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Making Friends: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about making friends?

We all need friends! Friends never stop being important, but they can have an especially big impact on us when we’re growing up. These stories help our little readers learn about how to make friends, how to choose good friends, and maybe most importantly, how to be a good friend.

Top 10 Books About Making Friends

#1
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The Secret Garden
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle
A fun classic filled with adventure and friendship. A story of a young girl who finds herself feeling alone, as many of our young readers will. However, through The Secret Gardner, readers can experience the fun of branching out and trying new things, and the friends that come along the way.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.
#2
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To the Sea
Written & 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.
#3
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Blue Chameleon
Written & illustrated by Emily Gravett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Chameleon can turn himself into anything and appear to fit in anywhere, but it seems that neither the swirly snail, the green grasshopper nor the striped sock want to be friends. Will he ever find someone to talk to? Someone just like him? With a subtle and witty interplay between words and illustrations this introduction to colors and shapes (and chameleons!) is sure to delight kids of all ages.
#4
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Enemy Pie
Written by Derek Munson & illustrated by Tara Calahan King
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
If there's one sure way to get rid of an enemy, it's to turn them into a friend! The dad's sage advice and gentle steering allow a little boy to learn just that all on his own.
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.
#5
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Spike, the Mixed-up Monster
Written by Susan Hood & illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle
This cute monster has to figure out how to navigate through the adventure of making friends. Very fun!
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.
#6
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Ruff!: And the Wonderfully Amazing Busy Day
Written & illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle
A fun story all about friends and teamwork! This is a story that can really help get everyone excited to work with friends to accomplish any task, big or small. Ruff is sure to exemplify the qualities of making friends by being a friend.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Meet Ruff the Dog, star of the picture book Ruff! And the Wonderfully Amazing Busy Day. He’s an adorable new animal character created by bestselling illustrator Caroline Jayne Church. What Ruff wants most is to make some friends. He accidentally digs up the house of a little grey mouse named Hubble. By the time Ruff helps Hubble make a new home, he has a friend. Then he and Hubble decide to help Lottie, a duck who has also lost her home. And soon Ruff has a second friend! Caroline Jayne Chruch’s full-color illustrations bring all the animals in her charming story to life.
#7
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Andi Unexpected
Written by Amanda Flower
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This story shows how grief is manifested in different ways, but how the two sisters and their guardian bonded together and strengthened one another in their difficult times. I also loved that the mystery was about Andi's family history and linked to the great depression, both of which are great topics for readers to learn about. I loved following along in their sleuthing and detective efforts to figure out the answer to their mystery. :)
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
The first in a new middle-grade mystery series, in Andi Unexpected, twelve-year-old Andi Boggs, discovers evidence of her forgotten namesake, a missing relative, which leads her into a family mystery rooted in the Great Depression.
#8
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The Invisible Boy
Written by Trudy Ludwig & illustrated by Patrice Barton
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
The book is gorgeously and emotionally illustrated, letting the colors speak to the emotions of Brian —the invisible boy— in this story. A powerful reminder that bullying takes many forms and that one person and one act of kindness can truly make a difference, even if they're the only one.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
A simple act of kindness can transform an invisible boy into a friend... Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine. From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource.
#9
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A Unicorn Named Sparkle
Written & illustrated by Amy Young
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
When Lucy sees an ad in the newspaper for a unicorn, she sends in her twenty-five cents and waits four to six long weeks for her very own unicorn to arrive. She imagines the flowers that she'll braid into his beautiful pink mane, and she even picks the perfect name for him: Sparkle. But when Sparkle arrives, his ears are too long, his horn is too short, he smells funny—and oh, he has fleas. Lucy isn't pleased, but in the end she warms up to Sparkle and realizes that even though he wasn't exactly the unicorn she wanted, he might be just the one she needs.
#10
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Reptile Club, The
Written by Maureen Fergus & illustrated by Elina Ellis
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle
The Reptile Club is a fun story about unexpected friendship. It's a tale that reminds us to not overlook people (or animals!) that may not have seemed like friend material originally.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
There are lots of clubs for Rory to join at his new school, but none seem quite right for him. So when his parents suggest he start his own club about something he loves, Rory knows exactly what it will be: a Reptile Club! He's positive that there are other kids out there who share his passion. He sets up his first meeting and then waits and waits for students to show up. Just as he is about to give up, Rory hears whispering in the hallway and hurries over to see who it is. To his astonishment, it's not his schoolmates who have arrived to attend the first meeting, but a crocodile, an anaconda and a gecko!
Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Making Friends and...

Books About Making Friends and Loneliness

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To the Sea
Written & 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.
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Caspian Finds a Friend
Written by Jacqueline Véissid & illustrated by Merrilees Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Caspian lives in a lighthouse surrounded by a cold gray-blue sea. Every day, he watches, wishing for a friend. But no one comes. So, Caspian decides that wishing is not enough. What follows is an imaginative journey that will inspire readers to reach out to others and remind us all that the power to change our world lies within ourselves.
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Trevor
Written by Jim Averbeck & illustrated by Amy Hevron
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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...
Honorable Mentions
Friends book
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Brimsby's Hats book
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Big Wolf & Little Wolf book
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Adelaide's Secret World book
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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Big Wolf & Little Wolf - Big Wolf lives alone under a tree at the top of a hill. He is alone, but happy. One day, another wolf arrives: a little wolf. Without a word, Little Wolf sits down next to Big Wolf. He stays all night and all the next day. At first, Big Wolf is suspicious and worried that Little Wolf will grow bigger and become a rival. After a while, however, he starts to feel fond of his small companion. That night, he decides to let Little Wolf share his blanket. The next day, he shares some of his lunch. Just as Big Wolf is starting to get used to his new friend, Little Wolf disappears. Big Wolf is too proud to cry, but the reader cannot miss the great emotion that overwhelms him. Big Wolf loses his appetite and cannot sleep. He spends his time staring at the horizon, waiting for Little Wolf to return, but without the slightest reason to hope that he will. Will Little Wolf return? If he does, Big Wolf’s heart might just burst with joy. Could this be the beginning of a beautiful friendship? Big Wolf & Little Wolf was named a Batchelder Honor Book in 2010.

  4. 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.

Want to see books about loneliness?

Books About Making Friends and Individuality

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Reptile Club, The
Written by Maureen Fergus & illustrated by Elina Ellis
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle
The Reptile Club is a fun story about unexpected friendship. It's a tale that reminds us to not overlook people (or animals!) that may not have seemed like friend material originally.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
There are lots of clubs for Rory to join at his new school, but none seem quite right for him. So when his parents suggest he start his own club about something he loves, Rory knows exactly what it will be: a Reptile Club! He's positive that there are other kids out there who share his passion. He sets up his first meeting and then waits and waits for students to show up. Just as he is about to give up, Rory hears whispering in the hallway and hurries over to see who it is. To his astonishment, it's not his schoolmates who have arrived to attend the first meeting, but a crocodile, an anaconda and a gecko!
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Maurice the Unbeastly
Written by Amy Dixon & illustrated by Karl James Mountford
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
No ordinary beast, Maurice is neat, polite, photogenic, and his roar is delightful to the ear, which leads his parents to enroll him at the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts, where he realizes he has a few things he can teach his fellow beasts.
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Sadie and the Silver Shoes
Written by Jane Godwin & illustrated by Anna Walker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
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.
Honorable Mentions
Chamelia and the New Kid in Class book
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My Cousin Momo book
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  1. Chamelia and the New Kid in Class - Lemony Snickers -

    Chamelia and the New Kid in Class is a cute story about learning to overcome jealousy. Chamelia is alarmed when she loses attention she is used to receiving because of a new student in her class. She learns an important lesson--that putting others down to make herself look better doesn't feel good. It's a valuable and important lesson for children to learn. In the end, Chamelia is able to make her wrong right and make a new friend at the same time.

  2. My Cousin Momo - Momo is coming to visit, and his cousins are SO excited! But even though Momo is a flying squirrel, he won’t fly for his cousin’s friends. Plus, his games are weird. He can’t even play hide and seek right! But when Momo’s cousins give his strange ways a chance, they realize that doing things differently can be fun…almost as much fun as making a new friend.

Books About Making Friends and Disabilities

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The Secret Garden
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle
A fun classic filled with adventure and friendship. A story of a young girl who finds herself feeling alone, as many of our young readers will. However, through The Secret Gardner, readers can experience the fun of branching out and trying new things, and the friends that come along the way.
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.
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Florence & Leon
Written by Simon Boulerice & illustrated by Delphie Côté-Lacroix
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Florence and Leon have never met. Florence is a swimming instructor. She has a small problem with her lungs: it’s as if she’s breathing through a straw. Leon is an insurance salesman. He has a small problem with his eyes: it’s as if he’s seeing the world through a straw. One day Florence and Leon bump into each other, literally, and this mishap turns their lives upside down. Over slushy drinks with proper straws, Florence and Leon find out how their differences make them alike.
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Max and the Millions
Written by Ross Montgomery
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
In the vein of The Borrowers and The Indian in the Cupboard, this is an imaginative, irresistible, and incredible exploration into what happens when one boy discovers a kingdom of tiny people. The day before summer vacation, Max's closest friend at boarding school disappears, leaving behind his amazing model collection and a handful of sand on his bedroom floor. Like Max, the eccentric janitor Mr. Darrow is a genius at building tiny models. Eight weeks later, Max finds that the sand has magically transformed into a whole desert kingdom--filled with millions of tiny people! Max wears hearing aids, and they allow him to hear the ant-sized people. There's a boy named Luke who's about to become king. But when Max appears, he plunges their world into chaos. Luckily, Luke has two strong allies: Ivy, a fearless girl, and Luke's trusty steed--a flea. While Max and his new friend Sasha fight to protect the Floor from their evil headmaster, Luke must fight to save it from being destroyed by all-out war.
Honorable Mentions
The Boy with Big, Big Feelings book
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A Friend for Henry book
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Polly and Her Duck Costume book
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Ninita's Big World book
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  1. The Boy with Big, Big Feelings - Meet a boy with feelings so big that they glow from his cheeks, spill out of his eyes, and jump up and down on his chest. When a loud truck drives by, he cries. When he hears a joke, he bursts with joy. When his loved ones are having a hard day, he feels their emotions as if they were his own. The boy tries to cope by stuffing down his feelings, but with a little help and artistic inspiration, the boy realizes his feelings are something to be celebrated. Written by debut picture book author Britney Winn Lee and boldly illustrated by Jacob Souva, The Boy with Big, Big Feelings is relatable for any child, but especially for children experiencing anxiety and extreme emotions, or who have been diagnosed with autism or as a Highly Sensitive Person.

