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Friendship: Picture 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

Top 10 Books About Friendship

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?

Dough Knights and Dragons book
#3
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!

Let's Go, Hugo! book
#4
Let's Go, Hugo!
Written and illustrated by Angela Dominguez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Hugo is a bird that's afraid to fly. I love this story, because he faces his fears and ends up so happy once he's learned how to fly. I also love that he has such wonderful friends along the way that help him practice and help him through his nerves when he's scared. Sometimes it's helpful to have friends that can help you to overcome your fears. :) Plus, the illustrations in this story based in Paris are gorgeous!

Hugo is a dapper little bird who adores the Eiffel Tower -- or at least his view of it from down here. Hugo, you see, has never left the ground. So when he meets another bird, the determined Lulu, who invites him to fly with her to the top of the tower, Hugo stalls, persuading Lulu to see, on foot, every inch of the park in which he lives instead. Will a nighttime flying lesson from Bernard the Owl, some sweet and sensible encouragement from Lulu, and some extra pluck from Hugo himself finally give this bird the courage he needs to spread his wings and fly?

Enemy Pie book
#5
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
#6
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"

Wilfred book
#7
Wilfred
Written and illustrated by Ryan Higgins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

When Wilfred, a big, hairy, and lonesome giant, enters a town full of tiny bald people, he finds only one friend but that proves to be enough when the other townspeople trick him out of his warm hair.

Library Lion book
#8
Library Lion
Written by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When a lion comes to the library one day, no one is sure what to do. There are no rules about lions in the library. When something terrible happens, the lion quickly comes to the rescue in the only way he knows how.

The Girl and the Bicycle book
#9
The Girl and the Bicycle
Written and illustrated by Mark Pett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-8

A wordless picture book in which a girl sees a bicycle she wants to buy, works hard for a kindly neighbor to earn the money for it, then gets a pleasant surprise.

The Bear and the Piano book
#10
The Bear and the Piano
Written by David Litchfield and illustrated by Frances Lincoln Ltd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

One day, a bear cub finds something strange and wonderful in the forest. When he touches the keys, they make a horrible noise. Yet he is drawn back again and again. Eventually, he learns to play beautiful sounds, delighting his woodland friends. Then the bear is invited to share his sounds with new friends in the city. He longs to explore the world beyond his home, and to play bigger and better than before. But he knows that if he leaves, the other bears will be very sad . . . This gorgeously illustrated tale of following one’s dreams reminds us of the value of friendship, wherever we go.

Books About Friendship and Bullying

My Friend Maggie book
#1
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"

Strictly No Elephants book
#2
Strictly No Elephants
Written by Lisa Mantchev and illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When the local Pet Club won’t admit a boy’s tiny pet elephant, he finds a solution—one that involves all kinds of unusual animals in this sweet and adorable picture book. Today is Pet Club day. There will be cats and dogs and fish, but strictly no elephants are allowed. The Pet Club doesn’t understand that pets come in all shapes and sizes, just like friends. Now it is time for a boy and his tiny pet elephant to show them what it means to be a true friend. Imaginative and lyrical, this sweet story captures the magic of friendship and the joy of having a pet.

The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! book
#3
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?

Honorable Mentions
  1. Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse - A classic in the making, this heartwarming story about empathy and imagination is one that families will treasure for years to come. Adrian Simcox tells anyone who will listen that he has a horse--the best and most beautiful horse anywhere. But Chloe does NOT believe him. Adrian Simcox lives in a tiny house. Where would he keep a horse? He has holes in his shoes. How would he pay for a horse? The more Adrian talks about his horse, the angrier Chloe gets. But when she calls him out at school and even complains about him to her mom, Chloe doesn't get the vindication she craves. She gets something far more important. Written with tenderness and poignancy and gorgeously illustrated, this book will show readers that kindness is always rewarding, understanding is sweeter than judgment, and friendship is the best gift one can give.

  2. The Rag Coat - With paintings that capture all the beauty of Appalachia in authentic detail, this tender story about a resourceful mountain girl's special coat will touchreaders with its affirming message of love and friendship.

  3. Stick and Stone - When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, the pair becomes fast friends. But when Stick gets stuck, can Stone return the favor? Author Beth Ferry makes a memorable debut with a warm, rhyming text that includes a subtle anti-bullying message even the youngest reader will understand. New York Times bestselling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld imbues Stick and Stone with energy, emotion, and personality to spare. In this funny story about kindness and friendship, Stick and Stone join George and Martha, Frog and Toad, and Elephant and Piggie, as some of the best friend duos in children’s literature.

  4. The Pout-Pout Fish and the Bully-Bully Shark - Mr. Fish finds the courage to speak up for his friends when a shark comes to the park and bullies them.

Want to see more children's books about bullying?

Books About Friendship and Problem Solving

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!

Duncan the Story Dragon book
#3
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!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Journey - 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.

  2. Max and Marla - 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!

  3. Lulu's Party - 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.

  4. Charlie's Boat - 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.

Want to see more children's books about problem solving?

Books About Friendship and Facing Fears

Let's Go, Hugo! book
#1
Let's Go, Hugo!
Written and illustrated by Angela Dominguez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Hugo is a bird that's afraid to fly. I love this story, because he faces his fears and ends up so happy once he's learned how to fly. I also love that he has such wonderful friends along the way that help him practice and help him through his nerves when he's scared. Sometimes it's helpful to have friends that can help you to overcome your fears. :) Plus, the illustrations in this story based in Paris are gorgeous!

Hugo is a dapper little bird who adores the Eiffel Tower -- or at least his view of it from down here. Hugo, you see, has never left the ground. So when he meets another bird, the determined Lulu, who invites him to fly with her to the top of the tower, Hugo stalls, persuading Lulu to see, on foot, every inch of the park in which he lives instead. Will a nighttime flying lesson from Bernard the Owl, some sweet and sensible encouragement from Lulu, and some extra pluck from Hugo himself finally give this bird the courage he needs to spread his wings and fly?

Bear Feels Scared book
#2
Bear Feels Scared
Written and illustrated by Karma Wilson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Bad weather frightens Bear, but his woodland friends are there to help him in this sweet, reassuring Bear story from bestselling duo Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman! In the deep, dark woods by the Strawberry Vale, a big bear lumbers down a small, crooked trail… The sun is setting and it’s getting chilly. When Bear’s friends discover that he is not at home in his lair, they march out into the cold to find their pal. Friends don’t let friends stay lost! Wren, Owl, and Raven take to the skies while Badger, Mole, and Mouse search on the ground. Pretty soon Bear is found, and once he’s back in his cave, he feels quite safe with his friends all around.

Somewhere Else book
#3
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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Pablo in the Snow - What is soft, fluffy, and white? Pablo’s wool, of course. But this little lamb soon discovers that there’s something else as well: SNOW! From making trails to sledding with friends, having snowball fights and crafting snowmen, there’s tons of fun to be had in the snow. But winter days grow dark very fast, and Pablo finds himself lost on his way home. Not to worry―Mama and Papa help Pablo get back to the cozy barn so he can talk about his adventures.

