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.
When it comes to children’s stories about loneliness, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Copy Cat 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.
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.
Celebrated artist and lead character designer of Brave, Ratatouille, and Despicable Me, Carter Goodrich, shows that sometimes, even the prickliest people—or the crankiest cacti—need a little love. Hank is the prickliest cactus in the entire world. He sits in a pot in a window that faces the empty desert, which is just how he likes it. So, when all manner of creatures—from tumbleweed to lizard to owl—come to disturb his peace, Hank is annoyed. He doesn’t like noise, he doesn’t like rowdiness, and definitely does not like hugs. But the thing is, no one is offering one. Who would want to hug a plant so mean? Hank is beginning to discover that being alone can be, well, lonely. So he comes up with a plan to get the one thing he thought he would never need: a hug from a friend.
A message in a bottle holds the promise of surprise and wonder, as told in this enthralling picture book by Caldecott Medalist Erin E. Stead
The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles, who lives alone atop a hill, has a job of the utmost importance. It is his task to open any bottles found at sea and make sure that the messages are delivered. He loves his job, though he has always wished that, someday, one of the letters would be addressed to him. One day he opens a party invitation—but there’s no name attached. As he devotes himself to the mystery of the intended recipient, he ends up finding something even more special: the possibility of new friends.
Funny, relatable sibling dynamics make this story a wonderful way to address navigating big changes. Lori Nichols’s expressive artwork beautifully portrays Maple and Willow’s strong bond, and children will love the creative, kid-powered solution.
Maple and Willow have always been inseparable. So what happens when Maple starts big-girl school and Willow stays behind? Well, of course, both girls have marvelous adventures of their own, but the truth is, they miss each other. And when they see that the missing is mutual, they find a unique way to feel connected even when they have to be apart.
Every day, in a house by the sea, a little boy watches his father leave for work. One night, a storm washes a small whale onto the beach. The boy discovers the whale is a good listener, and the father discovers the boy is lonely. Together, they return the whale to the sea, and the boy realizes his father can be a good listener, too. Full color.
The Rough Patch - Evan and his dog do everything together. They play and read and eat. But mostly you will find them tending to Evan’s extraordinary garden, where flowers and other good things flourish and reach for the sky. But friends don’t always stay forever, and when Evan loses his, he destroys the place that meant the most to them, and creates something to match his mood. Something ugly and twisted, sad and stubborn, ragged and rough—and he likes it that way. Until one day . . . New York Times–bestselling author Brian Lies has created a breathtakingly beautiful and luminescent book about loss and grief, love and hope, and the healing power of friendship, curiosity, and nature.
Nerdy Birdy - Nerdy Birdy likes reading, video games, and reading about video games, which immediately disqualifies him for membership in the cool crowd. One thing is clear: being a nerdy birdy is a lonely lifestyle. When he’s at his lowest point, Nerdy Birdy meets a flock just like him. He has friends and discovers that there are far more nerdy birdies than cool birdies in the sky.
Teacup - A boy must leave his home and find another. He brings with him a teacup full of earth from the place where he grew up, and sets off to sea. Some days, the journey is peaceful, and the skies are cloudless and bright. Some days, storms threaten to overturn his boat. And some days, the smallest amount of hope grows into something glorious. At last, the boy finds land, but it doesn’t feel complete . . . until another traveler joins him, bearing the seed to build a new home. With lyrical text and gorgeous artwork, this poignant picture book is perfect for discussing all of life’s toughest challenges—a big move, a divorce, long-distance separation, or even the current refugee crisis—in a way that’s reassuring and inspiring for children and adults alike.
Little Cub - A darling companion to Old Bear and His Cub from the New York Times bestselling creator of the Gossie books What’s an Old Bear to do when he finds a Little Cub all alone and afraid of the dark? Adopt him, of course! And help him try to get over his fears. In this book we see the father and son from Old Bear and His Cub meet for the first time—and grow to love one another. With the same bold art and humorous twist on parenting, Olivier Dunrea’s tumbling bears will melt your heart and show how strong the bond is between any father and son pair. Praise for LITTLE CUB *”Readers will treasure the bears’ gingerly give-and-take—watching them serendipitously become a family of two is a joy to behold.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review *”Dunrea packs a huge amount of emotion into his limited text and engaging art. A delight for fans of these characters and a lovely next step for children ready to move beyond the ‘Gossie and Friends’ series.” —School Library Journal, starred review
From beloved author Katherine Rundell comes a clever, funny, and poignant picture book about a lonely little boy who wishes not to be alone on Christmas. A young boy’s Christmas Eve wish on a shooting star leads to an adventure with an ever-hungry rocking horse, an angel whose wings are molting, a robin who has forgotten how to sing, and a rusting tin drummer boy in Katherine Rundell’s classic Christmas story, with Emily Sutton’s gorgeous paintings.
