Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to loneliness. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about loneliness.
Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.
When it comes to children’s stories about loneliness, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like The Fix-It Friends: Three’s a Crowd to popular sellers like Nooks & Crannies to some of our favorite hidden gems like The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles.
We hope this list of kids books about loneliness can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.
Ollie and Augustus - In a sweet story full of visual humor, first-day-of-school worries take on a new weight when Ollie’s best (and furriest) friend must stay at home. Ollie was small — like a pickling jar or a shoe box.
Augustus was big — like a fridge or a table.
Ollie and his dog, Augustus, do almost everything together: painting, riding bikes, digging (Ollie’s favorite), and collecting sticks (Augustus’s favorite). So as Ollie is getting ready to start school, he’s a little worried. Won’t Augustus be lonely during the day? Ollie has just the idea: a sign that reads Wanted: Friend for Augustus. But good friends, as it turns out, are hard to find. Luckily, Ollie and Augustus aren’t just any kind of friends — they’re best friends, and nothing will ever change that. Endearingly illustrated with scratch-scratchy appeal, this is a tale for animal lovers and new school-goers alike.
Trevor - Jim Averbeck’s and Amy Hevron’s illustrated Trevor is the charming, simple tale of an unlikely friendship between a lonely caged canary and the lemon that hangs from the tree outside his window…
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.
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.
Want to see books about making friends?
My Little Half-moon - A determined child goes the extra mile to try to cheer the lonely half moon Have you ever looked up at the half-moon hiding in the night sky and thought it looked just the littlest bit lonely without its other half? Imagine . . . having no one to glow with no one to play with no one to share how much you like puppies and big, fuzzy bears. If you’re like this determined young child, you might stay up every night to keep the moon company. Maybe if you share your treats and toys and stories, you’ll cheer him up. But the moon is very shy, so it might take some time. Still, if you’re very very patient, you just might make a new friend.
The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole - A girl’s friendship with a lonely black hole leads her to face her own sadness in this original, funny, and touching middle grade novel for fans of Crenshaw and Flora & Ulysses. When eleven-year-old Stella Rodriguez shows up at NASA to request that her recording be included in Carl Sagan’s Golden Record, something unexpected happens: A black hole follows her home, and sets out to live in her house as a pet. The black hole swallows everything he touches, which is challenging to say the least—but also turns out to be a convenient way to get rid of those items that Stella doesn’t want around. Soon the ugly sweaters her aunt has made for her all disappear within the black hole, as does the smelly class hamster she’s taking care of, and most important, all the reminders of her dead father that are just too painful to have around. It’s not until Stella, her younger brother, Cosmo, the family puppy, and even the bathroom tub all get swallowed up by the black hole that Stella comes to realize she has been letting her own grief consume her. And that’s not the only thing she realizes as she attempts to get back home. This is an astonishingly original and funny adventure with a great big heart.
If This Were a Story - In the tradition of Crenshaw and The Thing About Jellyfish, ten-year-old Hannah copes with the bullies at school and troubles at home through the power of stories in this sweet and sincere debut. Tenacious. That means strong-willed. My mother calls me that. I wish I felt the same way. If this were a story, I would discover I was a direct descendent of a famous soldier who won countless battles and protected hundreds of people. This resilience running through my veins wouldn’t be damaged by the notes; it would fight off bullies and prevent my parents from yelling at each other. But this is not a story. This is real life. My life as ten-year-old Hannah Geller, who is the only girl in fifth grade to have little red bumps on her face, is unable to let the sad thoughts escape her mind, and leaves heads-up pennies wherever she can to spread good luck. And who also finds magic in the most unlikely of places.
Rosie And Rasmus - Two kindred spirits—a lonely young girl and a solitary young dragon—find each other and discover the power and magic of friendship in this sweetly simple picture book. Every day, Rosie waits and watches as children play together, laugh and share stories, hoping she can join in the fun and make a new friend. But every day her wish never comes true. Every day, Rasmus sits in his tree and waits and watches as birds dance in the sky, wishing he could fly just like them. But every day his wish never comes true. Then one day, Rosie and Rasmus meet and girl and dragon are lonely no more. They become the best of friends, playing together, laughing, sharing stories…and Rosie even helps Rasmus learn to fly! But when Rasmus finds his wings, he knows he must also find his fate. Two best friends say goodbye, as Rasmus flies away. But then…a lonely girl watches and waits as children play together, laugh and share stories, hoping she can join in the fun and make a new friend. And today, when Rosie brings her a flower, she does. Serena Geddess’s enchanting tale is sure to make readers believe in the transformative power of love, friendship, and faith.
Want to see books about imagination and play?
Nooks & Crannies - Eleven-year-old Tabitha Crum, whose parents were just about to abandon her, is invited to the country estate of a wealthy countess along with five other children and told that one of them will become her heir.
Someone Else's Shoes - Twelve-year-old Izzy’s life just seems to get more and more complicated: she is upset by her father’s new marriage, and a new baby on the way; she is expected to look out for her ten-year-old cousin, Oliver, who has moved in with her family since his mother committed suicide, because his father is depressed and having trouble coping; and now Ben, the rebellious sixteen-year-old son of Izzy’s mother’s boyfriend, is also living with them—but when Oliver’s father disappears, the three children put aside their differences and set out to find him.