  2. Brave Molly - What do you do when no one can see your monsters but you? At first, Molly runs from them. But they follow her down the sidewalk, getting in the way when she tries to make a new friend, popping up unexpectedly out of shadows, and multiplying. Until finally...Molly faces her fears. Author-illustrator Brooke Boynton-Hughes delivers a modern classic in this moving adventure that honors everyday acts of bravery and the power of friendship to banish the monsters that haunt us.

  3. The Doghouse - 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.

  4. Hopper and Wilson Fetch a Star - Have you ever wanted your very own star? Wouldn't it be wonderful to have your own star for a nightlight? It is this thought that begins Hopper and Wilson's second adventure. They fill their airplane with lemonade and soar into the night sky. So many stars to choose from! One is too pointy. One is too heavy. Another is too bright! Taking a break on the moon, the two friends look directly above and spot it—the perfect star! As Hopper lays down for a nap, Wilson ventures off on his own, to the dark side of the moon. Yet now he is lost! How can he find his way back to Hopper? The perfect star, of course. Wilson spots it in the sky and follows it back to his friend. In another deceptively simple story, Maria van Lieshout shows how sometimes the best part of nature is that it's found only in nature—and that everything has its proper place . . . be it stars or even best friends, who always belong together.

Want to see more children's books about facing fears?

Books About Friendship and Adventure

Lost And Found book
#1
Lost And Found
Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

What is a boy to do when a lost penguin shows up at his door? Find out where it comes from, of course, and return it. But the journey to the South Pole is long and difficult in the boy’s rowboat. There are storms to brave and deep, dark nights.To pass the time, the boy tells the penguin stories. Finally, they arrive. Yet instead of being happy, both are sad. That’s when the boy realizes: The penguin hadn’t been lost, it had merely been lonely. A poignant, funny, and child-friendly story about friendship lost . . . and then found again.

Sunk! book
#2
Sunk!
Written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

A pirate hat. A sunny day. For Penguin Blue A game to play... Penguin Blue is back in a swashbuckling new adventure about pirates, treasure, and friendship. While sailing the seven seas Captain Blue and his friends are unexpectedly sunk! But with a shipwreck to explore and a mysterious stranger on a desert island to meet, they might still find some treasure after all. The follow-up to the bestselling and award-winning Blown Away.

Penny and Penelope book
#3
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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Thunder Pug - Welcome back the perfect pug-and-pig pair: Percy and Petunia. The two besties are inseparable--until Petunia wins a blue ribbon at the fair. Suddenly she's too busy to play anymore. So when lonely Percy finds a faded comic book, he takes on a new persona: THUNDER PUG! But what's a superhero without a sidekick? Will a little "Pink Lightning" (aka Petunia) come to his rescue?

  2. Petey and Pru and the Hullabaloo - Petey is enjoying a peaceful afternoon of gardening when his good friend Pru starts to cause trouble. Petey reacts in turn, and before long, things have escalated from a scuffle to a tussle to a true hullabaloo! This beautifully illustrated story about the true meaning of friendship is packed with excitement and near disaster as well as vocabulary-expanding words that are fun to say and thrilling to master. Glossary.

  3. Imagine That - Beloved characters Hoot and Olive return in this beautiful picture book about imagination, rainy day adventures, and the spirit of friendship. Olive is a little girl with a big, bright imagination. Hoot is her stuffed-animal owl...and her best friend. The two love adventures of all sorts. But on the rainiest of days, there is only one thing to do: stay inside and imagine a whole new world. Just as they’re about to begin their adventure, Hoot makes a shocking discovery—his imagination is broken! Like the best of best friends, Olive comes up with some ideas to help him. But nothing is working: not the head unscrambler, the earmuffs, or the hypnosis. Just as the two are about to give up, Olive remembers the secret ingredient to imagination, and they give it one more try. Fans of Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin, George and Martha, and Frog and Toad are certain to fall in love with the next adventure in the Hoot & Olive series.

  4. The Little Green Girl - Mr. Aster, who likes routine, is happy to care for Little Green Girl when she arrives in his garden, but not interested in helping her see the world beyond its walls.

Want to see 10 more children's books about friendship and adventure?

How about children's books about adventure?

Books About Friendship and Kindness

Enemy Pie book
#1
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.

Be Kind book
#2
Be Kind
Written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Jen Hill
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

A thoughtful picture book illustrating the power of small acts of kindness, from the award-winning author of Sophie's Squash.

Those Shoes book
#3
Those Shoes
Written by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Noah Z. Jones
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Jeremy, who longs to have the black high tops that everyone at school seems to have but his grandmother cannot afford, is excited when he sees them for sale in a thrift shop and decides to buy them even though they are the wrong size.

Honorable Mentions
  1. What Can a Citizen Do? - A citizen can pick up litter A citizen can pull a weed A citizen can help that critter A citizen can plant a seed A citizen can aid a neighbor A citizen can join a cause A citizen can write a letter A citizen can help change laws . . . Empowering and timeless, What Can a Citizen Do? is the latest collaboration from the acclaimed duo behind the bestselling Her Right Foot: Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris. This is a book for today's youth about what it means to be a citizen. Across the course of several seemingly unrelated but ultimately connected actions by different children, we watch how kids turn a lonely island into a community—and watch a journey from what the world should be to what the world could be. This is a book about what citizenship—good citizenship—means to you, and to us all.

  2. Friends Stick Together - Rupert is a rhinoceros of refined sensibilities. Levi, the new tickbird in class, is not. He burps the alphabet, tells corny jokes, and does really embarrassing air guitar solos. Worse, he lands right on Rupert and is determined to be Rupert’s symbiotic best pal! Rupert wants him gone. But when Levi finally does bug off, Rupert finds the peace and quiet a little boring. It turns out, Rupert could really use a friend like Levi.

  3. The Recess Queen - A fresh & original twist on the common issue of bullying. Kids will relate, & parents & teachers will appreciate the story's deft handling of conflict resolution (which happens w/o adult intervention) Mean Jean was Recess Queen and nobody said any different. Nobody swung until Mean Jean swung. Nobody kicked until Mean Jean kicked. Nobody bounced until Mean Jean bounced. If kids ever crossed her, she'd push 'em and smoosh 'em lollapaloosh 'em, hammer 'em, slammer 'em kitz and kajammer 'em. Until a new kid came to school! With her irrepressible spirit, the new girl dethrones the reigning recess bully by becoming her friend in this infectious playground romp.

  4. But the Bear Came Back - A bear knocks on a door, and a boy tells the bear to go home, but the bear keeps coming back. When the bear finally stops coming back, the boy misses him.

Want to see 12 more children's books about friendship and kindness?

How about children's books about kindness?

