Discover

Company

98+ Marvelous Kids Books about Making Friends

Updated May. 29, 2019

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 Making Friends Books

The Secret Garden book
#1
The Secret Garden
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
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.

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.

To the Sea book
#2
To the Sea
Written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Sometimes Tim feels invisible at school-until one day, when Tim meets Sam. But Sam isn't just any new friend: he's a blue whale, and he can't find his way home! Returning Sam to the sea is hard work, but Tim is determined to help. After all, it's not every day you meet a new friend! This picture book about the power of friendship by new talent Cale Atkinson is brought to life by charming, dynamic illustrations.

Blue Chameleon book
#3
Blue Chameleon
Written and 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.

Spike, the Mixed-up Monster book
#4
Spike, the Mixed-up Monster
Written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

This cute monster has to figure out how to navigate through the adventure of making friends. Very fun!

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.

Enemy Pie book
#5
Enemy Pie
Written by Derek Munson and illustrated by Tara Calahan King
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
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.

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.

Andi Unexpected book
#6
Andi Unexpected
Written by Amanda Flower
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
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. :)

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.

Ruff!: And the Wonderfully Amazing Busy Day book
#7
Ruff!: And the Wonderfully Amazing Busy Day
Written and illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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.

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.

The Invisible Boy book
#8
The Invisible Boy
Written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Patrice Barton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
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.

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.

A Unicorn Named Sparkle book
#9
A Unicorn Named Sparkle
Written and 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.

The Fix-It Friends: Three's a Crowd book
#10
The Fix-It Friends: Three's a Crowd
Written by Nicole C. Kear and 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?

Books About Friendship & Making Friends

To the Sea book
#1
To the Sea
Written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Sometimes Tim feels invisible at school-until one day, when Tim meets Sam. But Sam isn't just any new friend: he's a blue whale, and he can't find his way home! Returning Sam to the sea is hard work, but Tim is determined to help. After all, it's not every day you meet a new friend! This picture book about the power of friendship by new talent Cale Atkinson is brought to life by charming, dynamic illustrations.

Spike, the Mixed-up Monster book
#2
Spike, the Mixed-up Monster
Written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

This cute monster has to figure out how to navigate through the adventure of making friends. Very fun!

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.

Enemy Pie book
#3
Enemy Pie
Written by Derek Munson and illustrated by Tara Calahan King
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
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.

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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Peep and Egg: I'm Not Hatching - Peep cannot wait for Egg to hatch so they can have fun together, but Egg is not quite ready.

  2. The Startup Squad - 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!

  3. Hey, Duck! - 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.

  4. Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - The Fun Uncle - This is a wonderful rendition of a timeless classic. An adventurous tale of mythical creatures and adventures, with friendship being a key theme. The children in C. S. Lewis's story make friends with more than just humans though...

Want to see even more books about making friends and friendship?

How about books about friendship?

Books About Kindness & Making Friends

To the Sea book
#1
To the Sea
Written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Sometimes Tim feels invisible at school-until one day, when Tim meets Sam. But Sam isn't just any new friend: he's a blue whale, and he can't find his way home! Returning Sam to the sea is hard work, but Tim is determined to help. After all, it's not every day you meet a new friend! This picture book about the power of friendship by new talent Cale Atkinson is brought to life by charming, dynamic illustrations.

Enemy Pie book
#2
Enemy Pie
Written by Derek Munson and illustrated by Tara Calahan King
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
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.

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.

The Invisible Boy book
#3
The Invisible Boy
Written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Patrice Barton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
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.

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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. 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.

  2. The Boy and the Giant - 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.

  3. Llama Llama and the Bully Goat - 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?

  4. 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.

Want to see even more books about making friends and kindness?

How about books about kindness?

Books About Adventure & Making Friends

Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe book
#1
Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Written and illustrated by C.S. Lewis
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-14
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

This is a wonderful rendition of a timeless classic. An adventurous tale of mythical creatures and adventures, with friendship being a key theme. The children in C. S. Lewis's story make friends with more than just humans though...

This hardcover edition, featuring the original jacket art and black-and-white illustrations by Pauline Baynes, allows readers to celebrate the book that started it all. In 1950, C. S. Lewis introduced the world to Narnia and its unforgettable characters. Over sixty years later, readers of all ages are still enchanted by the magical series. Four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie—step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the second book in C. S. Lewis's classic fantasy series, which has been captivating readers of all ages for over sixty years. This is a stand-alone read, but if you would like to journey back to Narnia, pick up The Horse and His Boy, the third book in The Chronicles of Narnia.