  2. A Friend for Henry - 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.

  3. Polly and Her Duck Costume - Polly and Her Duck Costume tells the true story of Polly, a little blind goat who was rescued by Leanne Lauricella, rescuer of farmyard animals and founder of the immensely popular Instagram account The Goats of Anarchy. Polly has some trouble adapting to her new life until her new mom gives her a warm and fuzzy duck costume, which turns out to be the perfect fit! Follow along with Polly as she finds love with her new family, gains confidence, and makes new friends. The perfect tale to inspire and delight animal lovers, Polly and Her Duck Costume pairs beautiful illustrations with a truly heartwarming tale readers of all ages will adore.

  4. Ninita's Big World - “The heart-tugging true story of how YouTube star Ninita—a deaf, orphaned pygmy marmoset (the smallest type of monkey)—found family, friendship, and a forever home! Illustrated in full color. Ninita is the only known deaf pygmy marmoset in the world, but that doesn’t stop her from making friends and chasing her next adventure! Abandoned by her parents and rescued by the RSCF, this tiny, curious monkey loves exploring her habitat. And when she meets Mr. Big—another pygmy marmoset—she has finally found a friend who likes to eat, climb, and play as much as she does. A YouTube celebrity, Ninita’s videos have been viewed nearly 2 million times! “

Books About Making Friends and Bullying

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The Invisible Boy
Written by Trudy Ludwig & illustrated by Patrice Barton
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
The book is gorgeously and emotionally illustrated, letting the colors speak to the emotions of Brian —the invisible boy— in this story. A powerful reminder that bullying takes many forms and that one person and one act of kindness can truly make a difference, even if they're the only one.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
A simple act of kindness can transform an invisible boy into a friend... Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine. From esteemed author and speaker Trudy Ludwig and acclaimed illustrator Patrice Barton, this gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource.
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The Big Stink
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7
Something smells terrible in Miss Winkle's classroom, and no one knows what it is! When the class bully picks on the new boy, saying he's the smelly one, Pedro steps in and stands up for his new friend. But the class still needs to know where that stench is coming from! Like all Pedro books, the story is supported with a glossary and reader response questions, making this a fun and functional choice for libraries.
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Two Speckled Eggs
Written & illustrated by Jennifer K Mann
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Reluctantly inviting the class misfit to her birthday party, Ginger bonds with Lyla when the latter arrives early, supports her party choices and gives her a unique gift, an encounter that compels Ginger to reconsider earlier notions.
Honorable Mentions
All of Me book
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Cupcake Diaries 3 Books in 1! #4 book
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Floss the Playground Boss book
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The Real Us book
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  1. All of Me - Ari has body-image issues. After a move across the country, his parents work selling and promoting his mother’s paintings and sculptures. Ari’s bohemian mother needs space to create, and his father is gone for long stretches of time on “sales” trips. Meanwhile, Ari makes new friends: Pick, the gamer; the artsy Jorge, and the troubled Lisa. He is also relentlessly bullied because he’s overweight, but he can’t tell his parents—they’re simply not around enough to listen. After an upsetting incident, Ari’s mom suggests he go on a diet, and she gives him a book to help. But the book—and the diet—can’t fix everything. As Ari faces the demise of his parents’ marriage, he also feels himself changing, both emotionally and physically. Here is a much-needed story about accepting the imperfect in oneself and in life.

  2. Cupcake Diaries 3 Books in 1! #4 - Three Cupcake Club adventures are now available as one sweet treat of a book! Join Katie, Mia, Emma, and Alexis as they form the Cupcake Club—and fast friendships. This book includes three stories in the Cupcake Diaries series: Mia’s Boiling Point; Emma, Smile and Say “Cupcake!”; and Alexis Gets Frosted.

  3. Floss the Playground Boss - Floss says STOP, Floss says GO! Floss says YES, Floss says NO! Floss is the playground boss! That is, until a new boy named Peter moves into the house on the opposite side of the playground from Floss. When Peter decides he doesn’t want to play along with Floss’ rules, she learns that having friends can be much more fun than being the playground boss. Corrinne Averiss’ high-energy storytelling is perfectly paired with Sam Usher’s classic Quentin Blake-esque artwork in this fun-packed playground story.

  4. The Real Us - Laura Corbett and Damian White are loners, and not by choice. Kids make fun of smart, sarcastic Laura for her weight and artistic Damian for his tendency to sweat through his shirts. Calista Getz, however-well, everyone agrees that Calista is the prettiest girl in the whole school. Maybe even the whole state . Let’s just say that she sits at the popular lunch table. Laura and Damian don’t. But when Calista wakes up just before the school dance with the BIGGEST pimple she has EVER seen right in the middle of her face, and her attempts to hide it backfire spectacularly, Laura and Damian are the only ones who don’t ignore her. In fact, they seem to see not only past her pimple, but past her popularity, too. Together, they’ll challenge the school’s status quo in this hilarious, heartfelt novel.

Books About Making Friends and Mythical Creatures

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A Unicorn Named Sparkle
Written & illustrated by Amy Young
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
When Lucy sees an ad in the newspaper for a unicorn, she sends in her twenty-five cents and waits four to six long weeks for her very own unicorn to arrive. She imagines the flowers that she'll braid into his beautiful pink mane, and she even picks the perfect name for him: Sparkle. But when Sparkle arrives, his ears are too long, his horn is too short, he smells funny—and oh, he has fleas. Lucy isn't pleased, but in the end she warms up to Sparkle and realizes that even though he wasn't exactly the unicorn she wanted, he might be just the one she needs.
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Elwood Bigfoot
Written by Jill Esbaum
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Elwood Bigfoot is big, LOUD . . . and lonely. It's hard for him to make friends especially with the tiny birdies whose chirps and cheerful songs help him feel less alone. But whenever a hopeful Elwood hollers at a birdie to STAY, the scared creature flies away. Will Elwood "ever" find a way to befriend the birdies?"
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Dear Yeti
Written & illustrated by James Kwan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
A sweet and whimsical story of a perfect kid-sized winter adventure, Dear Yeti is the debut picture book of an author/illustrator to watch. Two young hikers set out to look for Yeti one day, and with the help of a bird friend, they trek further and further into the woods, sending letters to coax the shy creature out of hiding. But as their trip goes on, the hikers find that they have not prepared very well, and though their morale is high, food supplies are low, the forest is getting darker, and a snowstorm looms. Luckily Yeti is a friend they can rely on, and though he's not ready to come out of hiding, he sneakily finds a way to get the hikers exactly what they need when they need it.
Honorable Mentions
A Campfire Tale book
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Big Foot and Little Foot (Book #1) book
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  1. A Campfire Tale - “Ever been stuck with a friend who’s totally uncool—and worried that it will rub off on you? Welcome to Camp Wildwood! It’s Dragon’s first day, and his buddy would LIKE to show him a good time. But Dragon doesn’t seem to fit in with the boys and girls. He overturns the boat, ruins the puppet show, and even sets the tent on fire. Then, just as his buddy is about to give up, Dragon comes through in a pinch. This sweet, funny picture book teaches an important lesson about the true meaning of friendship—and in accepting the strengths and weaknesses of others.”

  2. Big Foot and Little Foot (Book #1) - Hugo is a young Sasquatch who longs for adventure. Boone is young boy who longs to see a Sasquatch. When their worlds collide, they become the unlikeliest pair of best friends. At the Academy for Curious Squidges, Hugo learns all manner of Sneaking—after all, the most important part of being a Sasquatch is staying hidden from humans. But Hugo dreams of roaming free in the Big Wide World rather than staying cooped up in caves. When he has an unexpected run-in with a young human boy, Hugo seizes the opportunity for a grand adventure. Soon, the two team up to search high and low for mythical beasts, like Ogopogos and Snoot-Nosed Gints. Through discovering these new creatures, together, Big Foot and Little Foot explore the ins and outs of each other’s very different worlds but learn that, deep down, maybe they’re not so different after all.

Books About Making Friends and Monsters

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Spike, the Mixed-up Monster
Written by Susan Hood & illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle
This cute monster has to figure out how to navigate through the adventure of making friends. Very fun!
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.
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I Will Fight Monsters for You
Written by Santi Balmes & illustrated by Lyona
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
What if an entire world of MONSTERS lived underneath your floor? Martina is having trouble sleeping because she is afraid monsters might break through the floor and bring her into the monster world where she’ll have to learn how to scare humans. Meanwhile, Anitram, a little girl monster, is also having trouble sleeping. There’s a noisy little human jumping on the bed in the upside-down world under her floor! Martina and Anitram have more in common than they realize and when a mysterious hole opens up in the floor between their worlds, they are in for a big surprise! A beautiful and clever tale that makes a perfect bedtime story for anyone who is afraid of (or wants to become friends with) a monster!
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Monster Trouble
Written by Lane Fredrickson & illustrated by Michael Robertson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Nothing frightens Winifred Schnitzel—but she DOES need her sleep, and the neighborhood monsters WON'T let her be! Every night they sneak in, growling and belching and making a ruckus. Winifred constructs clever traps, but nothing stops these crafty creatures. What's a girl to do? (Hint: Monsters HATE kisses!) The delightfully sweet ending will have every kid—and little monster—begging for an encore.
Honorable Mentions
The Legend of the Howling Werewolf book
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I Just Ate My Friend book
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  1. The Legend of the Howling Werewolf - The Aldens are visiting a small town known for its harvest festival. The town is beautiful in the fall, but rumors of the harvest moon and a werewolf are keeping people away. Can the Aldens get to the bottom of who—or what—is causing such a stir?

