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Friendship and Teamwork: 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

The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! book
#1
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?

Duncan the Story Dragon book
#2
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!

We are Better Together book
#3
We are Better Together
Written by Roger Priddy
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

You can't paint a picture without paint, or make a milkshake without milk. This charming book of teamwork and friendship shows how individual things are so much better, when they all work together! Flour, eggs, butter, and sugar all join together to make a cake; paper, scissors, and tape wrap a beautiful present. Designed with a mixture of photographs and fun illustrations to engage little ones and make them smile, there are cute rhymes to read and share in this celebration of teamwork in its many forms.

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole book
#4
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
Written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.

Max and Marla book
#5
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!

Pine & Boof: Blast Off! book
#6
Pine & Boof: Blast Off!
Written and illustrated by Ross Burach
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Frog and Toad meets Elephant & Piggie in the second installment of a humorous and heartfelt picture book series about the adventures of Boof the bear and Pine the porcupine, from the acclaimed author-illustrator of There’s a Giraffe in My Soup and I Am Not a Chair! There’s no one Boof the bear would rather spend the day with than his best friend—Pine the porcupine. And there’s nothing he’d rather do than collect things, which is his favorite hobby of all time. So one day, when Boof is collecting rocks with Pine, he doesn’t think the day could get any better, until . . . An egg falls on Boof’s head—all the way from outer space! Now it’s up to Pine and Boof to return the space egg to its space nest . . . before it hatches. They’ll need a rocket ship, space training, and plenty of sandwiches for the trip. But most important, they’ll need each other to complete a mission that’s out of this world! Pine & Boof: Blast Off! tells the story of an unlikely friendship through highly original characters and vibrant illustrations that are impossible not to love.

Red Knit Cap Girl and the Reading Tree book
#7
Red Knit Cap Girl and the Reading Tree
Written and illustrated by Naoko Stoop
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This new adventure with Red Knit Cap Girl and her friends uses simple prose and radiant illustrations to shine a light on the joy of reading and the importance of working together. One day Red Knit Cap Girl and her friends discover a hollow tree in the middle of the forest. What can be done with one ordinary tree? "I will keep my book in this nook so everyone can read it," Red Knit Cap Girl says. But the tree isn't only for books. Little by little, one by one, the animals share their unique gifts and turn the ordinary tree into a special spot for everyone to enjoy!

The Alcatraz Escape book
#8
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.

The Mighty Dynamo book
#9
The Mighty Dynamo
Written by Kieran Crowley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

More than anything, Noah Murphy wants to be a professional soccer player—and participating in the Schools' World Cup qualifiers might be just what he needs to get scouted. But when he's suspiciously banned from his school team for something he didn't even do, all his dreams come crashing down. Determined to live up to his Mighty Dynamo nickname, Noah must find his own way to enter the contest no matter what it takes. With his best friend Stevie on tactics, and the skills of some unlikely new teammates, he's soon ready to take on the world—just as long as no one plays foul.

The Magic Looking Glass book
#10
The Magic Looking Glass
Written and illustrated by Tom Percival
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Meet Jack and his talking chicken Betsy, Red, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, and a host of other Little Legendsas they have fantastic new adventures!Get to know your favorite fairytale characters like never before in this magical new book series. A cutting has been stolen from the magical Story Tree, and it's up to twins Hansel and Gretel to get it back. With the help of their new friend Wolfie, they find a secret fortress in the forest and a Magic Looking Glass that promises to help them. But things are not always what they seem! Can Wolfie and the twins save the day, or will the Magic Look Glass have the last laugh?

Team Players book
#11
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?

The Curious Cat Spy Club book
#12
The Curious Cat Spy Club
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

No one at school knows that Kelsey, Becca, and Leo are secretly friends. They have nothing in common—until they rescue three kittens and form a club to help animals through volunteering, spying, and solving mysteries. In the first book of this series, Kelsey helps catch a runaway zorse (horse + zebra) with the help of another girl from school named Becca. The two are walking home when they happen upon a litter of kittens trapped in a dumpster and Leo Polanski is the only person around who can help get them out. The three unlikely friends decide to work together to help solve animal crimes with their secret club!

The Way I Act book
#13
The Way I Act
Written by Steve Metzger and illustrated by Janan Cain
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

The Way I Act explores thirteen ways of behaving. The friendly verses and bold illustrations convey many positive ideas of how to act in a variety of situations. In the companion book, The Way I Feel, children learned that feelings come and go and simply are. A little older now, they are ready to think about the ability they have to control how things turn out. Like The Way I Feel, this book is ideal for children with autism.

When Pencil Met Eraser book
#14
When Pencil Met Eraser
Written by Luis O. Ramos, Jr., Karen Kilpatrick and illustrated by German Blanco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Ever wonder why there’s a little pink eraser on every pencil? Find out in this funny, clever picture book that tells the true story of how Pencil and Eraser became the best of friends. When Pencil draws on the pages of this book, Eraser erases parts of Pencil’s work, and the book itself becomes a canvas for their different takes on creativity—until the two discover their artwork is even better when they work together. From Karen Kilpatrick, Luis O. Ramos, and illustrator Germán Blanco, When Pencil Met Eraser brings to life something kids use every day at school and at home. Engaging art, adorable characters, and a clever ending create a memorable message about friendship and creativity.

