An Award-Winning Book Club for Kids
Shop Now

Peer Pressure: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about peer pressure?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to peer pressure. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about peer pressure.

Our list includes picture books and chapter books. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about peer pressure, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Hey Little Ant to popular sellers like Goodbye Stranger to some of our favorite hidden gems like Nugget and Fang: Friends Forever—or Snack Time?.

We hope this list of kids books about peer pressure can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Top 10 Books About Peer Pressure

Nugget and Fang: Friends Forever--or Snack Time? book
#1
Nugget and Fang: Friends Forever--or Snack Time?
Written by Tammi Sauer & illustrated by Michael Slack
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Friends forever—or snack time?

In the deep ocean, tiny Nugget and big, toothy Fang get along swimmingly—until Nugget’s first day of minnow school. There Nugget learns that minnows are supposed to be afraid of sharks! To regain Nugget’s trust, Fang takes desperate (and hilarious) measures. But it’s not until his big sharp teeth save the entire school that minnows learn this shark is no foe. Fantastically stylized artwork adds even more humor to this undersea story of unlikely friendship

My Friend Maggie book
#2
My Friend Maggie
Written & illustrated by Hannah Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“Paula and Maggie are best friends until Paula starts playing with some new friends instead, but when her new playmates turn on her, it’s Maggie who rushes to Paula’s defense”

Leaping Lemmings! book
#3
Leaping Lemmings!
Written by John Briggs & illustrated by Nicola Slater
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Lemmings look alike, sound alike, and act alike. So if one jumps off a cliff, the others follow . . . except Larry. Larry s “very” independent-minded. But can he teach his fellow lemmings to think for themselves? John Briggs has created a wonderfully funny, quirky tale about doing your own thing, while Nicola Slater s illustrations capture all the humor and pathos in Larry s situation.”

Tricky book
#4
Tricky
Written & illustrated by Kari Rust
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

An old dog learns new tricks in this story about righting wrongs

The Right One for Roderic book
#5
The Right One for Roderic
Written & illustrated by Violeta Noy
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

What happens when one little ghost wants to stand out? All ghosts wear white sheets. That’s just what ghosts do. White sheets are good for haunting people, and they make the ghosts feel like part of one big family. But one little ghost named Roderic wants to wear something different. He tries all sorts of things: a bag, a rug, a boot. Can he find the right one for him? Find out in this colorful picture book from debut author-illustrator Violeta Noy.

Quinny & Hopper book
#6
Quinny & Hopper
Written by Adriana Brad Schanen & illustrated by Greg Swearingen
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Quinny has a lot to say. Hopper gets to the point.

Quinny has one speed: very, very, extra-very fast. Hopper proceeds with caution.

Quinny has big ideas. Hopper has smart solutions.

Quinny and Hopper couldn’t be more different. They are an unstoppable team.

But when summer ends, things suddenly aren’t the same. Can Quinny and Hopper stick together in the face of stylish bullies, a killer chicken, and the brand-new Third Grade Rules-especially the one that says they aren’t allowed to be friends anymore?

Odd Dog Out book
#7
Odd Dog Out
Written & illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A heartwarming and poignant story from award-winning creator Rob Biddulph about the power of embracing your true colors. Perfect for fans of Peter Brown’s Tiger Goes Wild.

It’s a dog’s life in the big, busy city, but there’s one lonely pup who doesn’t quite fit in. She behaves differently from the rest, sports rainbow in a sea of gray, and marches to the beat of her own drum.

She’s one Odd Dog.

Join Odd Dog as she journeys to the other side of the world to find her place in it, only for her to discover that maybe she’s meant to be right where she started.

And check out Rob Biddulph’s other books for children, including:

Blown Away

The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!

Fly Flies book
#8
Fly Flies
Written by Ziggy Hanaor & illustrated by Alice Bowsher
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

Fly just wants to have fun flying, but everyone she meets thinks she’s doing it all WRONG!

Fly is happily practicing her flying in the park, doing some wibbles and some wobbles and some waveys. Blackbird, Seagull, Starling and Hawk take turns giving Fly advice about the best way to fly; fly in a straight line, glide on the wind, fly in a flock, dive onto your food…. Fly tries to take their advice on board, but each time finds that this is not HER way to fly. With a sweet, witty twist at the end, this is a delightful book about staying true to yourself in the face of people who insist they know better.

Double Trouble book
#9
Double Trouble
Written & illustrated by Joanne Levy
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Victoria Adelman is lonely. Her best friend has moved away, leaving her to spend the summer alone. One day, on her way home from a bat mitzvah, she meets Jazzy, her next-door neighbors’ granddaughter. Tori hopes her friendless status is about to change.