Books About Friendship and Sharing

The Snatchabook book
#1
The Snatchabook
Written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Where have all the bedtime stories gone? A delightful addition to the picture book canon about the love of reading One dark, dark night in Burrow Down, a rabbit named Eliza Brown found a book and settled down...when a Snatchabook flew into town. It's bedtime in the woods of Burrow Down, and all the animals are ready for their bedtime story. But books are mysteriously disappearing. Eliza Brown decides to to stay awake and catch the book thief. It turns out to be a little creature called the Snatchabook who has no one to read him a bedtime story. All turns out well when the books are returned and the animals take turns reading bedtime stories to the Snatchabook.

Famously Phoebe book
#2
Famously Phoebe
Written by Lori Alexander and illustrated by Aurelie Blard-Quintard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Phoebe was the shining star of her family. Then someone came along to take her place. For as long as Phoebe can remember, she’s known the clickety click click of a photographer snapping her picture. Thanks to the camera-carrying “paparazzi” (aka Mom and Dad), she’s always been the star of the show . . . until the day a tiny newcomer arrives on set. Will Phoebe learn to share the spotlight and assume the role she was born to play: big sister? This sweet tale of sibling rivalry resolved is perfect for every older brother and sister.

And Away We Go! book
#3
And Away We Go!
Written and illustrated by Migy England
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Mr. Fox is going to the moon! Away he goes in his hot air balloon. . . . But wait! Can Elephant come too? Sure! Let's bring along some pizza. What about Giraffe? And Squirrel? Everyone is welcome in Mr. Fox's balloon, but look out--will everyone fit? In the tradition of classic cumulative tales like Mr. Gumpy's Outing, Migy's And Away We Go! is an unforgettable debut picture book from an exciting new talent.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Love Monster and the Last Chocolate - When Love Monster receives a box of chocolates as a gift, he has second thoughts about sharing them with all of his friends.

  2. Pie Is for Sharing - A picnic, a beach, a pie cut into pieces and shared with good friends. Pie is for sharing. It starts off round, and you can slice it into as many pieces as you want. What else can be shared? A ball, of course. A tree? What about time? Through the course of one memorable Fourth of July picnic, Stephanie Ledyard and Jason Chin take young readers through the ups and downs of sharing in this lovely picture book.

Want to see more children's books about sharing?

Books About Friendship and Family

Three Little Words book
#1
Three Little Words
Written by Clemency Pearce and illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Perfect for Valentine's Day, graduation, birthdays, or anytime a hug is required, this beautiful book lets children know their parents will always be there for them! What are the three little words that make everything better? I Love You! Preschoolers will love snuggling with their families and counting all the ways that the three little words “I love you” can solve most every childhood concern. With warm, cuddly, reassuring illustrations of adorable animal families, this book lets children know that their parents will always be there with lots of hugs and kisses. "Each time the phrase I love you is introduced, Pearce describes it with a different adjective, such as mighty, friendly, or winning, which emphasizes the myriad ways unconditional love can rescue upsetting moments.... The bouncy rhythm makes it fun to read aloud, especially since little ones will easily catch on to the repeated refrain. Great for any time a kiddo needs a boost of confidence."—Booklist

The Trees of the Dancing Goats book
#2
The Trees of the Dancing Goats
Written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Trisha loves the eight days of Hanukkah, when her mother stays home from work, her Babushka makes delicious potato latkes, and her Grampa carves wonderful animals out of wood as gifts for Trisha and her brother. In the middle of her family's preparation for the festival of lights, Trisha visits her closest neighbors, expecting to find them decorating their house for Christmas. Instead they are all bedridden with scarlet fever. Trisha's family is one of the few who has been spared from the epidemic. It is difficult for them to enjoy their Hanukkah feast when they know that their neighbors won't be able to celebrate their holiday. Then Grampa has an inspiration: they will cut down trees, decorate them, and secretly deliver them to the neighbors, "But what can we decorate them with?" Babushka asks. Although it is a sacrifice, Trisha realizes that Grampa's carved animals are the perfect answer. Soon her living room is filled with trees — but that is only the first miracle of many during an incredible holiday season. Based on a long cherished childhood memory, this story celebrates the miracle of true friendship.

Time for a Hug book
#3
Time for a Hug
Written by Phillis Gershator and illustrated by David Walker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A little rabbit receives hugs around the clock.

Honorable Mentions
  1. How Do I Love Thee? - A gorgeous reinvention of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's famous "Sonnet 43" from the bestselling author of the BabyLit board books and the acclaimed illustrator of Over and Under the Snow. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Whether in soft sunlight or rain-drizzled night or winter's frost-etched breath, three children share the love and joy of friendship while exploring the wonders of nature. Bestselling author Jennifer Adams has reimagined Elizabeth Barrett Browning's beloved "Sonnet 43," best known by its opening lines, creating a lyrical, evocative ode to the love of family and friends. Christopher Silas Neal brings the poetry to life with his beautiful, imaginative, and whimsical illustrations.

  2. You and Me, Me and You: Brothers - The beauty of the brotherly bond is on display in this touching tribute to a special sibling relationship. Whimsi-cal illustrations capture the highlights of brotherhood: building sandcastles, flying a kite, making mischief, and cherishing childhood moments together. Bright pops of Pantone orange bestow each illustrated spread with charm, and a cloth spine adds a delightful specialness. At once a sweet picture book for young children and a treasured gift for parents, this heartfelt testament to the inimitable brotherly bond goes straight to the heart

  3. Happy Birthday! - Celebrate a beloved child's birthday with this wonderful guest book from Sesame Street! All the Sesame friends are here to say something very special. With additional space for party guests to sign their name or write a message, families will cherish this keepsake of a memorable day for years to come! Today's your birthday, shout HOORAY! It's your special day today! Shout it high and shout it low. Shout to everyone you know!

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Books About Friendship and Imagination

We Forgot Brock! book
#1
We Forgot Brock!
Written and illustrated by Carter Goodrich
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Phillip and Brock are best friends, although everyone else thinks Brock is imaginary, so when Phillip gets tired out at the Big Fair while Brock is still having fun, they are separated and it will take a very special twosome to bring them back together again.

Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear book
#2
Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear
Written and illustrated by Monica Carnesi
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Beatrice & Bear meet one spring day and become best buddies. They play together through summer and fall. Then winter comes and Beatrice can't find Bear anywhere. She hears he's gone to hibernate -- but where on earth is that? When Beatrice learns that hibernation is not a place and that Bear will be sleeping all winter long, she fears it will be a lonely season...unless she can come up with a brilliant plan. This delightful story of an irrepressible bunny will engage readers on many levels as it celebrates creativity, making the best of circumstances, and the joy of the changing seasons.