  2. I Just Ate My Friend - A little creature is looking for a new friend, but he’s not having any luck. Why is he looking for a new friend, you ask? Because he ate his old one! Heidi McKinnon delivers a hilariously macabre story with colorful illustrations and a satisfying, dry wit.

Want to see books about monsters?

Books About Making Friends and Sports And Recreation

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The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!
Written & illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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?
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New Kid
Written & illustrated by Jerry Craft
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft. Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade. As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds—and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?
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Lottie & Walter
Written & illustrated by Anna Walker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
An original, compelling, and visually stunning treatment of a common childhood predicament: overcoming a fear of the water. Lottie goes to swim lessons every Saturday, but she never gets in the water. That’s because she is convinced there is a shark in the pool, a shark that wants to eat her and only her. But then Walter appears. Walter likes singing and reading books and bubble baths, and his favorite food is fish sticks, just like Lottie. When Saturday rolls around again, Lottie is no more ready to jump in the pool than she was before. Or is she? Sometimes it just takes a special friend to find the courage that was inside you all along.
Honorable Mentions
Hooray! My Butt Left the Bench! book
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Skateboard Sibby book
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Bikes for Sale book
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Bunjitsu Bunny Jumps to the Moon book
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  1. Hooray! My Butt Left the Bench! - In this winning addition to the easy-to-read bestselling series, Hank has to hustle to prove he can be his basketball team’s secret weapon! For two years running, Hank’s school has beaten their arch rivals at the annual second grade basketball game. When his friends try out, Hank is determined to play, too. There’s just one problem: Hank is terrible at basketball. Luckily Dr. Dunk (AKA Hank’s dad) and Hank’s friends have his back. With a little help, Hank just might be what the team needs to win their first three-peat in PS 87 history! This bestselling series written by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver is perfect for the transitional reader. With a unique, easy-to-read font, endless humor, and characters every kid would want to be friends with, any story with Hank is a slam dunk! From the Trade Paperback edition.

  2. Skateboard Sibby - Super skateboarder Sibby Henry won’t let the loss of her board defeat her. Eleven-year-old Sibby Henry liked her old life. Now she’s living in a new town with her nan and pops, and mad at her dad for messing everything up. On her first day of school, she sees a dope skateboard park, but she’s lost her precious board. To make things worse, Freddie, a super skater and a super jerk, dominates the park. Sibby tries to stay chill, but when Freddie gets in the face of her only new friend, Charlie Parker Drysdale, things get too hot for chill. Never one to back down, Sibby accepts when Freddie challenges her to a competition on the half pipe. She won’t let anything stop her from proving herself.

  3. 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.

  4. Bunjitsu Bunny Jumps to the Moon - Isabel is the best bunjitsu artist in her class. She can throw farther, kick higher, and hit harder than anybunny else. But her strongest weapon is her mind! This third Bunjitsu Bunny book follows Isabel as she makes friends, faces her fears, and more!

Books About Making Friends and Kindness

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Enemy Pie
Written by Derek Munson & illustrated by Tara Calahan King
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
If there's one sure way to get rid of an enemy, it's to turn them into a friend! The dad's sage advice and gentle steering allow a little boy to learn just that all on his own.
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.
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Ways to Welcome
Written by Linda Ashman & illustrated by Joey Chou
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
**_Ways to Welcomes_ is a sweet, timely picture book from writer Linda Ashman and illustrator Joey Chou about kindness and connection, ideal for schools and classrooms.** _A welcome can be warm_ _Or cold,_ _Shy and quiet,_ _Big and bold._ _An offering,_ _A smiling face,_ _That lights an unfamiliar place._ _There’s lots of ways to show we care_ _and welcome friends from everywhere!_ When everyone knows they’re welcome, the world is a better place―and you might just make a new friend. This sweet, timeless picture book about small acts of kindness in a big world is one that kids and parents are sure to reach for again and again.
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The Boy and the Giant
Written & illustrated by David Litchfield
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
There is a Secret Giant in Gableview who has hands the size of tabletops, legs as long as drainpipes, and feet as big as rowing boats. But little Billy thinks the Giant is just a tall tale that his grandad likes to tell. According to Grandad, the Giant keeps the bears away when they go camping and rescues Billy's favorite kite when it gets tangled up in the tallest tree. Grandad swears the Giant is real, but Billy's not buying it. Why has he never seen the giant before? Why does the Giant stay hidden? Grandad knows why: People are afraid of things that look different. When Billy suddenly finds himself face-to-face with the Giant, he runs away in fear--and hurts the Giant's feelings. But now he's got an opportunity to make it up to him, and, just maybe, to be friends with the nicest guy in town.
Honorable Mentions
Mustache Baby Meets His Match book
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Rosa Plays Cars book
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Henry and Boo book
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  1. Mustache Baby Meets His Match - When Baby Javier comes for a playdate, Baby Billy, a.k.a. Mustache Baby, feels the need to show him a thing or two, seeing how Javier’s new to town—and also sports an impressive beard. What ensues is a hilarious test of wills and facial hair, as each baby sets out to prove his manliness. It seems Mustache Baby may have truly met his match . . . but one-upmanship isn’t the point of a playdate, is it?

  2. Rosa Plays Cars - Let’s find out which toys Rosa and her friends are playing with today! An important series that celebrates inclusivity, promotes gender equality and embraces the uniqueness of every child.

  3. Henry and Boo - A charming story about friendship, tolerance, and unexpected consequences, with a compelling refrain that all readers will want to join.

Books About Making Friends and Dogs

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Ruff!: And the Wonderfully Amazing Busy Day
Written & illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle
A fun story all about friends and teamwork! This is a story that can really help get everyone excited to work with friends to accomplish any task, big or small. Ruff is sure to exemplify the qualities of making friends by being a friend.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Meet Ruff the Dog, star of the picture book Ruff! And the Wonderfully Amazing Busy Day. He’s an adorable new animal character created by bestselling illustrator Caroline Jayne Church. What Ruff wants most is to make some friends. He accidentally digs up the house of a little grey mouse named Hubble. By the time Ruff helps Hubble make a new home, he has a friend. Then he and Hubble decide to help Lottie, a duck who has also lost her home. And soon Ruff has a second friend! Caroline Jayne Chruch’s full-color illustrations bring all the animals in her charming story to life.
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The Three Little Pugs
Written & illustrated by Nina Victor Crittenden
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Gordy, Jilly, and Zoie love to race, chase, and play pug-of-war. But most of all, they love snoozing in their big, cozy basket. Then one day just before their morning nap, the big bad cat decides to make himself at home in the pugs’ beloved basket! Will the pugs figure out how to keep him away before they get too sleepy?
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Ollie and Augustus
Written & illustrated by Gabriel Evans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
<b>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.</b> <p/><i>Ollie was small -- like a pickling jar or a shoe box.<br>Augustus was big -- like a fridge or a table.<br></i> <p/>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 <i>Wanted: Friend for Augustus</i>. But good friends, as it turns out, are hard to find. Luckily, Ollie and Augustus aren't just any kind of friends -- they're <i>best</i> 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.
Honorable Mentions
The Great Shelby Holmes book
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The Doghouse book
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The Very Very Very Long Dog book
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See You in the Cosmos book
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  1. The Great Shelby Holmes - Sherlock Holmes gets a fun, sweet twist with two irresistible young heroes and black & white illustrations throughout, in this middle grade debut from internationally bestselling YA author Elizabeth Eulberg. Shelby Holmes is not your average sixth grader. She’s nine years old, barely four feet tall, and the best detective her Harlem neighborhood has ever seen—always using logic and a bit of pluck (which yes, some might call “bossiness”) to solve the toughest crimes. When eleven-year-old John Watson moves downstairs, Shelby finds something that’s eluded her up till now: a friend. The easy-going John isn’t sure of what to make of Shelby, but he soon finds himself her most-trusted (read: only) partner in a dog-napping case that’ll take both their talents to crack.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. See You in the Cosmos - 11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan—named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare him for the secrets he’ll uncover—from the truth about his long-dead dad to the fact that, for a kid with a troubled mom and a mostly not-around brother, he has way more family than he ever knew.

Want to see books about dogs?

Books About Making Friends and Cats

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Hey, Duck!
Written & illustrated by Carin Bramsen
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Carin Bramsen's Duck and Cat make their board book debut! A small little duckling is trying to befriend another duck, but what if that "duck" . . . is actually a cat? Toddlers will love this quack-tastic story about fun and friendship.
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Papillon: The Very Fluffy Kitty
Written & illustrated by A.N. Kang
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6
Papillon is a very fluffy kitty. So fluffy that he's lighter than air! His owner tries to weigh him down, but Papillon just wants to fly. One particularly sunny day, he floats right out the window! Exploring the wide world is exhilarating, but it's also a little scary. Will his new friend, a bird, be able to help him find his way home? Whimsical art and airy text come together seamlessly in this delightful debut by A. N. Kang.
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Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1!
Written by Paul DuBois Jacobs and Jennifer Swender & illustrated by Stephanie Laberis
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10
The first three novels in the Animal Inn chapter book series, where the fur—and fun—flies at an animal spa and hotel, are now available together in a fur-tastic paperback edition! The Animal Inn is an all-inclusive pet resort and spa for animals from dogs to rabbits, cats to ducks, parrots to lizards. From doggie and kitty daycare, to grooming, and group play—you name it, and the Animal Inn has it. The Inn is run by the Tyler family along with their pets Leopold, the Macaw; Fuzzy and Furry, the gerbils; dogs Dash and Coco; felines Shadow and Whiskers; and a rollicking horde of animal visitors. In A Furry Fiasco, when the animals hear that a new boarder—a Komodo Dragon—will be coming to the Inn, they panic! Will it gobble them all up and then devour their family? In Treasure Hunt, the animals are convinced a pirate with a glittering treasure is visiting the Animal Inn. Will the animals have to walk the plank in order to survive? Arghhh! And in The Bow-Wow Bus, Cassie Tyler’s first grade class takes a field trip to Animal Inn for a meet and greet. And it’s a furry good time for all—even for the newest kid in class, a goldfish named Blub.
Honorable Mentions
I am a Kitten book
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That's Not How You Do It! book
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Lola Gets a Cat book
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Cody and the Fountain of Happiness book
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  1. I am a Kitten - The beloved board book I am a Kitten is back—fully reillustrated and ready to be embraced by a new generation of children. Join Kate, a curious kitten, as she plays with her brothers and sisters, explores the garden, makes new friends, and more! With simple text and colorful illustrations, this sweet story about a day in the life of a kitten will be popular with very young children.