Later, in her garden, she meets Jazzy again, but Jazzy doesn’t recognize the filthy, smelly girl as the one she met earlier. In a moment of insecurity, Tori tells Jazzy that the girl she met before was her twin sister, Vicky. Tori is sure she can fake being that girl in the dress—it’s only for two weeks.

But then Jazzy announces she’s staying with her grandparents for the school year. Tori needs to figure out what to do: come clean and lose her new friend, or live her life as a fake.

Where Oliver Fits book
#10
Where Oliver Fits
Written & illustrated by Cale Atkinson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Oliver has always dreamed about where he will fit. Will he be in the mane of a unicorn? The tentacle of a pirate squid? The helmet of an astronaut? When he finally goes in search of his perfect place, he finds that trying to fit in is a lot harder than he thought. But like any puzzle, a little trial and error leads to a solution, and Oliver figures out exactly where he belongs.

Where Oliver Fits is a sweet and funny story that explores all the highs and lows of learning to be yourself and shows that fitting in isn’t always the best fit.

Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Peer Pressure and...

Books About Peer Pressure and Being Yourself

Leaping Lemmings!
Written by John Briggs & illustrated by Nicola Slater
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Lemmings look alike, sound alike, and act alike. So if one jumps off a cliff, the others follow . . . except Larry. Larry s “very” independent-minded. But can he teach his fellow lemmings to think for themselves? John Briggs has created a wonderfully funny, quirky tale about doing your own thing, while Nicola Slater s illustrations capture all the humor and pathos in Larry s situation.”

The Right One for Roderic
Written & illustrated by Violeta Noy
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

What happens when one little ghost wants to stand out? All ghosts wear white sheets. That’s just what ghosts do. White sheets are good for haunting people, and they make the ghosts feel like part of one big family. But one little ghost named Roderic wants to wear something different. He tries all sorts of things: a bag, a rug, a boot. Can he find the right one for him? Find out in this colorful picture book from debut author-illustrator Violeta Noy.

Odd Dog Out
Written & illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A heartwarming and poignant story from award-winning creator Rob Biddulph about the power of embracing your true colors. Perfect for fans of Peter Brown’s Tiger Goes Wild.

It’s a dog’s life in the big, busy city, but there’s one lonely pup who doesn’t quite fit in. She behaves differently from the rest, sports rainbow in a sea of gray, and marches to the beat of her own drum.

She’s one Odd Dog.

Join Odd Dog as she journeys to the other side of the world to find her place in it, only for her to discover that maybe she’s meant to be right where she started.

And check out Rob Biddulph’s other books for children, including:

Blown Away

The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Fly Flies - Fly just wants to have fun flying, but everyone she meets thinks she’s doing it all WRONG! Fly is happily practicing her flying in the park, doing some wibbles and some wobbles and some waveys. Blackbird, Seagull, Starling and Hawk take turns giving Fly advice about the best way to fly; fly in a straight line, glide on the wind, fly in a flock, dive onto your food…. Fly tries to take their advice on board, but each time finds that this is not HER way to fly. With a sweet, witty twist at the end, this is a delightful book about staying true to yourself in the face of people who insist they know better.

  2. Where Oliver Fits - Oliver has always dreamed about where he will fit. Will he be in the mane of a unicorn? The tentacle of a pirate squid? The helmet of an astronaut? When he finally goes in search of his perfect place, he finds that trying to fit in is a lot harder than he thought. But like any puzzle, a little trial and error leads to a solution, and Oliver figures out exactly where he belongs. Where Oliver Fits is a sweet and funny story that explores all the highs and lows of learning to be yourself and shows that fitting in isn’t always the best fit.

  3. The Favorite Book - From the author-illustrator of Do You Believe in Unicorns? comes a sweet, colorful celebration of how we choose the things we love best. Have you ever thought about how your favorite things became your favorites in the first place? Sometimes picking a favorite can be easy: you know from the moment you see it. And sometimes, selecting one can take a little longer as you consider all the options. The choice is yours: you can have many favorites or none at all. You might even find that your favorite changes. From colors to animals to the perfect hat, there are so many things to love . . . and even help you learn a little about yourself in the process. Playful and thought-provoking, this cheerful rhyming story encourages young readers to reflect on how they make decisions and pick their own favorite — or two.

