, with a hilarious, biting voice that switches between Raj's and Klawde's perspectives, Klawde #2 is the story of an unlikely friendship that emerges as two fish out of water continue to find their footing in strange new worlds.

Social Butterfly book
#24
Social Butterfly
Written by Beth Bracken and illustrated by Sofia Cardoso
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Charlotte loves playing and talking with her friends, but very often she plays and talks too much, and at school she has to learn that sometimes it is necessary to listen and let her friends and teacher do the talking.

Rock Star book
#25
Rock Star
Written by Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

When Jada Jones’s best friend moves away, school feels like the last place she wants to be. She’d much rather wander outside looking for cool rocks to add to her collection, since finding rocks is much easier than finding friends. So when Jada’s teacher announces a class project on rocks and minerals, Jada finally feels like she’s in her element. The only problem: one of her teammates doesn’t seem to like any of Jada’s ideas. She doesn’t seem to like Jada all that much, either. Can Jada figure out a way to make a winning science project and a new friend?

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