  2. That's Not How You Do It! - Lucy knows how to do everything. All her friends ask her for help if they need to know the right way to do something. When Toshi arrives, Lucy thinks he can’t do anything properly at all. She can barely hide her frustration. When she finally tries to teach Toshi the right way to do things, she learns a very important lesson herself.

  3. Lola Gets a Cat - Lola would like a cat, but first she must learn how to care for it. When the time comes, Lola is allowed to pick out her new friend at an animal shelter. With patience and care, her kitten settles in at home. Full color.

  4. Cody and the Fountain of Happiness - Middle-grade readers drawn to Judy Moody or Clementine will find a funny and charismatic companion in Cody, star of this delightful new series. For whimsical Cody, many things are beautiful, especially ants who say hello by rubbing feelers. But nothing is as beautiful as the first day of summer vacation, and Cody doesn’t want to waste one minute of it. Meanwhile, teenage brother Wyatt is moping over a girl, Mom is stressed about her new job as Head of Shoes, Dad is off hauling chairs in his long-distance truck, and even camp has been closed for the summer. What to do? Just when all seems lost, Cody bumps into a neighborhood boy named Spencer who is looking for a runaway cat. With a new friend and a soon-to-be-found cat, Cody is on her way to the fountain of happiness.

Want to see books about cats?

Books About Making Friends and Helping Others

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The Fix-It Friends: Three's a Crowd
Written by Nicole C. Kear & illustrated by Tracy Dockray
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
Because no one likes to feel left out. Friends are like sprinkles on a birthday cake—you can never have too many! So when a new girl named Margot joins the class, Veronica and her BFF, Cora, welcome her with open arms. Everything about Margot is super exciting— from her fashion designer mom to the perfect French she speaks—and everyone loves her. Especially Cora. Before long, Cora and Margot have matching outfits and rhyming nicknames. Veronica feels left out, big time, but she won’t give up on her best friend without a fight. Trouble is, the harder she tries to hold on to Cora, the more she pushes her away—until the two besties end up in a showdown that hurts more than just feelings. It’s a job for the Fix-It Friends, to be sure. But can the president of the problem-solvers accept help herself?
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Samson in the Snow
Written & illustrated by Philip C. Stead
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
One sunny day Samson, a large and friendly woolly mammoth, encounters a little red bird who is looking for yellow flowers for her mouse friend (whose favorite color is yellow). As she flies off with the flowers, Samson wonders what it must be like to have a friend. He wonders this for so long, in fact, that he falls asleep and wakes up to a world covered in snow. In the midst of a blizzard, Samson finds and shelters the little red bird and flower-loving mouse in a tender tale of kindness and unexpected friendship.
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Everybody Needs a Buddy
Written by Ellen Jackson & illustrated by Maddie Frost
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Everybody needs a buddy, whether clean or green or muddy! Everybody needs a friend, true and blue who’s not pretend. If a baby’s on the ground, elephants will gather round. Trying hard to help him stand, friendly trunks can lend a hand. This charming board book about friendship highlights the ways animals care for each other! Sweet, silly, and all true, these friendships are described in ways that children will understand. With perfect rhyming text from Ellen Jackson and bright illustrations from Maddie Frost, it’s very clear: everybody needs a buddy!
Honorable Mentions
Snail Crossing book
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The Biggest Pumpkin Ever book
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The Sea Pony book
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The Only Thing Worse Than Witches book
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  1. Snail Crossing - In a book that is as cheerful and charming as Snail himself, Corey Tabor tells a winning tale of slow but steady Snail, whose determination and kindness bring him the best reward of all: friendship. When Snail spies a plump, crisp cabbage across the road, nothing will stop him—not a speeding car or even a hungry crow. But then kindhearted Snail stops to help a crew of antsy ants in a rainstorm, and he loses his way. It looks like he will never get his treat—until Snail’s new friends come up with an ingenious idea. . . .

  2. The Biggest Pumpkin Ever - Two mice, a village mouse and a field mouse, unwittingly care for the same pumpkin and have different plans for it until they finally meet.

  3. The Sea Pony - Grace works to save her beloved sea ponies from the evil Lady Cavendish in this sixth book in the adorable Secret Rescuers series. Grace loves the beautiful sea ponies that live in the warm, clear waters around her village. So when she finds out that cruel Lady Cavendish is sailing out to catch the ponies, Grace needs her new friends, Maya and Sophy, to help her save them. But will their rescue plan work? And will Grace ever be able to talk to her favorite sea pony?

  4. The Only Thing Worse Than Witches - Eleven-year-old Rupert cannot resist applying to an advertisement for a witch’s apprentice but quickly finds himself over his head with the young witch-in-training who desperately needs his help.

Books About Making Friends and Bunnies And Rabbits

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When the World Is Full of Friends
Written by Gillian Shields & illustrated by Anna Currey
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
When the world is full of friends, the fun and laughter never ends. Albert, Tom, Flossie, and Pipkin love to play. And while they have fun inventing games together, their biggest wish is to have friends to share them with. One day, something magical happens. A family of squirrels moves in across the stream! They could be the perfect friends--but how will they cross the stream? With a little help from Father Rabbit, Albert, Tom, Flossie, and Pipkin will discover just how wonderful it is when the world is full of friends. This touching story from the revered team behind When the World Is Ready for Bed and When the World Was Waiting for You will warm the hearts of readers young and old.
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Pip and Posy: The New Friend
Written by Nosy Crow & illustrated by Axel Scheffler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Pip and Posy are having a lovely day at the beach, collecting shells and digging in the sand. But when Posy takes a nap, Pip makes a new friend named Zac. Zac is very cool: he has lots of fun toys and he’s really good at handstands. When Posy wakes up, she finds that Pip is more interested in playing with Zac than with her. A funny and dramatic story about discovering that two’s company and three’s a . . . PARTY!
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Ogilvy
Written by Deborah Underwood & illustrated by T. L. McBeth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
The clothes don't make the bunny in this new picture book from New York Times-bestselling author Deborah Underwood, illustrated by T. L. McBeth. When Ogilvy moves to a new town, the possibilities feel endless. There are so many new bunny friends and fun things to do together! But in this town, bunnies in dresses play ball and knit socks, and bunnies in sweaters make art and climb rocks. Ogilvy wants to do everything—and won't let a sweater or a dress get in the way.
Honorable Mentions
Bunjitsu Bunny vs. Bunjitsu Bunny book
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The Trail of the Ghost Bunny book
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Do Unto Otters book
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It's Not Yours, It's Mine! book
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  1. Bunjitsu Bunny vs. Bunjitsu Bunny - The further adventures of Isabel the Bunjitsu Bunny, packed with action and Zen-inspired wisdom—a fun chapter book with two color illustrations throughout Isabel is the best bunjitsu artist in her class. She can throw farther, kick higher, and hit harder than anybunny else. But her strongest weapon is her mind. Bunjitsu Bunny vs. Bunjitsu Bunny, the fourth book in this series by John Himmelman, follows Isabel as she makes friends, faces her fears, and fights her toughest opponent yet—herself! Read the whole Bunjitsu Bunny series: Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny Bunjitsu Bunny’s Best Move Bunjitsu Bunny Jumps to the Moon Bunjitsu Bunny vs. Bunjitsu Bunny Praise for Bunjitsu Bunny Jumps to the Moon: “Isabel does a good job of approaching every challenge with spunk and determination, and manages to do the right things under the circumstances. . . . As part of the Bunjitsu Bunny series, this book is appropriate for children who are beginning to read chapter books, and the stories are fun to read aloud to younger children.” —Childrens Literature Praise for Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny: “Cleverly wrapped in an entertaining package, the zen-type morals are edifying but not preachy and serve to genuinely enrich the stories.” —The Horn Book, starred review “A series of Zen lessons touched with gentle humor.” —Kirkus Reviews “Delightful . . . reminiscent of Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad stories or Jon Muth’s ever-popular Zen Shorts.” —School Library Journal

  2. The Trail of the Ghost Bunny - Kelsey and her family have moved into an abandoned B&B that they’re fixing up. It’s a beautiful place and it even comes with its own bunny…but it also seems to come with its own ghost. With the help of their new bunny friend, Kelsey and her friends and CCSC clubmates Becca and Leo investigate the true source of the mysterious on-goings at the B&B. This story closes out the series in a satisfying way, and includes a very light ghost plot that feels seasonally appropriate. And animal fans will be thrilled to see plenty new animal capers, including the return of the lovable dogs from book 5, Dog-Gone Danger.

  3. Do Unto Otters - Mr. Rabbit wonders if he will be able to get along with his new neighbors, who are otters, until he is reminded of the golden rule.