The Great Troll Rescue book
#2
The Great Troll Rescue
Written and illustrated by Tom Percival
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

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?

Penny and Penelope book
#3
Penny and Penelope
Written by Dan Richards and illustrated by Claire Almon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Two girls on a play date learn there’s more to each other than meets the eye with a little help from their dolls in this exciting picture book adventure. Penny and Penelope are very different dolls. Penelope is a sweet princess, while Penny is a fierce secret agent. Penelope wants to ride her pony through the countryside, while Penny wants to wrestle alligators. How can they possibly get along playing in an imaginary kingdom? Luckily, Penny and Penelope are more than their packaging. After all, you can’t judge a doll by its outfit.

Honorable Mentions
  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. Madeline and the Bad Hat - “In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines the smallest one was Madeline.” Nothing frightens Madeline—not tigers, not even mice. With its endearing, courageous heroine, cheerful humor, and wonderful, whimsical drawings of Paris, the Madeline stories are true classics that continue to charm readers even after 75 years. In this next adventure, Madeline has a new neighbor who she does not like so much. Can she and Pepito ever get along? When the Spanish ambassador moves in next door, Madeline and the rest of the twelve little girls discover that his son is not the best neighbor.

  4. Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding - "Code is the 21st century literacy and the need for people to speak the ABCs of Programming is imminent." --Linda Liukas Meet Ruby--a small girl with a huge imagination. In Ruby's world anything is possible if you put your mind to it. When her dad asks her to find five hidden gems Ruby is determined to solve the puzzle with the help of her new friends, including the Wise Snow Leopard, the Friendly Foxes, and the Messy Robots. As Ruby stomps around her world kids will be introduced to the basic concepts behind coding and programming through storytelling. Learn how to break big problems into small problems, repeat tasks, look for patterns, create step-by-step plans, and think outside the box. With hands-on activities included in every chapter, future coders will be thrilled to put their own imaginations to work.

Want to see even more books about making friends and adventure?

How about books about adventure?

Books About Problem Solving & Making Friends

To the Sea book
#1
To the Sea
Written and illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Sometimes Tim feels invisible at school-until one day, when Tim meets Sam. But Sam isn't just any new friend: he's a blue whale, and he can't find his way home! Returning Sam to the sea is hard work, but Tim is determined to help. After all, it's not every day you meet a new friend! This picture book about the power of friendship by new talent Cale Atkinson is brought to life by charming, dynamic illustrations.

The Day of the Dead Mystery book
#2
The Day of the Dead Mystery
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

The Aldens are visiting friends for a big Dia de los Muertos celebration. The kids love learning about the holiday and helping out—that is until mysterious events threaten to ruin everyone's preparations. Can the Aldens figure out what’s going on and help their friends save the celebration?

Super Happy Party Bears: Bat to the Bone book
#3
Super Happy Party Bears: Bat to the Bone
Written by Marcie Colleen and 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!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Monster Trouble - 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.

  2. Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding - "Code is the 21st century literacy and the need for people to speak the ABCs of Programming is imminent." --Linda Liukas Meet Ruby--a small girl with a huge imagination. In Ruby's world anything is possible if you put your mind to it. When her dad asks her to find five hidden gems Ruby is determined to solve the puzzle with the help of her new friends, including the Wise Snow Leopard, the Friendly Foxes, and the Messy Robots. As Ruby stomps around her world kids will be introduced to the basic concepts behind coding and programming through storytelling. Learn how to break big problems into small problems, repeat tasks, look for patterns, create step-by-step plans, and think outside the box. With hands-on activities included in every chapter, future coders will be thrilled to put their own imaginations to work.

  3. 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?

  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?

Want to see even more books about making friends and problem solving?

How about books about problem solving?

Books About Sleuthing & Making Friends

Andi Unexpected book
#1
Andi Unexpected
Written by Amanda Flower
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
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. :)

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.

The Day of the Dead Mystery book
#2
The Day of the Dead Mystery
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

The Aldens are visiting friends for a big Dia de los Muertos celebration. The kids love learning about the holiday and helping out—that is until mysterious events threaten to ruin everyone's preparations. Can the Aldens figure out what’s going on and help their friends save the celebration?