Heart and the Bottle book
#3
Heart and the Bottle
Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

There is a wonder and magic to childhood. We don’t realize it at the time, of course . . . yet the adults in our lives do. They encourage us to see things in the stars, to find joy in colors and laughter as we play. But what happens when that special someone who encourages such wonder and magic is no longer around? We can hide, we can place our heart in a bottle and grow up . . . or we can find another special someone who understands the magic. And we can encourage them to see things in the stars, find joy among colors and laughter as they play. Oliver Jeffers delivers a remarkable book, a tale of poignancy and resonance reminiscent of The Giving Tree that will speak to the hearts of children and parents alike.

Honorable Mentions
  1. All about Cats - A hilarious look at what cats get up to when humans aren't around. Contrasting personality traits are put side by side to show how cats - like people - are diverse. The book celebrates positive relationships and the power of the imagination.

  2. Sophie's Squash - "Perfect for the fall season, Sophie's Squash is a delightful story of friendship and imagination." - Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor On a trip to the farmers' market with her parents, Sophie chooses a squash, but instead of letting her mom cook it, she names it Bernice. From then on, Sophie brings Bernice everywhere, despite her parents' gentle warnings that Bernice will begin to rot. As winter nears, Sophie does start to notice changes.... What's a girl to do when the squash she loves is in trouble? The recipient of four starred reviews, an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor, and a Charlotte Zolotow Honor, Sophie's Squash will be a fresh addition to any collection of autumn books.

  3. Polly Diamond and the Super Stunning Spectacular School Fair - Polly and her magic book, Spell, have all kinds of adventures together because whatever Polly writes in Spell comes true! But when Polly and Spell join forces to make the school fair super spectacular, they quickly discover that what you write and what you mean are not always the same. Filled with the familiar details of home and school, but with a sprinkling of magic, this book is just right for fans of Ivy + Bean, Judy Moody, and Dory Fantasmagory, as well for aspiring writers, who, just like Polly, know the magic of stories.

  4. Wolf in the Snow - A girl is lost in a snowstorm. A wolf cub is lost, too. How will they find their way home? Paintings rich with feeling tell this satisfying story of friendship and trust. Here is a book set on a wintry night that will spark imaginations and warm hearts, from Matthew Cordell, author of Trouble Gum and Another Brother.

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Books About Friendship and Making Friends

Spike, the Mixed-up Monster book
#1
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.

How to Win Friends and Influence Creatures book
#2
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.

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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Brimsby's Hats - 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.

  2. Bikes for Sale - 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.

  3. Friends - 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.

  4. Mr. Duck Means Business - 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.

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Books About Friendship and Being Yourself

Just a Duck? book
#1
Just a Duck?
Written and illustrated by Carin Bramsen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Now that Cat has learned to play games that Duck enjoys, it’s Duck’s turn to try things that Cat likes. However, climbing trees and swatting at leaves prove to be a bit tricky for flat-footed Duck. What’s an unlikely pair of friends to do?

Lola Dutch book
#2
Lola Dutch
Written and illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright, Kenneth Wright
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Meet Lola Dutch, a delightfully creative girl who is bursting with grand ideas. From the best ways to serve breakfast -- an elegant feast! -- to the ideal sleeping spot -- a majestic blanket fort, of course! -- Lola is inspired all day long. Her dear companion Bear sometimes says she is just too much, but Lola is rich with imagination and originality, which even Bear will agree is AMAZING.The unstoppable Lola Dutch is about to show you how to make every day grand and full of fun. You'll love her so much! Inspired by their own four gorgeously feisty children, Sarah Jane and Kenneth Wright are thrilled to introduce the unstoppable Lola Dutch and her fresh, fun, commercial, character-driven series.

You Should, You Should! book
#3
You Should, You Should!
Written and illustrated by Ginny Tilby
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Hippo's morning starts off good, until friends say, “You should! You should!” You should prance! You should sing! Wear this hat! Stretch your wing! Though Hippo wants to be a friend, he wonders when the “shoulds” will end. Hippo and friends will soon find out that being yourself is what life's about.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Up and Down - A penguin has wings for a reason . . . doesn’t he? Having a best friend with his own airplane is one thing, but actually experiencing what it feels like to fly by himself? Here is one penguin who believes this is precisely what he needs to feel complete. Only . . . if flying by himself is so wonderful, then why does he feel so empty? Because some experiences are better shared. (And penguins are much happier on the ground.) Oliver Jeffers delivers the perfect companion to his much-loved Lost and Found. Penguins everywhere will take flight in delight.

  2. Sadie and the Silver Shoes - When shoes are the only thing you get to pick out yourself, what happens when you lose one of them? A tale of self-expression and friendship, told with humor and charm. With three older brothers to pass along hand-me-downs, Sadie doesn't have much say in choosing her clothes. Her outfits always look interesting, though (even if some kids at school might not think so). But Sadie is allowed to pick her shoes, so one day she buys the most beautiful shoes ever -- shoes that sparkle in the sun, shoes she wears everywhere. That is, until Sadie and her brothers hop down a creek on an adventure, and one shoe falls off and is swept away. Whatever will Sadie do with one silver shoe? From a winning picture-book team comes a story of creativity, resilience, and like-minded souls that is sure to appeal to independent thinkers everywhere.

  3. Bear and Duck - Debut author-illustrator Katy Hudson brings to life characters Bear and Duck in this hilarious story about a bear who is fed up being a bear and wants to be a duck. Bear is sick and tired of being a bear. Who wants to sleep all winter? His fur feels so hot in the summer. And the bees . . . there are just too many angry bees! Bear is done being a bear. But when he sees a line of happy yellow ducklings, he has a thought. What if he could be a duck? With a few duck lessons from Duck, Bear learns that being a duck is fun; but as it turns out, Bear realizes he makes a really good bear . . . and he makes a really good friend along the way. Young readers will delight in the hilarious relationship between Bear and Duck.

  4. The Very Very Very Long Dog - "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.

Want to see more children's books about being yourself?

Books About Friendship and Bears

Corduroy book
#1
Corduroy
Written and illustrated by Don Freeman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Corduroy was first introduced to readers in 1968, and in the fifty years since, his adventures have never stopped. Corduroy has been on the department store shelf for a long time. Yet as soon as Lisa sees him, she knows that he’s the bear for her. Her mother, though, thinks he’s a little shopworn—he’s even missing a button! Still, Corduroy knows that with a bit of work he can tidy himself up and be just the bear for Lisa. And where better to start than with a nighttime adventure through the department store, searching for a new button! Celebrate 50 years of this irresistible childhood classic, a heartwarming story about a little bear and a little girl finding the friend they have always wanted in each other.

The Bear Who Stared book
#2
The Bear Who Stared
Written and illustrated by Duncan Beedie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

There once was a bear who liked to stare... and stare... and STARE. Bear doesn't mean to be rude, he's just curious but too shy to say anything. But nobody likes being stared at and it soon gets Bear into trouble. Luckily a goggly-eyed frog helps Bear realise that sometimes a smile is all you need to turn a stare into a friendly hello.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Bear's Book - A story about stories, writing, reading, and friendship When Bear's favorite book of stories falls apart, he is determined to write one of his own. He ventures into the forest for inspiration, but writing is harder than he thinks, and he soon discovers that he needs help from his friends. See how Bear transforms their day into a wonderful adventure in this story about creativity and friendship.