  4. It's Not Yours, It's Mine! - But what happens when the ball loses it’s air? Will help arrive, and will blieka learn that sharing brings unexpected benefits?

Books About Making Friends and Best Friends

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My Friend Maggie
Written & illustrated by Hannah Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
"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"
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Quinny & Hopper
Written by Adriana Brad Schanen & illustrated by Greg Swearingen
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11
Quinny has a lot to say. Hopper gets to the point. Quinny has one speed: very, very, extra-very fast. Hopper proceeds with caution. Quinny has big ideas. Hopper has smart solutions. Quinny and Hopper couldn't be more different. They are an unstoppable team. But when summer ends, things suddenly aren't the same. Can Quinny and Hopper stick together in the face of stylish bullies, a killer chicken, and the brand-new Third Grade Rules-especially the one that says they aren't allowed to be friends anymore?
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My Best Friend
Written by Julie Fogliano & illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
New York Times bestselling author Julie Fogliano and Caldecott Honor winner Jillian Tamaki come together to tell a delightful story of first friendship. she is my best friend i think i never had a best friend so i’m not sure but i think she is a really good best friend because when we were drawing she drew me and i drew her. What is a best friend, if not someone who laughs with you the whole entire day, especially when you pretend to be a pickle? This pitch-perfect picture book is a sweetly earnest, visually stunning celebration of the magic of friendship.
Honorable Mentions
The Night Before First Grade book
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Peanut Butter and Jellyfish book
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Heidi Heckelbeck Has a New Best Friend book
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The Un-Friendship Bracelet book
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  1. The Night Before First Grade - It’s the night before the Big Day—first grade. Penny is excited to start the year with her best friend right beside her in the same classroom. This humorous take on Clement C. Moore’s classic tale has a perfect twist ending that will surprise readers—as well as the “heroine” of the story—and help all about-to-be first-graders through their own back-to-school jitters.

  2. Peanut Butter and Jellyfish - From the author of National Book Award finalist Hey, Kiddo. Peanut Butter and Jellyfish are best of friends and swim up, down, around, and through their ocean home.
    Crabby is their neighbor. He is not their best friend.
    But when Crabby gets in trouble, will Peanut Butter and Jellyfish come to the rescue?
    You bet they will!
    From award-winning picture book creator Jarrett J. Krosoczka, this is a funny and touching story of friendships old and new, and about being brave enough to apologize.

  3. Heidi Heckelbeck Has a New Best Friend - Heidi has a new best friend in the twenty-second Heidi Heckelbeck adventure! A new family moves in next door and Heidi is excited to meet them. They have a daughter Heidi’s age! Her name is Bryce Beltran, and she’s Heidi’s super nice, super talkative new neighbor. After spending the day together, Heidi promises to introduce her to Lucy and Bruce. But on the first day of school, things don’t go as planned. Bryce is convinced that her so-called best friends aren’t very good ones and tries to get in between them. Can Heidi help everyone get along before she loses them all? With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Heidi Heckelbeck chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

  4. The Un-Friendship Bracelet - In the first book of the Craftily Ever After chapter book series, a new student gets between best friends Emily and Maddie—and changes the meaning of their friendship bracelets! Emily Adams, Maddie Wilson, Bella Diaz, and Sam Sharma are eight-year-olds with one special thing in common: they love to create. They each have unique talents, too! Emily is great at constructing and building; Maddie has an eye for fashion, fabrics, and sewing; Bella is a gadget whiz; and Sam is a gifted artist. Together, these four crafty friends dream up new projects to design, build, and create and through their experiences, they’ll learn how to handle various obstacles at school and in their everyday eight-year-old lives. In the first Craftily Ever After book, best friends Emily and Maddie are so close that they spend most of their free time together, and wear matching friendship bracelets, too! One day, a new student named Bella Diaz shows up at Mason Creek Elementary. Maddie immediately befriends her, discovering that she too is really crafty. As Maddie and Bella spend more time together, Emily finds herself spending more time alone…until she realizes that the boy who’s been sitting next to her in class this whole time loves to draw and create just like she does. When Emily’s friendship bracelet falls off and Maddie doesn’t even notice, Emily begins to think that maybe it was an un-friendship bracelet after all. With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Craftily Ever After chapter books are perfect for emerging readers.

Books About Making Friends and Middle School

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The Startup Squad
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11
Girls mean business in a brand-new middle grade series about friendship and entrepreneurship! All the great leaders had to start somewhere. And Theresa (“Resa” for short) is starting with the lemonade stand competition her teacher assigned to the class—but making it a success is going to be a lot harder than Resa thinks. The prize: line-skipping tickets to Adventure Central. The competition: Val, Resa's middle school nemesis. And the biggest obstacle to success: Resa's own teammates. Harriet is the class clown, Amelia is the new girl who thinks she knows best, and Didi is Resa's steadfast friend—who doesn't know the first thing about making or selling lemonade. The four of them quickly realize that the recipe for success is tough to perfect—but listening to each other is the first step. And making new friends might be the most important one... The back of each book features tips from the Startup Squad and an inspirational profile of a girl entrepreneur!
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Howard Wallace,
Written & illustrated by Casey Lyall
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13
Lyall s debut is a winner. " "Publishers Weekly" What s with the get-up? Is that the company uniform or something? This? All P.I.s wear a trench coat. Dude, that s a brown bathrobe. I shrugged and straightened out my sleeves. First rule of private investigation, Ivy: work with what you ve got. " Twelve-year-old Howard Wallace lives by his list of rules of private investigation. He knows more than anyone how to work with what he s got: a bathrobe for a trench coat, a makeshift office behind the school equipment shed, and not much else least of all, friends. So when a hot case of blackmail lands on his desk, he s ready to take it on himself . . . until the new kid, Ivy Mason, convinces him to take her on as a junior partner. As they banter through stakeouts and narrow down their list of suspects, Howard starts to wonder if having Ivy as a sidekick and a friend is such a bad thing after all."
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Jack and Louisa Act 3
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
A show-stopping middle-grade series about life in and out of the spotlight from Broadway stars and Internet sensations Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherhead. Two weeks at Camp Curtain-Up is just what Jack and Louisa need to fuel their passion for theater: Broadway musical sing-alongs, outdoor rehearsals, and tons of new MTNs (musical theater nerds) to meet… maybe even a special someone. It almost feels like fate when the two friends return home to find local auditions for The Sound of Music. But as Louisa fantasizes about frolicking in the Alps, Jack gets tempted by a student-run drama competition that would reunite the two with their camp friends. Will Jack get Louisa to skip an audition? Can Lou handle Jack as her director? And will someone finally get a big, Broadway happy ending?
Honorable Mentions
Mango Delight book
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Just My Luck book
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  1. Mango Delight - What happens when your BFF becomes your EFF . . . EX-Friend-Forever? Surviving seventh grade is tough-especially when your BFF dumps you, you lose your spot on the track team, and you cost your dad his job. That’s the mess Mango’s in. THEN her ex-bestie spitefully tricks Mango into auditioning for the school musical and the tables turn: Mango wins the lead role, becomes a YouTube sensation, and attracts the attention of the school’s queen bee. But soon Mango is forced to make tough choices about the kind of friend she wants to have . . . and the kind she wants to be.

  2. Just My Luck - Zack Delacruz is back—and this time he has a crush! Zack really wants to meet Abhi, the new girl at school. But things get off to a rough start when he accidentally knocks her to the ground during a game of dodgeball. And whenever he tries to make amends, she just ignores him. Nothing works—not his friends’ advice or his “lucky” cologne. In fact, he just seems more and more cursed! Then, at the Fall Fiesta-val, Zack finally learns the real reason behind Abhi’s cold shoulder . . . but not before total chaos erupts. With a runaway train, exploding confetti-filled eggs, and Abhi’s terrifying older brother, will Zack ever get a chance to talk to his crush? In the end, Zack learns what it means to to listen and to be a good friend. This dynamite sequel captures the middle-school experience—and will keep readers laughing from beginning to end.

Books About Making Friends and Diversity

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The Way Back Home
Written & illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
From the illustrator of the #1 smash hit The Day the Crayons Quit comes an imaginative tale of friendship in a world where what makes us different isn’t nearly as important as what makes us the same. When a boy discovers a single-propeller airplane in his closet, he does what any young adventurer would do: He flies it into outer space! Millions of miles from Earth, the plane begins to sputter and quake, its fuel tank on empty. The boy executes a daring landing on the moon . . . but there’s no telling what kind of slimy, slithering, tentacled, fangtoothed monsters lurk in the darkness! (Plus, it’s dark and lonely out there.) Coincidentally, engine trouble has stranded a young Martian on the other side of the moon, and he’s just as frightened and alone. Martian, Earthling—it’s all the same when you’re in need of a friend.
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Me and My Fear
Written & illustrated by Francesca Sanna
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
"With its warm palette and gentle scenes of the worried child being comforted, this book could function as a sequel to Sanna's astounding debut picture book, The Journey, which recounted a family's dangerous flight from their home in a war zone. Sanna provides an empathetic exploration of the adjustment to a new land that all migrants experience."--New York Times Book Review Introducing a companion picture book to the award-winning picture book, The Journey, from rising star Francesca Sanna. When a young immigrant girl has to travel to a new country and start at a new school, she is accompanied by her Fear who tells her to be alone and afraid, growing bigger and bigger every day with questions like "how can you hope to make new friends if you don't understand their language?" But this little girl is stronger than her Fear. A heart-warming and timely tale from the bestselling author and illustrator of The Journey, this book shows us the importance of sharing your Fear with others--after all, everyone carries a Fear with them, even if it's small enough to fit into their pocket!
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Dear Dragon
Written by Josh Funk & illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
A sweet and clever friendship story in rhyme, about looking past physical differences to appreciate the person (or dragon) underneath. George and Blaise are pen pals, and they write letters to each other about everything: their pets, birthdays, favorite sports, and science fair projects. There’s just one thing that the two friends don’t know: George is a human, while Blaise is a dragon! What will happen when these pen pals finally meet face-to-face?
Honorable Mentions
Mabel: A Mermaid Fable book
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How Do You Say? / ¿Cómo Se Dice? book
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  1. Mabel: A Mermaid Fable - A lovely and laugh-out-loud picture book from the award-winning author of Rude Cakes and Most Marshmallows. A silly read-aloud tale for kids about being yourself! Mabel isn’t like the other mermaids. Lucky isn’t like the other octopuses. But when they find each other, they discover that true friendship isn’t about how you look, and that sometimes what we are searching for is right under our noses. The inimitable Rowboat Watkins is back with another humorous tale about being true to yourself. • A delightful, inspiring read-aloud book for toddlers that celebrates gender diversity and difference • Stylish, accessible art brings this story of being true to yourself to hilarious life. • Rowboat Watkins is a 2010 Sendak Fellow and Ezra Jack Keats honoree. Young readers of Julian Is a Mermaid, Mary Wears What She Wants, and Exclamation Mark will find much to love in this tale that celebrates individuality and acceptance.