Spy Ski School book
#3
Spy Ski School
Written and illustrated by Stuart Gibbs
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Twelve-year-old Ben's unexpected success outside the classroom causes the CIA to activate him for a mission to become friends with Jessica Shang, daughter of a suspected Chinese crime boss.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Howard Wallace, - 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."

  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. 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?

Want to see even more books about making friends and sleuthing?

How about books about sleuthing?

Books About Starting School & Making Friends

The Invisible Boy book
#1
The Invisible Boy
Written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Patrice Barton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
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.

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.

Little Owl's First Day book
#2
Little Owl's First Day
Written by Debi Gliori and illustrated by Alison Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

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.

Albie Newton book
#3
Albie Newton
Written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Ester Garay
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

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?

Honorable Mentions
  1. Wemberly Worried - 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.

  2. Kindergarten, Here I Come! - Get ready for school with these fun poems! This adorable picture book celebrates all the familiar milestones and moments shared by every single kindergartener. Whether it’s the first-day-of-school jitters or the hundredth-day-of-school party, every aspect of the kindergarten experience is introduced with a light and funny poem–not to mention charming illustrations.

  3. Twig - 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!

  4. 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.

Want to see even more books about making friends and starting school?

How about books about starting school?

Books About Bravery & Making Friends

Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe book
#1
Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Written and illustrated by C.S. Lewis
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-14
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

This is a wonderful rendition of a timeless classic. An adventurous tale of mythical creatures and adventures, with friendship being a key theme. The children in C. S. Lewis's story make friends with more than just humans though...

This hardcover edition, featuring the original jacket art and black-and-white illustrations by Pauline Baynes, allows readers to celebrate the book that started it all. In 1950, C. S. Lewis introduced the world to Narnia and its unforgettable characters. Over sixty years later, readers of all ages are still enchanted by the magical series. Four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie—step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the second book in C. S. Lewis's classic fantasy series, which has been captivating readers of all ages for over sixty years. This is a stand-alone read, but if you would like to journey back to Narnia, pick up The Horse and His Boy, the third book in The Chronicles of Narnia.

Piggy: Let's Be Friends! book
#2
Piggy: Let's Be Friends!
Written and illustrated by Trevor Lai
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from 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.

Piggy proves his heart is as big as his glasses by helping a friend in need in this sweet board book. Piggy loves reading books, having tea parties, and most of all, making new friends! One day he sees a little mole across his garden. Before Piggy can get to know him, the mole hides underground. Miles loves reading books and baking cakes, and he would love to have a friend! But the world above makes him so nervous . . . Can Piggy find a way to help Miles out of his shell? This sweet story of friendship from big-hearted Piggy continues the series that is perfect for fans of Salina Yoon and Dan Santat.

The Red Boat book
#3
The Red Boat
Written and 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
  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. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Lions & Liars - Holes meets The Goonies in the highly anticipated second middle-grade novel from the author of Gertie's Leap to Greatness!

Want to see even more books about making friends and bravery?

How about books about bravery?

Books About Monsters & Making Friends

Spike, the Mixed-up Monster book
#1
Spike, the Mixed-up Monster
Written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

This cute monster has to figure out how to navigate through the adventure of making friends. Very fun!

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.

Maurice the Unbeastly book
#2
Maurice the Unbeastly
Written by Amy Dixon and 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.

I Will Fight Monsters for You book
#3
I Will Fight Monsters for You
Written by Santi Balmes and 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!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Monster Trouble - 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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 even more books about making friends and monsters?

How about books about monsters?

Books About Moving & Making Friends

Andi Unexpected book
#1
Andi Unexpected
Written by Amanda Flower
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
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. :)

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.

Ella WHO? book
#2
Ella WHO?
Written by Linda Ashman and 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.

Neville book
#3
Neville
Written by Norton Juster and illustrated by G Brian Karas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Written by the acclaimed author of The Phantom Tollbooth, this Amazon Best Picture Book of the Year is a simply told story about a boy who moves to a new neighborhood and finds a unique way to make friends. With whimsical illustrations by award-winning illustrator G. Brian Karas, here is a read-aloud that's great for storytime, and is sure to be a hit among fans of Juster, Karas, and anyone who is "the new kid on the block."