The Lonely Shadow - Award winning author/illustrator Clay Rice has created a beautifully poetic tale about a boy’s shadow who has lost his boy and goes in search for him. “I have no you, you have no me, you and me we have no we, but if I find you and you find me, happy we will always be.” The Lonely Shadow sings a universal song. Clay Rice brings the shadow to life and allows us to take a journey with him in search of something, someone who connects with him. It’s a story of longing, a story of discovery, a story of friendship.
Goldfish Ghost - Goldfish Ghost was born on the surface of the water in the bowl on a dresser in a boy’s room. The boy’s room was pleasant and familiar, but Goldfish Ghost wanted company, so he set out to find a friend. He floats over the neighborhood, past the pier, and let the breeze carry him into town where he discovers that not many people pay attention to goldfish ghosts. Off he floats, searching for the perfect home and the perfect friend and then he hears a voice. . .Bestselling author Lemony Snicket and illustrator Lisa Brown brings us a fresh and funny take on what happens after your favorite goldfish crosses over to the other side.
Bubble - Wonder meets Mark Haddon in the poignant and uplifting debut novel about superheroes, super-nurses, and the beauty you can find in hope. Eleven-year-old Joe has never had a life outside of the hospital, with its beeping machines and view of London’s rooftops. His condition means he’s not allowed outside, not even for a moment, and his few visitors risk bringing life-threatening germs inside his bubble. Then a new nurse offers Joe the possibility of going outside. But Joe doesn’t know if the nurse is serious—or whether he could survive the adventure. Bubble is the touching story of how Joe spends his days, copes with his loneliness and frustration, and looks—with superhero-style bravery, curiosity, and hope—to a future without limits.
Bronze and Sunflower - A beautifully written, timeless tale by Cao Wenxuan, best-selling Chinese author and 2016 recipient of the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award. Sunflower is an only child, and when her father is sent to the rural Cadre School, she has to go with him. Her father is an established artist from the city and finds his new life of physical labor and endless meetings exhausting. Sunflower is lonely and longs to play with the local children in the village across the river. When her father tragically drowns, Sunflower is taken in by the poorest family in the village, a family with a son named Bronze. Until Sunflower joins his family, Bronze was an only child, too, and hasn’t spoken a word since he was traumatized by a terrible fire. Bronze and Sunflower become inseparable, understanding each other as only the closest friends can. Translated from Mandarin, the story meanders gracefully through the challenges that face the family, creating a timeless story of the trials of poverty and the power of love and loyalty to overcome hardship.
Love, Mama - With a heartwarming story and tender illustrations, Jeanette Bradley’s debut picture book is perfect for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and any day when a child needs a reminder of the strength of a mother’s love.
Full of Empty - Princess Claire’s smile has flown away like a bird—and now she feels “full of empty.” But there’s a way to bring that smile back . . . if only . . . Every child gets bored or lonely—and this warm-hearted story teaches parents and children that a parent’s time and full attention are the best remedy. Full of Empty reminds parents that playing with their children is an important form of love. From award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Tim J. Myers, this beautifully illustrated book will bring home the power of quality time.
Want to see books about family?
A Tiger Called Tomás - A new edition of the timeless classic by celebrated children’s author, Charlotte Zolotow, featuring Spanish words and phrases! When Tomás and his family moved to a new house on a new street, he took it into his head that the new people might not like him. “Of course they’d like you,” his mamá said. “Why wouldn’t they? ¿Por qué no? “ But Tomás didn’t answer. Tomás’s Mom encourages him to go out and meet the kids in his neighborhood, but Tomas is too shy. Instead, he sits on his stoop, watching the world go by. But on the night of Halloween, opportunity arrives in the form of a tiger costume, complete with a mask that hides his identity. He can go trick-or-treating without anyone knowing it’s him. But Tomás will soon discover his costume doesn’t hide him quite as well as he thinks…
Child of Glass - A story about difference, exclusion, and ultimately self-acceptance, Child of Glass explores the interplay between inner and outer and the journey we have to go on to become ourselves. Child of Glass is about Gisele, a fragile, strong, transparent girl who denounces the meanness that can mark life in the world. In sparse, poetic language that all of us, however young or old, can understand, Child of Glass reminds us of our birthright to become ourselves. Freedom isn’t about accepting what is; it’s about asking the questions and taking the actions that allow us to be at home in the world. Beautifully illustrated in a painterly, drawn, and collaged style, this is a story of layers, textures, and transparencies in every sense. It is also a book that explores the possibilities of form to render idea, thereby providing connective tissue between the world of the book and life in the world. “To draw is to tell. Everyone who feels emotion has something to tell. Emotions keep on changing, growing, as children do. My drawings and stories change with them.” So says Beatrice Alemagna, who was born in Bologna, Italy, in 1973. Alemagna has written and illustrated dozens of children’s books, which have received numerous awards all over the world and have been translated into fourteen languages. She has also had solo exhibitions in France, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Sweden, and Japan. Alemagna’s The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy is also published by Enchanted Lion.
Want to see books about self-esteem?