Best Children's Books About Loneliness

35 Children's Books About Loneliness

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
To the Sea book
#1
To the Sea
Written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

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.

Little Cub book
#2
Little Cub
Written and illustrated by Olivier Dunrea
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A young bear cub, who is alone in the world, and Old Bear, who is grumpy and tired of living alone, meet and discover what they have been missing. By the best-selling creator of the Gossie and Gertie books.

Nerdy Birdy book
#3
Nerdy Birdy
Written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Matt Davies
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Brimsby's Hats book
#4
Brimsby's Hats
Written and illustrated by Andrew Prahin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Teacup book
#5
Teacup
Written by Rebecca Young and illustrated by Matt Ottley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Copy Cat book
#6
Copy Cat
Written and illustrated by Mark Birchall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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.

My Little Half-moon book
#7
My Little Half-moon
Written by Douglas Todd Jennerich and illustrated by Kate Berube
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

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.

Maple and Willow Apart book
#8
Maple and Willow Apart
Written and illustrated by Lori Nichols
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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.

Andrew Henry's Meadow book
#9
Andrew Henry's Meadow
Written and illustrated by Doris Burn
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

A classic reissued for a new generation Andrew Henry has two younger brothers, who are always together, and two older sisters, who are always together. But Andrew Henry is in the middle–and he’s always with himself. He doesn’t mind this very much, because he’s an inventor. But when Andrew Henry’s family doesn’t appreciate him or his inventions, he decides it’s time to run away. Many children in the neighborhood feel the same way and follow him to his meadow, where he builds each of his friends a unique house of their very own. But in town the families miss their children and do everything they can to find them. And the kids realize that it feels a little lonely out in the meadow without their parents. Just as relevant today as it was in 1967, this is a heart-warming story about children who want to feel special and appreciated for who they are. With a new jacket and expanded trim size, Andrew Henry is ready to enchant the next generation of kids.

If This Were a Story book
#10
If This Were a Story
Written by Beth Turley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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.

Adelaide's Secret World book
#11
Adelaide's Secret World
Written and illustrated by Elise Hurst
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

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.

Neon Leon book
#12
Neon Leon
Written by Jane Clarke and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

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?

Whale in a Fishbowl book
#13
Whale in a Fishbowl
Written by Troy Howell and illustrated by Richard Jones
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Nooks & Crannies book
#14
Nooks & Crannies
Written by Jessica Lawson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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.

Findus Disappears! book
#15
Findus Disappears!
Written and illustrated by Sven Nordqvist
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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!

Bubble book
#16
Bubble
Written and illustrated by Stewart Foster
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-10

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.

Little Robot Alone book
#17
Little Robot Alone
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Little Robot’s life is peaceful—yet maybe it’s a little too peaceful. But wait! He has an idea. With a little hard work, perseverance, and resourceful thinking, can Little Robot build his way to the perfect cure for loneliness?

One Christmas Wish book
#18
One Christmas Wish
Written by Katherine Rundell and illustrated by Emily Sutton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

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.

The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole book
#19
The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole
Written by Michelle Cuevas
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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.

Little Brown book
#20
Little Brown
Written and illustrated by Marla Frazee
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-8

A grumpy and lonely little dog at the dog park decides to take matters into his own paws in this silly, simple, and sublime picture book from the award-winning author and illustrator of The Boss Baby! Little Brown is one cranky canine because no one ever plays with him at the dog park. Or maybe no one ever plays with him because he is cranky. Either way, Little Brown decides today is the day to take action, so he takes all of the toys and sticks and blankets from all of the dogs at the park and won’t give them back. But what will happen now?

The Storm Whale book
#21
The Storm Whale
Written and illustrated by Benji Davies
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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 Disappearing Boy book
#22
The Disappearing Boy
Written and illustrated by Sonia Tilson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Thirteen-year-old Neil MacLeod feels like a fish out of water: he’s trying to adjust to life in a new city, and his mother still refuses to tell him the truth about the father he’s never met. When he uncovers a shocking secret and the truth about his unconventional family sinks in, Neil decides to run away, all the way to his grandfather’s horse farm on the east coast. A sensitive and moving story about growing up, The Disappearing Boy teaches us that every family is different, and love is never as simple as it seems.

Full of Empty book
#23
Full of Empty
Written by Priscilla Myers, Tim J Myers and illustrated by Rebecca Sorge
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

The Lonely Shadow book
#24
The Lonely Shadow
Written and illustrated by Clay Rice
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Someone Else's Shoes book
#25
Someone Else's Shoes
Written and illustrated by Ellen Wittlinger
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

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.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.