Honorable Mentions
  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. For Black Girls Like Me - 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

Want to see even more books about making friends and moving?

How about books about moving?

Books About Family & Making Friends

Andi Unexpected book
#1
Andi Unexpected
Written by Amanda Flower
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
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. :)

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.

The Magic Misfits book
#2
The Magic Misfits
Written by Neil Patrick Harris and illustrated by Kyle Hinton, Lissy Marlin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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!)

Dory Fantasmagory book
#3
Dory Fantasmagory
Written and illustrated by Abby Hanlon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Dory, the youngest in her family, is a girl with a very active imagination, and she spends the summer playing with her imaginary friend, pretending to be a dog, battling monsters, and generally driving her family nuts.

Honorable Mentions
  1. 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.

  2. For Black Girls Like Me - 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.

  3. Magnolia Mudd and the Super Jumptastic Launcher Deluxe - Magnolia Mudd's Uncle Jamie is the very BEST grown-up. He always invents cool things with her . . . until the day he and Miss Emily announce their engagement. That's bad enough--but even worse, Miss Emily wants Magnolia to be a FLOWER GIRL! No way is Magnolia tossing petals. But maybe Uncle Jamie's new bride-to-be is more fun that Magnolia imagined . . .

  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 even more books about making friends and family?

How about books about family?

Books About Dogs & Making Friends

Ruff!: And the Wonderfully Amazing Busy Day book
#1
Ruff!: And the Wonderfully Amazing Busy Day
Written and illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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.

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.

The Very Very Very Long Dog book
#2
The Very Very Very Long Dog
Written and illustrated by Julia Patton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

"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.

The Doghouse book
#3
The Doghouse
Written and illustrated by Jan Thomas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Three Little Pugs - 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?

  2. Pip & Pup - An adorable baby chick and puppy become barnyard friends in this wordless picture book from Newbery Honor author Eugene Yelchin. Across the barnyard, Pip the chick spots a new friend to play with—Pup! But Pup isn't sure he likes how Pip plays—too rough. These two friends will weather the storm though. A bright, fun celebration of spring and friendship! - GODWIN BOOKS -

  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!

Want to see even more books about making friends and dogs?

How about books about dogs?

Books About Bullying & Making Friends

The Invisible Boy book
#1
The Invisible Boy
Written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Patrice Barton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9
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.

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.

The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! book
#2
The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!
Written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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?

My Friend Maggie book
#3
My Friend Maggie
Written and 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"

Honorable Mentions
  1. 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.

  2. Llama Llama and the Bully Goat - 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

Want to see even more books about making friends and bullying?

How about books about bullying?

Books About Being Different & Making Friends

A Unicorn Named Sparkle book
#1
A Unicorn Named Sparkle
Written and 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.

Maurice the Unbeastly book
#2
Maurice the Unbeastly
Written by Amy Dixon and 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.

Elwood Bigfoot book
#3
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?"

Honorable Mentions
  1. Penny and Penelope - 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.

  2. Twig - 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!

  3. Friends - A girl from a faraway place begins her first day at school. She doesn’t speak the language and she looks different. She just doesn't fit in. But one day, she makes an unexpected friend—a squirrel! Then a rabbit joins them. Soon the girl’s fuzzy woodland friends are followed by human ones and school becomes more fun! When a surprising new student joins the class, the girl and her new friends know just how to make him feel at home.

  4. Florence & Leon - 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.

Want to see even more books about making friends and being different?

How about books about being different?

Books About Pets & Making Friends

A Unicorn Named Sparkle book
#1
A Unicorn Named Sparkle
Written and 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.

Papillon: The Very Fluffy Kitty book
#2
Papillon: The Very Fluffy Kitty
Written and illustrated by Anna 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.

Dory Fantasmagory book
#3
Dory Fantasmagory
Written and illustrated by Abby Hanlon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Dory, the youngest in her family, is a girl with a very active imagination, and she spends the summer playing with her imaginary friend, pretending to be a dog, battling monsters, and generally driving her family nuts.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1! - 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Pip & Pup - An adorable baby chick and puppy become barnyard friends in this wordless picture book from Newbery Honor author Eugene Yelchin. Across the barnyard, Pip the chick spots a new friend to play with—Pup! But Pup isn't sure he likes how Pip plays—too rough. These two friends will weather the storm though. A bright, fun celebration of spring and friendship! - GODWIN BOOKS -

  4. Mary Had a Little Lab - Mary is an enterprising young inventor. She wants a pet, but it isn’t one she can easily buy…so she makes one with the Sheepinator! Mary’s pet sheep and her new invention make her popular with her classmates. But when she starts making sheep for her new friends, things go hilariously awry. Can Mary invent a way to fix this mess?