Ella and Penguin Stick Together book
#15
Ella and Penguin Stick Together
Written by Megan Maynor and illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Sometimes all you need is a good friend to help you be brave. Ella has a surprise for Penguin—glow-in-the-dark stickers! But to see the stickers glow, Ella and Penguin must be in the dark. And the dark is so . . . dark! If only they could see the stickers glow in the light—but that won't work. Soon Ella and Penguin find out that if they stick together, they can face anything. Megan Maynor's sweet and lively text, paired with Rosalinde Bonnet's irresistible illustrations, will have readers clamoring for more Ella and Penguin.

Silver Batal and the Water Dragon Races book
#16
Silver Batal and the Water Dragon Races
Written by K D Halbrook and illustrated by Ilse Gort
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Silver’s dreams of becoming a legendary water dragon racer come true when she befriends a rare dragon that can swim and fly. Twelve-year-old Silver Batal calls the desert home, but her heart belongs to the waters. Although she’s expected to become a jeweler like her father, Silver harbors a secret and forbidden wish to race water dragons. Destiny comes calling when her friendship with a mysterious old woman leads her to Hiyyan, a baby dragon that can swim and fly. Risking everything, Silver, Hiyyan, and her resourceful cousin Brajon set off across the desert to join the legendary races in the royal city. But the road to Calidia is filled with danger, and the trio must band together as they encounter ferocious cave beasts, clever desert foxes, and cutthroat competition. Set in a vivid, Arab-inspired world filled with friendly and fearsome water dragons, K.D. Halbrook’s middle-grade fantasy adventure is perfect for fans of Tui T. Sutherland, Sayantani DasGupta, and Roshani Chokshi.

Ruby and Olivia book
#17
Ruby and Olivia
Written by Rachel Hawkins
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A spooky middle-grade story that's full of fun, friendship, and humor--perfect for fans of Ingrid Law and Lisa Graff. Ruby is bold and opinionated, while Olivia has always been respectful and well behaved. But Olivia's good-girl image is tarnished when she takes the fall for her twin sister's misdeed. And now Olivia is stuck with Ruby all summer--at a community service day camp for troublemakers. To kick off the spirit of service, the campers are tasked with cataloging the contents of Live Oaks, a historic mansion in their town. Sorting through objects in an old house sounds boring, and working together is the last thing the girls want to do, but the stuff is actually kind of cool. There's everything from mink stoles to golf clubs to antique dolls . . . and . . . wait . . . is that doll watching them? It isn't long until little tricks--like mysterious music playing, doors slamming, and shadows rising--start to spook the girls. They'd like to think the other campers are pranking them, but they soon realize that this empty mansion might not be uninhabited after all. To solve the mystery at Live Oaks, Ruby and Olivia will have to put their old grudges aside and figure out how to be a team. This gently creepy middle-grade story is full of all the heart, humor, and authenticity that make Rachel Hawkins a favorite with kids and teachers alike.

Ethan Marcus Makes His Mark book
#18
Ethan Marcus Makes His Mark
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Ethan and Erin go to Tech Camp and try to win a chance to “make” a difference in classrooms everywhere in this hilarious follow-up to Ethan Marcus Stands Up. Ethan and Erin Marcus may only be eleven months apart age-wise, but they are a million miles apart in every other respect. Ethan’s laid back and takes things in stride. Erin’s a little more…intense and doesn’t really like to go with the flow. So when these two polar opposites are invited to attend a prestigious invention/maker camp during winter break it seems almost impossible. Even though Erin and Ethan have reached a kind of truce, Erin thinks that his invitation to the camp was a mistake. And for that reason, Ethan decides to go. He has something to prove to everyone—but mostly to himself—and he’s convinced that his desk-evator idea has great potential…if he can do it right right. But he’s going to have to do it on his own. His buddy Brian isn’t coming, neither is Erin’s partner Zoe, so the Marcus siblings are going to have to find new partners. This is especially important to Erin whose rival, Romanov, is also attending the camp. Erin’s never forgiven him for his comment about “girls” having no place in science. She’s determined to beat him. But then she overhears someone talking about Romanov’s project, and decides that she’ll never be able to compete with his game-changing invention. So, what now? It’s Brian who provides the solution: Why don’t the Marcus siblings combine their ideas, their brains, and their teams, and make something spectacular? With only one day left, can Erin and Ethan actually create a workable model of their idea, and is it enough to win?

Stinker book
#19
Stinker
Written by David Zeltser and illustrated by Julia Patton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Stinker is a puppy stuck in the pound. He's playful and loving and wants more than anything to be adopted. Unfortunately, little Stinker is always making big smells. As family after family return the ever-patient pooch back to the shelter, even he begins to lose hope. That is, until Stinker meets a snarky tomcat who can wriggle his way out of any situation. Together they stage a great escape in order to find just the right home, where Stinker will be loved in spite of his smells.

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