  2. Oh, Bear - Bear receives a bright yellow kite for his birthday and flies it until . . . it gets stuck in a tree and rips. Oh, Bear. Lucky for Bear, Bird is busy building a nest and flies his broken kite home, where an even better surprise awaits him. A story about nature, renewal, and friendship—the best gift of all.

  3. Red Knit Cap Girl to the Rescue - 'I hope it's not too far away,' says Red Knit Cap Girl. 'Follow the light of the Moon,' calls Owl. In this heartwarming follow-up to Naoko Stoop's debut Red Knit Cap Girl, Red Knit Cap Girl meets a lost Polar Bear Cub. Determined to help him find his way home, to an Arctic land of ice and snow, Red Knit Cap Girl, White Bunny, and Polar Bear Cub set off on an unforgettable voyage. Gorgeously illustrated on wood grain, Red Knit Cap Girl's curiosity, imagination, and joy will captivate the hearts of readers young and old. Simple prose and luminous pictures will remind readers that even small actions - such as recycling - can help to solve big world problems, in this inspiring story that celebrates friendship, bravery, and the importance of home.

  4. Pine & Boof: Blast Off! - 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.

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Books About Friendship and Love

I Loathe You book
#1
I Loathe You
Written and illustrated by David Slonim
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Unconditional loathing is disguised as monsterly love in this sweetly humorous picture book from acclaimed author-illustrator David Slonim. Just how much does Big Monster loathe Little Monster? Let it count the ways… I loathe you more than tooth decay More than blizzard snow in May More than garbage in a dump More than splinters in my rump No matter what, through thick and thin, I loathe you there and back again! Author and illustrator David Slonim depicts a tender, tongue-in-cheek celebration of a very special kind of loathe…er, love.

Charlotte and the Rock book
#2
Charlotte and the Rock
Written by Stephen W. Martin and illustrated by Samantha Cotterill
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

An unexpected friendship forms between a girl and her pet rock in this charming story that’s perfect for fans of What Pet Should I Get? Charlotte has always really wanted a pet, so when her parents present her with one for her birthday she expects a cat, dog, or maybe a bird. Instead, she receives a rock. Rocks can’t cuddle, fetch, or even help her eat her vegetables, but that doesn’t stop Charlotte from loving her rock as if he were real. If only he could love her back…or can he?

We Are Brothers, We Are Friends book
#3
We Are Brothers, We Are Friends
Written by Alexandra Penfold and illustrated by Eda Kaban
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Being a big brother is a BIG job. There’s lots to show your little brother . . . Trains . . . Planes . . . How to be a dinosaur. There are games to play and adventures to be had. And if trouble comes, it’s big brother to the rescue because there’s no better friend than a brother.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Ten Things I Love About You - Fans of Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie will enjoy Rabbit and Pig’s clever back-and-forth which shows the funny ways friends bounce ideas and feelings off each other. Rabbit just adores his friend Pig. So he is excited to make a list of all the things he loves about Pig. And who better to help him write the list than Pig himself? But Pig is busy, and keeps sending Rabbit away. But no matter what Pig does, Rabbit is inspired to add another thing to his list. When Pig says, “Rabbit, I’m starting to lose my patience!” Rabbit has #6—“I love Pig because he’s not afraid to show his feelings!” Fortunately, Pig’s dwindling patience is rewarded when Rabbit completes his list—and the two realize exactly why they are such good pals.

  2. Two Brothers, One Tail - A sweet and charming picture book about the unending love between a boy and his dog. Two brothers, two hands Two brothers, four paws Two brothers, ten fingers Two brother, ten claws With simple rhyming text by Richard T. Morris and charming illustrations from Jay Fleck, Two Brothers, One Tail is a heart-warming story about a boy and his brother, who just happens to be a dog. Perfect for fans of Bad Dog, Marley and Harry the Dirty Dog!

  3. Bear at the Beach and Other Adventures - In Bear at the Beach & Others Adventures, kids and parents will find a collection of three stories from writer and illustrator Clay Carmichael. The loveable and stuffed Bear is center stage, taking on adventures of the heart at home and afar. In Bear at the Beach, our plush protagonist sets out to find a father who will love him unconditionally, but learns that his little girl, Clara, gives him all the love he needs. In Used-Up Bear, time has left our favorite stuffed toy in dire, threadbare straits. Will Clara throw Bear away in favor of a shiny new toy? The surprising and heart-warming conclusion cements Bear's place in Clara's life. Bear loses Clara in Lonesome Bear, and befriends new toys on his search for his best friend. Full of emotions that young children can relate to, Clay Carmichael's endearing collection is a gentle introduction to reading

  4. Love Is Walking Hand in Hand - A reissue of the classic gift book that defines love through the simple acts and moments of everyday life with Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang. This classic gift book was originally published in 1965 and is being reissued in its original format. Its timeless description of love and friendship is as important now as it was when the book was first published. It is the perfect gift for Valentine's Day or any day that you want to remind someone how much they mean to you.

Want to see 13 more children's books about friendship and love?

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Books About Friendship and Helping Others

Goat's Coat book
#1
Goat's Coat
Written by Tom Percival and illustrated by Christine Pym
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

This charmingly illustrated rhyming picture book about Alfonzo, a goat with a very special coat, celebrates the power of kindness and friendship. Let me tell you the tale of Alfonzo the goat, who was terribly proud of his lovely new coat. Alfonzo was happy; he pranced and he skipped. Then he heard a sad noise, croaking out of a ditch. Alfonzo couldn't be happier. He just got an amazing new coat, and he feels like a million dollars. But when he discovers some creatures in need of help, will Alfonzo be able to give up his treasured possession to save the day? This great big hug of a book shows that kindness is definitely the best recipe. Awards for Tom Percival Herman's Letter--A Kids' Indie Next List Pick

Daddy Honk Honk! book
#2
Daddy Honk Honk!
Written and illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

An arctic fox adopts a baby goose in this heartwarming read-aloud perfect for dads and their little ones When Aput the fox finds an abandoned goose egg, he has no idea what’s in store for him. He doesn’t know anything about babies and he certainly doesn’t know what to do when the gosling hatches and mistakes him for its daddy. So he decides to find the gosling a home. But with each page turn, Aput learns more about caring for a baby and, with a little help from his friends, he discovers what a baby needs most is love.