  2. How Do You Say? / ¿Cómo Se Dice? - Hello! ¡Hola! Some people speak Spanish. Some people speak English. Although we may not speak the same language, some things, like friendship, are universal! Follow two young giraffes as they meet, celebrate, and become friends. This bilingual tale will have readers eager to meet new friends and amigos.

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Books About Making Friends and Family Life

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Marsha Is Magnetic
Written by Beth Ferry & illustrated by Lorena Alvarez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
It turns out that the best way to draw others to you is by being yourself in this sweet, STEAM-minded picture book from <i>New York Times</i> bestselling author Beth Ferry. Marsha is a scientist who has never met a problem she couldn't solve. But when it comes to making friends to invite to her birthday party, she is stumped. Luckily, Marsha knows the solution to being stumped: the scientific method. With equal parts creativity, determination, and humor, Marsha sets out to <i>attract</i> as many friends as she can--what could possibly go wrong? In this hilarious celebration of friendship and ingenuity, Beth Ferry and Lorena Alvarez show readers that the best way to attract friends is to simply be yourself.
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Dory Fantasmagory
Written & illustrated by Abby Hanlon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8
Move over, Junie B. Jones and Ivy & Bean! Here comes a lovably energetic little sister with a BIG personality—and an imagination to match! As the youngest in her family, Dory really wants attention, and more than anything she wants her brother and sister to play with her. But she’s too much of a baby for them, so she’s left to her own devices—including her wild imagination and untiring energy. Her siblings may roll their eyes at her childish games, but Dory has lots of things to do: outsmarting the monsters all over the house, escaping from prison (aka time-out), and exacting revenge on her sister’s favorite doll. And when they really need her, daring Dory will prove her bravery, and finally get exactly what she has been looking for. With plenty of pictures bursting with charm and character, this hilarious book about an irresistible rascal is the new must-read for the chapter book set.
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Strange Birds
Written by Celia C. Pérez
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
From the award-winning author of The First Rule of Punk comes the story of four kids who form an alternative Scout troop that shakes up their sleepy Florida town. When three very different girls find a mysterious invitation to a lavish mansion, the promise of adventure and mischief is too intriguing to pass up. Ofelia Castillo (a budding journalist), Aster Douglas (a bookish foodie), and Cat Garcia (a rule-abiding birdwatcher) meet the kid behind the invite, Lane DiSanti, and it isn't love at first sight. But they soon bond over a shared mission to get the Floras, their local Scouts, to ditch an outdated tradition. In their quest for justice, independence, and an unforgettable summer, the girls form their own troop and find something they didn't know they needed: sisterhood.
Honorable Mentions
Dory and the Real True Friend book
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The Audition book
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Moving Day book
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A Is for Elizabeth book
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  1. Dory and the Real True Friend - The star of Dory Fantasmagory is heading to school. Her older siblings, Luke and Violet, warn her to leave her imaginary friend, Mary, at home—or better yet, leave her whole imagination at home! But on her very first day she meets a new friend, a girl whose imagination and style are just about as wild as her own. Now she just has to convince her siblings that she’s not making it all up!

  2. The Audition - Bunheads meets The Kicks in this first novel in a brand-new middle grade trilogy from New York Times bestselling author, dancer, model, and actress Maddie Ziegler! Twelve-year-old Harper has been dancing practically since she could walk. She loves her dance studio and team, and just won her first ever top junior solo in a regional competition. But right before the school year starts, Harper’s parents drop a bombshell—the family has to relocate from their cozy town in Connecticut to sunny Florida for their jobs. That means goodbye to her friends, dance team, trips to see shows in NYC—and did she mention dance team? When she arrives at her new dance school and new team, it feels like everyone has better feet, quicker turns and faster taps than Harper. And it doesn’t help that a group of girls, who nicknamed themselves The Bunheads, wonder how the heck she made the team if she can’t even do a simple turn sequence in front of the class. Thankfully, Harper befriends Lily, a fellow newbie in the studio who is just as eager to make her mark and find a friendly face. With a big competition coming up for the dance team, Harper is determined to show everyone—especially those Bunheads—what she’s made of. And when a very badly timed injury threatens all of the work they have done, The Bunheads, Lily, and Harper must learn to truly work together to give them their best shot at the top spot!

  3. Moving Day - Katie Woo’s family is moving to a new house. Katie will miss her old room, and she thinks her new house seems a little weird. Her parents say it will feel like home soon enough, but she’s just not sure.

  4. A Is for Elizabeth - Elizabeth is in second grade. Class 2B! It’s great! Friends, recess, homework! Even a big project: Make a poster of your name. Yayyy! Hang on. The name Elizabeth has a bajillion letters in it! The name Anna has only four letters. Plus, Anna’s first letter is A, which is also the first letter of Alphabetical Order. But Anna can’t always be first! That’s not fair! In A is for Elizabeth, Elizabeth makes more than a poster. She also makes some important choices—about fairness, rules, speaking up, and glue. But the most important thing she makes is…a friend! With copious line art by Paige Keiser, this first book in a new series—spun off from Vail’s beloved Justin Case series—is sure to delight fans of Judy Moody, Junie B. Jones, and Clementine.

Books About Making Friends and Mammals

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Little Juniper Makes It BIG
Written & illustrated by Aidan Cassie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
What Juniper lacks in size, she makes up for in heart. And her heart is dead-set on growing up and getting taller. She's tired of having to reach for the cookie jar or use a stepping stool for the toilet. Everything in Juniper's world seems to be made for adults. Ugh! Juniper is industrious, however, and builds several silly contraptions to help reach her goals. But it isn't until she makes a fun new friend at school, Clove, who is even smaller than Juniper, that she is able to see her world from a new perspective — and appreciate all sizes, big or small. Aidan Cassie, the creator of Sterling, Best Dog Ever, employs her pitch-perfect humor and heartwarming illustrations here again to help little ones love themselves at any size.
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Llama Llama and the Bully Goat
Written & illustrated by Anna Dewdney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Llama Llama likes to sing. Gilroy laughs at everything. Llama sings out just the same. Gilroy says a not-nice name. Teacher has some things to say: calling names is not OK. Llama Llama is learning lots of new things at school and making many friends. But when Gilroy Goat starts teasing him and some of their classmates, Llama Llama isn’t sure what to do. And then he remembers what his teacher told him—walk away and tell someone. It works! But then Llama Llama feels badly. Can he and Gilroy try to be friends again?
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Making A Friend
Written by Tammi Sauer & 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
The Word for Friend book
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Buddy and Earl book
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  1. The Word for Friend - From author/illustrator Aidan Cassie, the creator of Sterling, Best Dog Ever and Little Juniper Makes It Big!, comes The Word for Friend, an adorable and timely picture book story about ways to welcome, friendship, and overcoming language barriers that will connect classmates and cultures alike. Kemala the pangolin is sure she’s going to make friends at her new school in her new country. After all, Kemala loves to talk. The kids at school like talking, too—but their words are all different. This country speaks a language Kemala doesn’t know. At first, no one understands Kemala either. This realization makes her curl into a little ball, like most pangolins do when they’re nervous. But a classmate helps draw her out with an art project that doubles as a vocabulary exchange. Soon, Kemala is learning the most universal language of all: friendship.

  2. Buddy and Earl - Buddy does not know what is in the box that Meredith carries into the living room. But when the small, prickly creature says he is a pirate — and that Buddy is a pirate too — the two mismatched friends are off on a grand adventure. In this first book in the Buddy and Earl series, a dog who likes to play by the rules meets a hedgehog who knows no limits. Their friendship is tender and loyal, and their adventures are funny and imaginative.

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Books About Making Friends and Shyness

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Mirabel's Missing Valentines
Written by Janet Lawler & illustrated by Olivia Chin Mueller
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Poor shy Mirabel trembles at the thought of Valentine's Day. Yet the little mouse crafts her cards with a heart on every one. As she nervously hurries to school, she doesn't notice the valentines falling out of her bag! But with a little holiday kindness, the lost valentines make their way back to her . . . and bring joy into the lives of all who found them, too. This wonderful tale of overcoming insecurity will make its way to children's hearts.
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Crunch, The Shy Dinosaur
Written by Cirocco Dunlap & illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Crunch is a lovely and quiet brontosaurus who has hidden himself in some shubbery and is rather shy. He would like to play, but it will require some gentle coaxing from you! If you are patient and encouraging, you will find yourself with a new friend! This picture book is a warm, funny example of how to engage with someone new, who is perhaps a bit different from you. Lessons in friend-making (such as minding personal space and demonstrating interest in another’s hobbies) are delivered so subtly that children will absorb them unconsciously as they delight in Crunch’s silly hat and dance moves!
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Hello, Ninja. Hello, Georgie.
Written by N. D. Wilson & illustrated by Forrest Dickison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Honorable Mentions
Lily's Cat Mask book
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Stella Diaz Has Something to Say book
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  1. Lily's Cat Mask - Armed with a vivid imagination and her trusty cat mask, Lily can take on anything–even a new school… But when her teacher tells her no masks allowed in class, Lily worries, can she make friends without it? Anyone who has been daunted by a new experience, or struggled to put on a good face, will relate to Lily. Whimsical art brings Lily, her father, and her new classmates to life, with text that begs to be read aloud. Perfect for Father’s Day, back to school, and even Halloween–Lily and her grinning cat mask are sure to make you smile back.