Want to see even more books about making friends and pets?

How about books about pets?

Books About Helping Others & Making Friends

The Fix-It Friends: Three's a Crowd book
#1
The Fix-It Friends: Three's a Crowd
Written by Nicole C. Kear and 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?

The Sea Pony book
#2
The Sea Pony
Written by Paula Harrison and illustrated by Sophy Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

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?

The Only Thing Worse Than Witches book
#3
The Only Thing Worse Than Witches
Written by Lauren Magaziner
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. 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.

  2. Everything I Know About You - Misfit Tally is forced to room with queen bee Ava on the seventh-grade field trip to Washington, DC, and discovers several surprising things about her roommate—including the possibility of an eating disorder—in this timely new novel from the author of Star-Crossed and Halfway Normal.

  3. The Last Chip - Percy is a little pigeon, and he's very hungry. Life on the streets is tough, and every time he tries to get hold of a scrap of food, bigger, beefier birds bat him away. He's about to give up when someone offers him her very last chip. A moving and uplifting story about struggle against adversity and the kindness of strangers.

  4. Samson in the Snow - 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.

Want to see even more books about making friends and helping others?

How about books about helping others?

Books About Belonging & Making Friends

The Fix-It Friends: Three's a Crowd book
#1
The Fix-It Friends: Three's a Crowd
Written by Nicole C. Kear and 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?

For Black Girls Like Me book
#2
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.

Halfway Normal book
#3
Halfway Normal
Written and 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
  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 - Suffering rejection and heartache from the other forest animals, Elmore the porcupine finds ways to connect with the other animals and move past his spikes.

Want to see even more books about making friends and belonging?

How about books about belonging?

Books About Trying New Things & Making Friends

Peep and Egg: I'm Not Hatching book
#1
Peep and Egg: I'm Not Hatching
Written by Laura Gehl, Joyce Wan and illustrated by Joyce Wan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

Peep cannot wait for Egg to hatch so they can have fun together, but Egg is not quite ready.

Wemberly Worried book
#2
Wemberly Worried
Written and 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.

My First Day book
#3
My First Day
Written by Leilani Sparrow and illustrated by Dan Taylor
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Get ready for the first day of school with this sweet, reassuring board book. Follow one little boy as he experiences all the firsts a first day of school brings, from his first story to his first friend. When it's time to leave, he can't wait for another day at school!

Honorable Mentions
  1. 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.

  2. Train! - A train-loving baby elephant is excited to go on a real train, but when the other baby animals want to play with different vehicles, he becomes upset, until he tries some of the other toys for himself.

  3. Ogilvy - 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.

  4. How Do You Do? - Water Buffalo and Crane's field is dry, empty, and hot--so hot that they can barely think of anything else. Every day is the same . . . Until one day, they hear something new. "How do you do?" When Goat dances into their lives, Water Buffalo and Crane can't help but join in. Suddenly their field doesn't seem dry, empty, and hot at all. Even after Goat dances away, their world is no longer so small. This beautiful story about widening your horizons and making new friends, brought to life with stunning illustrations by Gianna Marino, shows how all it takes is one special friend to change your world.

Want to see even more books about making friends and trying new things?

How about books about trying new things?

Books About Cats & Making Friends

Hey, Duck! book
#1
Hey, Duck!
Written and 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.

Papillon: The Very Fluffy Kitty book
#2
Papillon: The Very Fluffy Kitty
Written and illustrated by Anna 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.

Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1! book
#3
Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1!
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
  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. 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.

  3. The Three Little Pugs - 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?

  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 even more books about making friends and cats?

How about books about cats?

Books About Imagination & Making Friends

Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe book
#1
Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Written and illustrated by C.S. Lewis
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-14
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

This is a wonderful rendition of a timeless classic. An adventurous tale of mythical creatures and adventures, with friendship being a key theme. The children in C. S. Lewis's story make friends with more than just humans though...