Come with Me book
#3
Come with Me
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

When the news reports are flooded with tales of hatred and fear, a girl asks her papa what she can do to make the world a better place. “Come with me,” he says. Hand-in-hand, they walk to the subway, tipping their hats to those they meet. The next day, the girl asks her mama what she can do—her mama says, “Come with me,” and together they set out for the grocery, because one person doesn’t represent an entire race or the people of a land. After dinner that night, the little girl asks if she can do something of her own—walk the dog . . . and her parents let her go. “Come with me,” the girl tells the boy across the hall. Walking together, one step at a time, the girl and the boy begin to see that as small and insignificant as their part may seem, it matters to the world. In this lyrical and timely story, author Holly M. McGhee and illustrator Pascal Lemaître champion the power of kindness, bravery, and friendship in the face of uncertainty.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Sheep Who Hatched an Egg - Lola is proud of her amazing wool. After all, everyone on the farm tells her how beautiful she looks. She spends hours brushing her wool to keep it shiny and silky. Until one day when the weather gets hot, and all the sheep have to get haircuts—including Lola! She’s so upset without her wool that she runs away and hides by herself. And when her wool finally grows back, it’s tangled, messy…HORRIBLE! But hiding in Lola’s wool is a wonderful surprise, one that will help her realize that she doesn't have to be pretty or perfect in order to be a friend…or to be extraordinary!

  2. Red Knit Cap Girl and the Reading Tree - 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!

  3. Mira and the Big Story - Mira is a girl with big questions. She knows two different stories about the way the world came to be. Which story is right? Can they both be right? Is there room for more than one way to think about the world and our place in it? Follow her on an inspiring journey as she discovers a story big enough to include everyone. Along the way, Mira learns to respect and revere the traditions and beliefs of others. Teach children kindness and acceptance with this beautifully illustrated and compelling tale. It is sure to keep young ones enthralled.

  4. Pedro's Big Break - When Pedro breaks his arm racing his bike he has to cope with the frustration of wearing a cast for a whole month--but with the help of his friends he discovers that there are still fun things to do.

Want to see more children's books about helping others?

Books About Friendship and Dogs

Floaty book
#1
Floaty
Written and illustrated by John Himmelman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Blah! Mr. Raisin is a bit of a grump. He lives all alone in a little house, and he likes it that way just fine. One day, a mysterious basket appears on Mr. Raisin’s doorstep. When he opens it up, it seems there’s nothing inside . . . until he notices a floating dog bobbing along his ceiling. What follows is a heartwarming, hilarious tale about embracing the unexpected—and finding friendship that takes you to new heights.

My Pillow Keeps Moving! book
#2
My Pillow Keeps Moving!
Written by Laura Gehl and illustrated by Christopher Weyant
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-9

A lonely man tries to buy a pillow . . . and ends up with a new best friend in this silly and sweet doggy tale, perfect for fans of Officer Buckle and Gloria. Dogs make good pillows, don't they? A clever pup ends up in a cozy home, and she'll do anything to stay there. She impersonates everything the lonely homeowner needs--a pillow, a footstool, a jacket. But in the end, being herself works best. Laura Gehl's spare, humorous text and New Yorker cartoonist Christopher Weyant's expressive characters will leave young readers giggling and begging for more.

Monty and the Poodles book
#3
Monty and the Poodles
Written and illustrated by Katie Harnett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Forget Oliver Twist and Annie, Monty the orphan pooch will steal your heart and give you hope for an inclusive world. Forget Oliver Twist and Annie, Monty the orphan pooch will steal your heart and give you hope for an inclusive world! Monty is a scruffy, homeless pooch with a taste for fine art, and Ginger is a poodle who doesn't mind getting her paws a bit dirty. Monty and the poodles long to live together at the warm and cozy Poodle Mansion, but its strict poodles-only policy is rather inconvenient and so these crafty canines decide to create their own home where all are welcome!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Skippyjon Jones in the Doghouse - For another loco adventure. In his room for a time-out, Skippyjon Jones lets his imagination take him to a shack where his Chihuahua friends are yipping and yapping and hiding out from the bad Bobble-ito, who has taken over their doghouse. How El Skippito chills the Chihuahuas and banishes the Bobble-ito will make more amigos for this endearing and irresistible rascal, who made his first appearance in the favorite Skippyjon Jones.

  2. Lenny & Lucy - Peter and his father are moving to a new house beyond the dark unfriendly woods. When they arrive at their new home, Peter wants to turn back. Fortunately, he has Harold for company, but Harold is just a dog and can't help Peter. Scared of the things hidden in the woods, Peter makes a tall pile of pillows. He stiches and sews. He pushes and pulls. And when he is done, he has Lenny, Guardian of the Bridge, to protect him and Harold. Lenny is a good guard but Peter worries that Lenny will get lonely out by the woods all by himself, so he makes Lucy, who is a good friend. Together, Lenny, Lucy, Peter, and Harold discover that this new place isn't so scary after all.

  3. The Other Dog - Reissued in hardcover to coincide with the movie release of A Wrinkle in Time, here is a true tale of dog-meets-baby from Newbery Medal–winning author Madeleine L'Engle! Based on Madeleine L'Engle's own poodle's experience coping with a new baby in the house, this sprightly picture book presents a familiar domestic drama with an utterly charming new twist. Tongue-in-cheek wit, endearing illustrations, and a revealing author's note make this a publishing event to celebrate!

  4. Made for Each Other: Why Dogs and People Are Perfect Partners - Celebrates the bond between humans and their canine companions, discussing scientific insights that demonstrate how sharing one's life with a dog reduces stress, provides companionship, and increases safety.

Want to see more children's books about dogs?

Books About Friendship and Winter

The Storm Whale in Winter book
#1
The Storm Whale in Winter
Written and illustrated by Benji Davies
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In this sequel to The Storm Whale, the boy, Noi, is caught in a storm at sea and his whale friend comes to his rescue. When Noi's dad sails out on one last fishing trip before winter, Noi waits for him at home. But as the storm worsens and his dad does not return, Noi decides to go looking for his dad. But the storm is powerful and dangerous, and soon Noi, too, is stuck in the icy sea. When it seems that all hope is lost, a friend comes to help Noi and his father. Poignant and evocative, this is a beautiful celebration of friendship and family, and the special bond between a father and son.

First Snow book
#2
First Snow
Written by Nancy Viau and illustrated by Talitha Shipman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Snowflakes falling! What a treat! Friends gather outside to celebrate the first snowfall of the season with snowball fights, sledding, building igloos, drinking hot chocolate, and making the most of a windy, wintry day. With rhyming text and cheerful illustrations, this is a charming celebration of the winter season.

Making A Friend book
#3
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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Andy & Sandy and the First Snow - Andy and Sandy play in the snow in this third book of the easy-to-read picture book series about friendship, from Caldecott and Newbery Honoree Tomie dePaola and Emmy Award–winning writer for the Muppets Jim Lewis. When the first big snow of winter hits, Sandy wants to play outside—but Andy isn’t so sure. After all, snow is very wet and very cold! But Sandy drags Andy along to make a snowman, go sledding, and make snow angels. Will Andy discover that snow can be fun—despite being wet and cold? Written in simple words and short, declarative sentences, this book is perfect for little ones just learning to read on their own.