  2. Stella Diaz Has Something to Say - A sweet middle-grade novel by award-winning illustrator Angela Dominguez about a shy Mexican-American girl who makes a new friend.

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Books About Making Friends and The First Day Of School

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Wemberly Worried
Written & illustrated by Kevin Henkes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Wemberly worried about everything. Big things. Little things. And things in between. Then it was time for school to start.And Wemberly worried even more. If you ever worry (or know someone who does), this is the book for you.
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Butterflies on the First Day of School
Written by Annie Silvestro & illustrated by Dream Chen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Rosie's excited to start kindergarten--she's had her backpack ready for weeks. But suddenly, the night before the big day, her tummy hurts. Rosie's mom reassures her that it's just butterflies in her belly. Much to Rosie's surprise, when she greets a new friend, a butterfly flies out of her mouth! Soon, Rosie frees all her butterflies . . . and helps another shy student release hers, too.
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Twig
Written & illustrated by Aura Parker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Heidi is a stick insect, tall and long like the twig of a tree. It’s her first day at a busy bug school, where she hopes to learn and make new friends. But finding friends isn’t easy when no one can find you!
Honorable Mentions
The Night Before Preschool book
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The Night Before Kindergarten book
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Llama Llama Misses Mama book
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Hannah Sparkles: Hooray for the First Day of School! book
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  1. The Night Before Preschool - It’s the night before preschool, and a little boy named Billy is so nervous he can’t fall asleep. The friends he makes the next day at school give him a reason not to sleep the next night, either: he’s too excited about going back! The book’s simple rhyming text and sweet illustrations will soothe any child’s fears about the first day of school.

  2. The Night Before Kindergarten - ‘Twas the night before kindergarten, and as they prepared, kids were excited, and a little bit scared. It’s the first day of school! Join the kids as they prepare for kindergarten, packing school supplies, posing for pictures, and the hardest part of all—saying goodbye to Mom and Dad. But maybe it won’t be so hard once they discover just how much fun kindergarten really is! Colorful illustrations illuminate this uplifting takeoff on the classic Clement C. Moore Christmas poem.

  3. Llama Llama Misses Mama - Strange new teacher. Strange new toys. Lots of kids and lots of noise! What would Llama like to do? Llama Llama feels so new . . . It’s Llama Llama’s first day of preschool! And Llama Llama’s mama makes sure he’s ready. They meet the teachers. See the other children. Look at all the books and games. But then it’s time for Mama to leave. And suddenly Llama Llama isn’t so excited anymore. Will Mama Llama come back? Of course she will. But before she does, the other children show Llama Llama how much fun school can be!

  4. Hannah Sparkles: Hooray for the First Day of School! - Cheer along with Hannah Sparkles on her first day of school! Hannah Sparkles and her best friend, Sunny Everbright, are ready for first grade. Their day starts as perfect as pom-poms…until Hannah and Sunny are seated far apart in the classroom. Even worse, Hannah is having trouble making new friends. It’s going to take some extra thinking for Hannah to learn that sometimes being a good listener is the best way to be a good friend. Perfect for fans of Fancy Nancy and Pinkalicious, Hannah Sparkles’s second story is sure to bring sparkly smiles to new readers who are just starting school too.

Books About Making Friends and Imagination

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Penny and Penelope
Written by Dan Richards & 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.
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Ella WHO?
Written by Linda Ashman & illustrated by Sara Sanchez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8
Mom . . . there's an elephant in the living room. It's moving day--and look who slipped in the door: an elephant! But when a little girl tries to tell her family about their unusual guest, the distracted grown-ups just say, "Ella WHO?" Even as children giggle at the girl's adventures with the smallish pachyderm, and at the fun, recurring refrain, they'll relate to the poignant theme about making--and sometimes letting go of--new friends.
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The Red Boat
Written & illustrated by Hannah Cumming
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Posy is afraid of her new house and all the unknown that comes with it, but when she and her dog find a red boat in the garden, she imagines all kinds of adventures and gains confidence despite being the new kid.
Honorable Mentions
Roar and Sparkles Go to School book
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Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy book
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Ladybug Girl Makes Friends book
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  1. Roar and Sparkles Go to School - Roar is worried about his first day at school. He’s worried that he’ll have to do really hard things, like molt his scales and fly over a volcano. His big sister Sparkles reassures him, but Roar still worries. The first day of school arrives and Roar is pleasantly surprised! Instead of having to breathe fire, he gets to kick fireballs in gym class. He also gets to make popsicle-stick caves in art and to listen to stores about Johnny Apple-dragon and Cinder-dragonella during circle time. And when he’s asked to draw something he loves before the day is over, he figures out just how to thank Sparkles for her sisterly support. Roar and Sparkles is a sweet story about the anxieties children may feel about attending school for the first time, as well as a comforting tale about the bond between siblings. Sarah Beth Durst’s imaginative and playful script is enhanced by Ben Whitehouse’s modern and fresh illustrations to create a book that’s sure to squelch first-day-of-school worries for children.

  2. Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy - This hardcover picture book in the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series explores themes of making friends, compromise, and imaginative play at that favorite preschool place—the playground. Lulu and her dog Bingo meet up with Sam on the playground and want to play together. Sam likes the sandbox but Lulu thinks the monkey bars are better. They just can’t agree…until Lulu asks, “Have you ever played Ladybug Girl?” Quickly, Sam becomes the brave Bumblebee Boy, and he and Lulu, a.k.a Ladybug Girl, are superheroes who save the playground from scary monsters and mean robots. New friends want to join their game too, and soon the Bug Squad is formed with Ladybug Girl, Bumblebee Boy, Dragonfly Girl, and Butterfly Girl using their imaginations to keep the playground safe. For fans of Toot and Puddle and The Amazing Adventures of Bumblebee Boy, the Ladybug Girl series honors friendship, cooperation, and a love of the outdoors!

  3. Ladybug Girl Makes Friends - Ladybug Girl loves making friends! Ladybug Girl is Lulu, a little girl who loves making friends and playing pretend. This board book for ages three and up is the perfect complement to the Ladybug Girl books. Readers join Lulu as she makes friends with Sam, Marley, Kiki, and others. And of course her dog Bingo is by her side, too!

Books About Making Friends and Bears

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Bear's Scare
Written & illustrated by Jacob Grant
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
This adorable, quirky board book features a charming odd-couple friendship and is perfect for fans of Peter Brown and Greg Pizzoli. Bear likes to keep his house clean and tidy. In fact, the only thing Bear loves more than cleaning is taking care of his small stuffed friend, Ursa. Then Bear sees a sticky spiderweb . . . and where there's a web there is certainly a spider! The messy guest must be found, but what Bear and Ursa finally discover might just be an unlikely friend.
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Bat to the Bone
Written by Marcie Colleen & illustrated by Steve James
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
The bat-only punk rock band, Flying Blind, has a dedicated following of thousands of bats--their screechy sound really meshes with sonar hearing. While on tour to expand its fan base, Flying Blind stops at the Grumpy Woods for midnight performances. Soon tons of bat fans are keeping everyone awake at night! But when the bears start jamming with the band, its sound changes, driving away their early followers. This time it's Opal Owl who saves the day--and returns some peace and quiet to the woods. Illustrated in full color!
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Polar Bear Island
Written by Lindsay Bonilla & illustrated by Cinta Villalobos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
"Welcome to Polar Bear Island. NO OTHERS ALLOWED!" So says Parker, the mayor, eager to keep the island just the way it is. But Kirby, a newly arrived penguin, is shaking things up--much to Parker's dismay. The other polar bears love Kirby and beg Parker to let Kirby (and her family) move in. Will Parker agree . . . and make the island fun for EVERYONE? With its gentle message of inclusivity, this energetic story will delight children.
Honorable Mentions
Explorers of the Wild book
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Little Bear's Friend book
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Bear's New Friend book
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Bear and Chicken book
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  1. Explorers of the Wild - Boy and Bear both love to explore the outdoors. There are so many neat things to see, and so many strange things to find. These explorers are prepared for anything . . . except each other! When Bear and Boy meet in the woods, they’re scared at first. Really scared. But soon these kings of the wild realize that no mountain is too big to conquer if you have a friend to climb it by your side.

  2. Little Bear's Friend - One summer Little Bear makes friends with a girl named Emily. But when summer ends, Emily must leave. Little Bear is very sad—until he finds a way to stay close to his new friend even when she is far away!

  3. Bear's New Friend - Eager to play in the fall leaves, Bear heads out to find his friend, Mouse, but is startled by clatter in a tree. Determined to find out who is making all the noise, Bear goes on a short journey, picking up all of his friends on the way, until he discovers a quite bashful owl whom he declares their NEW FRIEND!

  4. Bear and Chicken - When Bear finds a chicken frozen in the winter snow, he brings it home to try to defrost it. As Chicken thaws-um, awakens-he fears that Bear is actually prepping to eat him. Oh no! All signs are pointing to a fateful end for Chicken-being wrapped like a burrito, chopped basil and veggies sitting on the counter, the huge pot on the stove that’s just the right size for a chicken to fit inside. It’s almost time for lunch, so Chicken makes a run for it! But in the end, Chicken learns that perhaps he too quickly jumped to conclusions. This funny and clever friendship tale teaches kids that things are not always as they seem, while learning a thing or two about making soup with a friend!