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.
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.
Meet Findus—the adorable, clever little cat—and Pettson—the loving forgetful farmer—in this charming series of illustrated storybooks filled with humor and heart. Old man Pettson is lonely until his neighbor brings him a box that reads: “Findus Green Peas.” But when Pettson opens the box he doesn’t see peas . . . he sees a tiny kitten. Pettson’s lonely days are over and he talks like he’s never talked before—and soon Findus himself is talking. What a cat he has! But when the house is suddenly quiet and empty, Pettson knows something is wrong—Findus is missing!
Pixar’s blockbuster UP meets Coraline in this atmospheric and emotional story.Niles lives alone in a big house full of dust and memories of the people he’s lost.Then one day, the boy from next door asks Niles to look after his plant. Reluctantly, Niles takes the pot of dirt. Can he remember how to care for something?As the flower grows, Niles realizes how empty and lonely his house is and begins to care for the plant, his house and himself. By the time the little boy returns the flower has bloomed into a beautiful poppy and Niles, and his house, are filled with hope again.This feel-good picture book from bestselling Swedish children’s author Martin Widmark and award-winning illustrator Emilia Dzuibak digs deep.
Finn's Feather - Finn runs to show his mother the feather left for him by his brother Hamish, who is now an angel, but she only gives him a big hug. In school, Finn’s teacher responds similarly. Why isn’t anyone as excited as he is? Finn sits quietly, cradling the beautiful, amazing feather. “Why did Hamish give it to you?” asks his friend. “Maybe he wanted to say hi?” wonders Finn. “Maybe,” his friend replies, mischief sparkling in his eyes, “Hamish wanted you to have fun with it.” Finn’s Feather, beautifully illustrated by Zoey Abbot, is a story of love, loss, memory, and presence. It was written by Rachel Nobel following the loss of her son in 2012. This marks the author’s and illustrator’s debut into the world of picture books.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cat was small and Dog was big, and whatever Dog did, Cat did too… Dog is fed up with Cat copying everything she does. But when Cat stays away, Dog discovers she is lonely without him. A charming story about friendship, sharing and play.
When I'm Feeling Lonely - The Feelings Series are beautifully produced picture books that cover different emotional concepts for young children. These fully refreshed editions of the classic The Feeling series are especially designed to help children better understand their feelings and how to identify, manage and express those feelings in an appropriate and acceptable way - both to themselves and others. These books provide an invaluable tool to help build confidence, self-esteem and contribute to a healthy emotional foundation upon which children can thrive.
Adelaide's Secret World - With a poetic story and lush paintings, Elise Hurst conveys how a bit of bravery, empathy, and imagination can transform our lives. Adelaide lives in a city filled with people and wonders, but she is lonely. She is a watcher, and she sees others like her: the quiet ones, those who dance and dream alone. In a chance encounter, Adelaide meets someone who just might be a kindred spirit—and is so startled and shy she runs away! But then she gathers her courage and uses all her ingenuity to make sure that they—and all the other lonely ones—meet and connect and share their dreams.
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.
After a young boy’s beloved pet passes away, he encounters an adorable stray dog on the beach. The boy tries to walk away and ignore the cuddly creature, but the puppy continues to follow him, undeterred. Though the boy is still dealing with the pain of his loss and feels afraid to care about a new pet again, as the two walk the sand together, the boy slowly opens himself up to the joy of having a new dog in his life and making peace with the past. New York Times bestselling Amy Hest and Amy Bates, the beloved team who created The Dog Who Belonged to No One, have created a touching story about new beginnings and how friendship and love have the power to heal.
Wednesday is a whale who lives in a fishbowl smack dab in the middle of a city—it’s the only home she’s ever known. Cars whizz around her and people hurry past; even the sun and moon circle above. But if she leaps high enough out of her bowl, Wednesday can see it: a calm bit of blue off in the distance. When a girl in a paisley dress tells Wednesday “You belong in the sea,” the whale starts to wonder, what is the sea? Readers will cheer—and get all choked up— when, one day, Wednesday leaps higher than ever before and sets in motion a breathtaking chain of events that will carry her to her rightful home. Touching, and ultimately uplifting, here is a story about a lonely creature longing to be free—and longing to find someone just like her.
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.
Everyone knows that chameleons are the best at fitting in. But Leon is an exception. Leon is neon! In fact, he’s so bright that he keeps all the other chameleons awake at night. Poor Leon is lonely, so he goes off in search of somewhere he won’t be a nuisance. In this delightful interactive book filled with vibrant neon artwork, children can help Leon on his journey by counting his steps, sending him to sleep, and giving him lots of reassurance when he’s feeling down. But will he ever find a place where he can fit in?