  2. Small Walt and Mo the Tow - Small Walt befriends a tow truck when he comes across a car in need of help in this irresistible companion to Small Walt, which Kirkus Reviews called “charming and endearing” in a starred review. We’re Gus and Walt We plow and we salt We clear the snow so the Cars can go! A bitter blizzard. A snowbound town. When a car skids off the road, Small Walt and Gus might not have what it takes to save the day on their own. But who does? Mo the Tow to the rescue! When we need a tow, We call on Mo… We can depend On our new friend! Text filled with onomatopoeia and Walt’s affirming chants make this story about friendship and accepting help from others a real winner.

Want to see more children's books about winter?

Books About Friendship and Nature

The Snail And the Whale book
#1
The Snail And the Whale
Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When a tiny snail meets a humpback whale, the two travel together to far-off lands. It’s a dream come true for the snail, who has never left home before. But when the whale swims too close to shore, will the snail be able to save her new friend?

Magnolia's Magnificent Map book
#2
Magnolia's Magnificent Map
Written by Lauren Bradshaw and illustrated by Wednesday Kirwan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

?In this second book in the Walnut Animal Society series, following Henry's Bright Idea--Magnolia the Bunny explores the grove with her friends Margaux the Kitty and Chester the Raccoon, looking for that elusive, special place that will complete her map. Deep in the shade of a walnut grove stands a tall tree house. A delightful group of friends gathers here. They call themselves the Walnut Animal Society. Their mission is to create and to always remain curious. The Walnut Animal Society is busy preparing for a very special event. The Society Soiree comes just once a month, when the night is clear and the stars are bright. Tonight it is Magnolia the Bunny's turn to share. Everyone is excited. Everyone but Magnolia, that is. It has taken her months of exploring and sketching and picture-snapping to create her latest map--a map of the walnut grove. There's just one problem. Her map isn't finished. Magnolia's map is missing a spot. Will she finish it in time?

Take a Hike, Miles and Spike! book
#3
Take a Hike, Miles and Spike!
Written and illustrated by Ethan Long, Travis Foster
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Take care, GRIZZLY BEAR! Stay loose, MOOSE! Buh-bye, BUTTERFLY! Join Miles and Spike as they take a hike...and a few provisions, as well, much to the vexation of their fellow forest creatures. Travis Foster and Ethan Long offer a hilarious picture book full of silly rhymes, outdoor adventures, and learning how to get along with others.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark - Mr. Fish wants to help his friend Ms. Clam when she loses her pearl, but though he's fast as a sailfish, as smart as dolphin, and as strong as a shark, Mr. Fish has a secret: he's scared of the dark! Very young children will swim along with Mr. Fish as he journeys deep into the ocean to new and mysterious places. They will discover, as Mr. Fish does, the power of friendship to light the way through the big-big dark.

  2. Kitty Alone - Kitty Alone is the latest in a series of captivating picture books, each based on a beloved songtale from the great American folk music heritage. This beautifully illustrated version sets the song in the Appalachian Mountains and uses a bobcat, called a "woods ghost" by locals, as the title character. Like the other titles in the First Steps in Music series, Kitty Alone includes song history and notation, along with a free download link for the song, sung by Jill Trinka.

  3. Come All You Little Persons - From above earth, from above sky, from below earth, from under water, come all you little persons come exactly as you are. Come little bird person, come little bee person, come little tree person - little persons from all over the world join together to celebrate the dance of life and love in this stunning poem from John Agard. Stunningly illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle, this is a book that both little persons and big persons will treasure and pore over for a lifetime, and is a true poem of our time.

  4. The Blue Pebble - Under a daisy Oli finds a pebble. Everyone he shows it to tells him to throw it away. But Oli just knows he'll find a use for it one day. At last he meets a very sad girl and finds he was right all along. His pebble is special after all.

Want to see more children's books about nature?

Books About Friendship and Animals

Ribbit! book
#1
Ribbit!
Written by Rodrigo Folgueira and illustrated by Poly Bernatene
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

When a pig visits a frog pond, sits on a rock, and says only "Ribbit!", news spreads fast but only the wise old beetle has an explanation.

The Very Long Sleep book
#2
The Very Long Sleep
Written and illustrated by Polly Noakes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Bear, Fox, Chipmunk and Marmot are all very good friends. They think it would be wonderful if they all lived in one grat big house. Beat, Chipmunk and Marmot, however, forgot to tell Fox one small thing which makes for a very lonely winter indeed.

Sweety book
#3
Sweety
Written and illustrated by Andrea Zuill
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Sweety is awkward, even for a naked mole rat, but with encouragement from her Aunt Ruth, she begins to see that being herself is the best way to find a friend.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Wordy Birdy - Wordy Birdy LOVES to talk. “Hello, sunrise. Hello, pink sky. Hello, orange sky!” But does she love to listen? NOPE. One day, while she’s walking through the forest, her gift of the gab gets her into hot water: “That’s a pretty tree and that’s a pretty tree and that’s a pretty danger sign and that’s a pretty tree… .” Will this inattentive bird walk right into danger? Will her faraway thoughts lead her along a path of doom? It’s up to her long-suffering, heard-it-all-before pals Squirrel, Raccoon, and Rabbit to save their distracted friend. Author Tammi Sauer will have kids and their parents in stitches with this funny, fast-paced, lovable caper about the importance of paying attention—and the importance of standing by your friends through thick and thin.

  2. Hey, Dog - A boy cares for, feeds, and helps an abused stray dog to learn to trust humans again.

  3. A Mouse Called Julian - Julian is a mouse who is perfectly happy avoiding other animals. They seem to just get in the way, and sometimes even try to eat him! But one day, Julian has an unexpected dinner guest... When the fox tries to sneak into Julian's burrow for a tasty bite of mouse, it finds itself stuck headfirst in Julian's front door! At first alarmed and wary, they soon find themselves having a lovely dinner together, and it's not long before each realizes that they have found in the other a lifelong friend.

  4. Maybe the Moon - Maybe the Moon tells the story of Eric, a little boy who loves his life in his forest home with his animal friends for company. When he moves to the city, he sets about searching for happiness in a strange new environment. Eric's journey shows him that whatever the differences between people and places, we are all united and are never alone when we share the same moon. Frances Ives' beautiful illustrations bring to life this charming story that features a rhyming refrain to enchant both children and parents alike.

Want to see 15 more children's books about friendship and animals?

How about children's books about animals?

Books About Friendship and Cats

I Am the Boss of This Chair book
#1
I Am the Boss of This Chair
Written by Carolyn Crimi and illustrated by Marisa Morea
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Pom-Pom the kitten threatens to unseat Oswald, a top cat who thinks he's top dog--even to the extent of taking over a favorite chair.