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Books About Making Friends and Belonging

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For Black Girls Like Me
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
I am a girl but most days I feel like a question mark. Makeda June Kirkland is eleven-years-old, adopted, and black. Her parents and big sister are white, and even though she loves her family very much, Makeda often feels left out. When Makeda's family moves from Maryland to New Mexico, she leaves behind her best friend, Lena- the only other adopted black girl she knows- for a new life. In New Mexico, everything is different. At home, Makeda's sister is too cool to hang out with her anymore and at school, she can't seem to find one true friend. Through it all, Makeda can't help wondering: What would it feel like to grow up with a family that looks like me? Through singing, dreaming, and writing secret messages back and forth with Lena, Makeda might just carve a small place for herself in the world.
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Hello My Name Is . . .
Written by Marisa Polansky & illustrated by Joey Chou
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
A new creature is added to the deep-sea tank, but what will they call this flapjack octopus? Includes an author's note on Adorabilis and its name.
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Halfway Normal
Written & illustrated by Barbara Dee
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13
Twelve-year-old cancer survivor Norah struggles to fit in at middle school after two years of treatment, but she finds her voice with the help of new friend Griffin, who shares her love of mythology.
Honorable Mentions
Patch And Ruby book
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Nobody Knew What to Do book
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Big Mouth Elizabeth book
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Elmore book
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  1. Patch And Ruby - Patch the pony is lonely. He has fun with his young owner, Sam, and the other farm animals are friendly, but sometimes it feels as if he still doesn’t quite fit in. Then one day Sam has an idea and something happens that changes Patch’s life forever. Patch and Ruby is a wonderful, often very funny tale about friendship and finding out where you belong.

  2. Nobody Knew What to Do - Straightforward and simple, this story tells how one child found the courage to tell a teacher about Ray, who was being picked on and bullied by other kids in school. Faced with the fact that “nobody knows what to do” while Ray is bullied, the children sympathetic to him feel fear and confusion and can only hope that Ray will “fit in some day.” Finally, after Ray misses a day of school and the bullies plot mean acts for his return, our narrator goes to a teacher. The children then invite Ray to play with them, and, with adult help, together they stand up to the bullies.

  3. Big Mouth Elizabeth - Second-grader Elizabeth longs to be a member of the Big Mouth club, which is made up of kids who have lost at least one baby tooth. Elizabeth is WAY behind on losing her baby teeth, and so is Cali, a quiet girl who is also left out of the Big Mouth Club. Elizabeth thinks Cali is so much more babyish than she is—in fact, Elizabeth SHOULD be in the Big Mouth Club because she’s NOT babyish. But when she understands how bad it feels to be left out, Elizabeth’s attitude shifts. Here is a story about fitting in in unexpected ways. With copious line art by Paige Keiser, this second book in Rachel Vail’s Elizabeth series is sure to delight fans of Judy Moody, Junie B. Jones, and Clementine.

  4. Elmore - The creator of the Toot & Puddle series brings us Elmore—the warmhearted porcupine sure to steal the hearts of a new generation of Holly Hobbie fans! Elmore is a porcupine desperate to make friends. But it is hard to seek closeness with others when you’re covered with spikes that shoot off your back every so often. Elmore suffers rejection and heartbreak, but the goodness of his forest community ultimately shines through as the animals find a way to connect with this prickly bundle of love. Holly Hobbie is the creator of the beloved Toot & Puddle series and now brings us a character for the next generation. Just as charming, funny, and good-hearted as her little pigs, Elmore the porcupine will snuggle and prickle his way securely into the picture-book canon.

Want to see books about belonging?

Epilogue

13 books that are just too good to leave off of our making friends list.
Peep and Egg: I'm Not Hatching book
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The Great Troll Rescue book
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Little Owl's First Day book
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Piggy: Let's Be Friends! book
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  1. Peep and Egg: I'm Not Hatching - Egg is not hatching. No way. No how. It is too scary out there. Peep wants Egg to hatch so they can do fun things together, like watch the sunrise, splash in puddles, and play hide-and-seek. But Egg is not cracking… Joyce Wan’s bright and bold illustrations will have young chickies giggling at Laura Gehl’s reassuring tale that takes the not out of I’m not.

  2. The Great Troll Rescue - Meet Jack and his talking chicken Betsy, Red, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, and a host of other Little Legendsas they have fantastic new adventures!Get to know your favorite fairytale characters like never before in this magical new book series. What starts as an adventure ends in disaster when Jack and all his friends are captured by a wicked witch with a devious plan. It’s up to Red, the woodcutter’s daughter, to save the day. Along the way Red befriends the wicked witch’s servants, Ella and her Fairy Godbrother Cole. Can they rescue Red’s friends and all the other magical creatures the witch has kidnapped — including a fearsome troll?

  3. Little Owl's First Day - It’s a big day for Little Owl. His first day at school. Little Owl doesn’t want a big day though. He’d rather stay at home and have fun with Mummy and Baby Owl. But at school he gets to build a rocket, learn to fly and even make a tiny new friend. Maybe big days spent with friends can be lots of fun after all! From the bestselling creators of Little Owl’s Egg comes another gentle and comforting story about the lovable Little Owl. Perfect for any little one starting nursery or school.

  4. Piggy: Let's Be Friends! - The Fun Uncle -

    An adorable story of a cute protagonist reaching out to a shy potential friend. This story does a great job of teaching that it's up to us to reach out and be a friend instead of waiting for friendship to find us.

The Truth About My Unbelievable School . . . book
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Do You Want To Be My Friend book
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Albie Newton book
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The Magic Misfits book
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  1. The Truth About My Unbelievable School . . . - Beware of . . . this school?! Henry is taking his new classmate on a whirlwind tour of their school. Mysterious inventions lurk, the cafeteria requires ninja skills, and some teachers may be monsters! Is this fantastical school to be believed? Or is there an even more outrageous surprise in store? Celebrated international author-illustrator team Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud—the duo behind Junior Library Guild selections I Didn’t Do My Homework Because . . . and The Truth About My Unbelievable Summer . . . —are back with yet another rollicking tale about truth, lies, and . . . school!

  2. Do You Want To Be My Friend - Do you want to be my friend? asks the little mouse, and hopefully follows a tail, finding at the end of it a rather unfriendly horse. But there’s another tail, and another, and a strange, long, green one, too, that follows the mouse on his quest for a friend. Each page of this ingenious picture book contains a surprise. Its only text is on the first page, but the exciting pursuit of a friend for the little mouse lends itself to improvisation by both the reader and the young child — another brilliant idea from Eric Carle, the creator of The Secret Birthday Message and The Mixed-Up Chameleon.

  3. Albie Newton - Meet Albie Newton: child genius. But when this whiz of an inventor enters a new preschool, his perfect plan for making friends turns into a disaster: he steals the hamster’s wheel, snatches the wings off a toy airplane, and generally creates a giant mess. Now everyone’s angry! Will his new invention delight the other kids enough to make everything right—and win their friendship?

  4. The Magic Misfits - From award-winning actor, Neil Patrick Harris, comes the magical first book in a new series with plenty of tricks up its sleeve. When street magician Carter runs away, he never expects to find friends and magic in a sleepy New England town. But like any good trick, things change instantly as greedy B.B. Bosso and his crew of crooked carnies arrive to steal anything and everything they can get their sticky fingers on. After a fateful encounter with the local purveyor of illusion, Dante Vernon, Carter teams up with five other like-minded illusionists. Together, using both teamwork and magic, they’ll set out to save the town of Mineral Wells from Bosso’s villainous clutches. These six Magic Misfits will soon discover adventure, friendship, and their own self-worth in this delightful new series. (Psst. Hey, you! Yes, you! Congratulations on reading this far. As a reward, I’ll let you in on a little secret… This book isn’t just a book. It’s a treasure trove of secrets and ciphers and codes and even tricks. Keep your eyes peeled and you’ll discover more than just a story—you’ll learn how to make your own magic!)

How to Win Friends and Influence Creatures book
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Finding François: A Story about the Healing Power of Friendship book
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The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya book
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Danbi Leads the School Parade book
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  1. How to Win Friends and Influence Creatures - 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.

  2. Finding François: A Story about the Healing Power of Friendship - For fans of Philip and Erin Stead and I Walk with Vanessa comes a tender, gently adventurous gem, with a reassuring message about the power of friends to soothe aches big and small. Alice wanted a sister, or even a brother, but what she needed was a friend. And when she found him . . . she found so much more. In this exquisite, gently funny, and reassuring tale, the lucky and lovely friendship between Alice and François spans the length of the River Seine and the loss of a loved one. Award-winning author and artist Gus Gordon captures the highs and lows of being little, and tenderly shepherds kids through the tough parts of childhood. With charm and compassion, Finding François acknowledges the grief children feel, revels in life’s fantastic possibilities, and celebrates the affirming, healing power of friendship.

  3. The Desperate Adventures of Zeno and Alya - A desperately ill girl and an orphaned African gray parrot find friendship, security and healing when they are inadvertently joined by fate. By the author of The Girl Behind the Glass.

  4. Danbi Leads the School Parade - Meet Danbi, the new girl at school! Danbi is thrilled to start her new school in America. But a bit nervous too, for when she walks into the classroom, everything goes quiet. Everyone stares. Danbi wants to join in the dances and the games, but she doesn’t know the rules and just can’t get anything right. Luckily, she isn’t one to give up. With a spark of imagination, she makes up a new game and leads her classmates on a parade to remember! Danbi Leads the School Parade introduces readers to an irresistible new character. In this first story, she learns to navigate her two cultures and realizes that when you open your world to others, their world opens up to you.

The Snowman Shuffle book
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  1. The Snowman Shuffle - Spin like a snowflake, swoosh like the wind, and shuffle like a snowman in this interactive board book. The rhyming text and fun instruction will delight both adults and children and chase away any winter blues!

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