This hardcover edition, featuring the original jacket art and black-and-white illustrations by Pauline Baynes, allows readers to celebrate the book that started it all. In 1950, C. S. Lewis introduced the world to Narnia and its unforgettable characters. Over sixty years later, readers of all ages are still enchanted by the magical series. Four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie—step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the second book in C. S. Lewis's classic fantasy series, which has been captivating readers of all ages for over sixty years. This is a stand-alone read, but if you would like to journey back to Narnia, pick up The Horse and His Boy, the third book in The Chronicles of Narnia.

Dory Fantasmagory book
#2
Dory Fantasmagory
Written and illustrated by Abby Hanlon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Dory, the youngest in her family, is a girl with a very active imagination, and she spends the summer playing with her imaginary friend, pretending to be a dog, battling monsters, and generally driving her family nuts.

The Red Boat book
#3
The Red Boat
Written and 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
  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. 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. 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.

  4. 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!

Want to see even more books about making friends and imagination?

How about books about imagination?

Books About Animals & Making Friends

Reptile Club, The book
#1
Reptile Club, The
Written by Maureen Fergus and illustrated by Elina Ellis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
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.

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!

The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! book
#2
The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!
Written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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?

Elwood Bigfoot book
#3
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?"

Honorable Mentions
  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. Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1! - 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.

  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. Mr. Duck Means Business - Mr. Duck enjoys a quiet morning routine on his private pond every day until other animals mistakenly think he has invited them to join him, in a simple tale that illustrates the importance of friendship.

Want to see even more books about making friends and animals?

How about books about animals?

Books About Being Yourself & Making Friends

Reptile Club, The book
#1
Reptile Club, The
Written by Maureen Fergus and illustrated by Elina Ellis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
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.

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!

Maurice the Unbeastly book
#2
Maurice the Unbeastly
Written by Amy Dixon and 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.

Dory Fantasmagory book
#3
Dory Fantasmagory
Written and illustrated by Abby Hanlon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

Dory, the youngest in her family, is a girl with a very active imagination, and she spends the summer playing with her imaginary friend, pretending to be a dog, battling monsters, and generally driving her family nuts.

Honorable Mentions
  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. Little Juniper Makes It BIG - 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.

  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. 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! "

Want to see even more books about making friends and being yourself?

How about books about being yourself?

Books About Mystery & Making Friends

The Day of the Dead Mystery book
#1
The Day of the Dead Mystery
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

The Aldens are visiting friends for a big Dia de los Muertos celebration. The kids love learning about the holiday and helping out—that is until mysterious events threaten to ruin everyone's preparations. Can the Aldens figure out what’s going on and help their friends save the celebration?

Spy Ski School book
#2
Spy Ski School
Written and illustrated by Stuart Gibbs
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Twelve-year-old Ben's unexpected success outside the classroom causes the CIA to activate him for a mission to become friends with Jessica Shang, daughter of a suspected Chinese crime boss.

Howard Wallace, book
#3
Howard Wallace,
Written and 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."

Honorable Mentions
  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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!

  4. Ruby and Olivia - A spooky middle-grade story that's full of fun, friendship, and humor--perfect for fans of Ingrid Law and Lisa Graff. Ruby is bold and opinionated, while Olivia has always been respectful and well behaved. But Olivia's good-girl image is tarnished when she takes the fall for her twin sister's misdeed. And now Olivia is stuck with Ruby all summer--at a community service day camp for troublemakers. To kick off the spirit of service, the campers are tasked with cataloging the contents of Live Oaks, a historic mansion in their town. Sorting through objects in an old house sounds boring, and working together is the last thing the girls want to do, but the stuff is actually kind of cool. There's everything from mink stoles to golf clubs to antique dolls . . . and . . . wait . . . is that doll watching them? It isn't long until little tricks--like mysterious music playing, doors slamming, and shadows rising--start to spook the girls. They'd like to think the other campers are pranking them, but they soon realize that this empty mansion might not be uninhabited after all. To solve the mystery at Live Oaks, Ruby and Olivia will have to put their old grudges aside and figure out how to be a team. This gently creepy middle-grade story is full of all the heart, humor, and authenticity that make Rachel Hawkins a favorite with kids and teachers alike.

Want to see even more books about making friends and mystery?

How about books about mystery?