Cat Wishes book
#2
Cat Wishes
Written by Calista Brill and illustrated by Kenard Pak
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

There's no such thing as a wish. Or is there? In this playful fairy tale, ever-skeptical Cat learns that wishes can come true—and not always in the ways we expect. After all, true magic lies in our connections with others, not just in the wishes we make.

I Hate My Cats (A Love Story) book
#3
I Hate My Cats (A Love Story)
Written by Davide Cali and illustrated by Anna Pirolli
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Ginger is the weird one. She plays with peas, purrs at artichokes, and has a strange fondness for chicken (but only the neighbor's chicken). Then there's Fred. His greatest talent? Sleeping. Oh, and hiding. And when he's not hiding, he's conspiring with Ginger to destroy the house! Such is life with cats. . . can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em—if you love them, that is. And yet the question remains: Why are these captivating creatures so marvelously maddening?! From internationally bestselling author Davide Cali, this humorous picture book about a cat owner and his beguiling felines celebrates quirky cat companions, impurrfections and all.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Flubby Will Not Play with That - Flubby, the lovably lazy feline, embarks on his next non-adventure! When Kami brings home a bag full of toys for Flubby, the uninterested cat isn't enthusiastic about the choices. A wind-up mouse? No thanks. A fish hanging from a stick? Yawn. But after Flubby rejects each offering, one unexpected option may be the best fit for Flubby after all. The charming illustrations, simple text, and comic-like panels by J. E. Morris, author-illustrator of the Maud the Koala books, make this a unique format with a narrative style perfect for storytime and progressing readers.

  2. Luis and Tabitha - Luis is an alley cat who has everything figured out . . . until he meets Tabitha, a beautiful indoor cat. Separated by a tragic glass door, Luis will do anything to be with Tabitha--even brave the dangers of a fire. With adorable illustrations and undeniable style, Luis and Tabitha is the story of two star-crossed kitties who prove that true love conquers all.

Want to see more children's books about cats?

Epilogue

14 books that are just too good to leave off of our friendship list.

  1. Wilfred - When Wilfred, a big, hairy, and lonesome giant, enters a town full of tiny bald people, he finds only one friend but that proves to be enough when the other townspeople trick him out of his warm hair.

  2. Library Lion - When a lion comes to the library one day, no one is sure what to do. There are no rules about lions in the library. When something terrible happens, the lion quickly comes to the rescue in the only way he knows how.

  3. The Girl and the Bicycle - A wordless picture book in which a girl sees a bicycle she wants to buy, works hard for a kindly neighbor to earn the money for it, then gets a pleasant surprise.

  4. The Bear and the Piano - One day, a bear cub finds something strange and wonderful in the forest. When he touches the keys, they make a horrible noise. Yet he is drawn back again and again. Eventually, he learns to play beautiful sounds, delighting his woodland friends. Then the bear is invited to share his sounds with new friends in the city. He longs to explore the world beyond his home, and to play bigger and better than before. But he knows that if he leaves, the other bears will be very sad . . . This gorgeously illustrated tale of following one’s dreams reminds us of the value of friendship, wherever we go.

  1. Hector and Hummingbird - In the mountains of Peru, friends Hector the bear and Hummingbird the hummingbird spend most of their time together, doing the same things, and Hector has had just about enough of it--or has he? Includes a list of animals hidden in the illustrations.

  2. You Are Special - Every day the small wooden people called Wemmicks do the same thing: stick either gold stars or gray dots on one another. The pretty ones―those with smooth wood and fine paint―always get stars. The talented ones do, too. Others, though, who can do little or who have chipped paint, get ugly gray dots. Like Punchinello. In this heartwarming children's tale from best-selling author Max Lucado, Eli the woodcarver helps Punchinello understand how special he is―no matter what other Wemmicks may think. It's a vital message for children everywhere: that regardless of how the world evaluates them, God cherishes each of them, just as they are. This tale originally appeared within one of the chapters in the award-winning children's bestseller Tell Me the Secrets.

  3. Circle - 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.

  4. Growing Season - El and Jo are the smallest students in class--and best friends, too. But in springtime, something BIG happens: Jo starts growing like a weed . . . and El doesn't. When their teacher asks every child to pick a plant to care for over the summer, poor El ends up with a tiny, flowerless aster. But slowly, the aster blooms--and so does El! A sweet picture book about the joys and challenges of growing up.

  1. Triangle - Meet Triangle. He is going to play a sneaky trick on his friend, Square. Or so Triangle thinks. . . . With this first tale in a new trilogy, partners in crime Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen will have readers wondering just who they can trust in a richly imagined world of shapes. Visually stunning and full of wry humor, here is a perfectly paced treat that could come only from the minds of two of today’s most irreverent — and talented — picture book creators.

  2. Super Hair-o and the Barber of Doom - Every super hero gets his powers from somewhere. The young hero of this book, Rocco, thinks his abilities come from his shock of red hair, and the longer it gets, the stronger he becomes. He even has a posse of super friends with wild hair of their own. Our hero is unstoppable--until the day he's dragged to the super evil villain's lair and robbed of his powers. How will he face his friends? Will he ever regain his super hero-ness? A girl who has been watching all along offers the gang a chance to save the day and get their groove back. With bold images that burst with energy from white backgrounds and narration as earnest as Superman himself, SUPER HAIR-O AND THE BARBER OF DOOM is a feel-good and funny book for emergent comic book fans and parents who grew up on them.

  3. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel - A modern classic that no child should miss. Since it was first published in 1939, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel has delighted generations of children. Mike and his trusty steam shovel, Mary Anne, dig deep canals for boats to travel through, cut mountain passes for trains, and hollow out cellars for city skyscrapers -- the very symbol of industrial America. But with progress come new machines, and soon the inseparable duo are out of work. Mike believes that Mary Anne can dig as much in a day as one hundred men can dig in a week, and the two have one last chance to prove it and save Mary Anne from the scrap heap. What happens next in the small town of Popperville is a testament to their friendship, and to old-fashioned hard work and ingenuity.

  4. Have You Seen Elephant? - "Elephant wants to play hide and seek. You can play too, but you'll have to try your best, he's very good!"--Back cover.

  1. Hiding Heidi - A beautiful and enchanting story by exciting new talent Fiona Woodcock, about a little girl with an amazing gift for concealing herself. Meet Heidi—if you can find her, that is! Heidi is the best at hiding: in school, at the playground, or in the park. Heidi’s friends know how much she loves hiding, so they always let her play and win. But Heidi learns the importance of sharing the limelight with other people when being too good at hiding makes her miss all the other fun her friends are having—and how much more fun it can be when you appreciate what your friends are good at too! She learns Freddie is great at bouncing on hippity-hops, Katie is sensational at roller-skating, and Lizzie is incredible at climbing. Heidi then realizes that she has fun doing the activities her friends like, even if she isn't the best.

  2. Sam & Dave Dig a Hole - 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.

Did you enjoy our friendship book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!

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