  4. Maximillian Villainous - For anyone who loved Leonardo, the Terrible Monster, this is a humorous and important book about learning to follow your heart and proving that kindness can outweigh villainy any day. Maximillian Villainous is a monster who doesn’t have the heart to be a villain. His famous family pulls pranks on the likes of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, and Max spends his time undoing them. So when he brings home a bunny to be his sidekick, Max’s disapproving mother hatches a plan. She challenges Max and the bunny to become a devious duo; otherwise . . . the bunny hops. If they want to stay together, Max and the bunny have no choice but to go against their nature. They blunder into villainy with comical effect until Max discovers that embracing his good heart may just be the key to pulling off the most devious deed of all and winning his family’s acceptance. Delightfully fun and irreverent, Maximillian Villainous is an empowering story about embracing one’s true self and finding acceptance. Up and coming illustrator Lesley Breen Withrow brings the characters to life with bold and colorful illustrations in a style reminiscent of Richard Scarry.

Books About Peer Pressure and Social Themes

Nugget and Fang: Friends Forever--or Snack Time?
Written by Tammi Sauer & illustrated by Michael Slack
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Friends forever—or snack time?

In the deep ocean, tiny Nugget and big, toothy Fang get along swimmingly—until Nugget’s first day of minnow school. There Nugget learns that minnows are supposed to be afraid of sharks! To regain Nugget’s trust, Fang takes desperate (and hilarious) measures. But it’s not until his big sharp teeth save the entire school that minnows learn this shark is no foe. Fantastically stylized artwork adds even more humor to this undersea story of unlikely friendship

Tricky
Written & illustrated by Kari Rust
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

An old dog learns new tricks in this story about righting wrongs

Hey Little Ant
Written by Phillip M. Hoose and Hannah Hoose & illustrated by Debbie Tilley
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A song in which an ant pleads with the kid who is tempted to squish it.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Berenstain Bears Get Their Kicks - When Brother and Sister try out for soccer teams, Papa is at first disappointed that they do not want to play baseball, but he changes his mind when he sees them practice.

  2. Those Shoes - Jeremy, who longs to have the black high tops that everyone at school seems to have but his grandmother cannot afford, is excited when he sees them for sale in a thrift shop and decides to buy them even though they are the wrong size.

  3. Chicken Little: The Real and Totally True Tale - Who are you calling little? Chicken Little is NOT afraid of anything. Well, okay, maybe a mysterious BONK to the head can produce panic. But only momentarily. It’s not as though she meant to send the barnyard into a tailspin, thinking that the sky was falling. How ridiculous! But can she calm her feathered friends with facts and reason? A timeless favorite becomes a clever cautionary tale in this FUNNY, fresh, and timely picture book debut by cartoonist, Sam Wedelich!

  4. Mya’s Strategy to Save the World - Twelve-year-old Mya Parsons could save the world and organize her family, if only she had her own cell phone. A Dork Diaries for today’s socially conscious young readers. Mya Parsons runs her school’s social justice club with her best friend, Cleo. Her lifelong desire is to work for the United Nations and change the world, and then bask in all the ensuing adulation. Her more immediate desire is to get a phone, preferably one like Cleo’s, with a leopard-print case to match. When her distracted dad and her long-distance mom (temporarily in Myanmar taking care of Mya’s grandmother) both say no, no way, and possibly never, Mya launches a campaign to prove herself reliable and deserving. She advertises her babysitting services, takes on more responsibility around the house, and attempts to supervise her sister’s skateboarding lessons. Her efforts leave her ego bruised and the kitchen slightly scorched. She’s no closer to touch-screen victory, let alone the Nobel Peace Prize she deserves. But all that changes after an accident leaves Mya to take charge–an experience which helps her realize how much she’s grown, with or without access to proper communications.

Books About Peer Pressure and Bullying

My Friend Maggie
Written & illustrated by Hannah Harrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“Paula and Maggie are best friends until Paula starts playing with some new friends instead, but when her new playmates turn on her, it’s Maggie who rushes to Paula’s defense”

The Queen Bee and Me
Written by Gillian McDunn
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

From the author of Caterpillar Summer comes the story of a young girl navigating her friendship with the middle school Queen Bee.

Meg has been best friends with Beatrix forever. Everyone at school wants to be like confident, decisive Beatrix, and Meg has always felt the same. But this year, Meg wants to take a science course instead of dance class. She’d rather do what makes her happy—not what Beatrix wants.

When a quirky girl named Hazel moves to town, Meg is partnered with her on a science project about bees. Meg learns a lot about being Queen Bee—in a hive and in middle school. As Beatrix is less than welcoming to Hazel, Meg feels her loyalty fraying. Choosing Hazel could mean ending her oldest friendship; a choice more difficult than Meg ever expected.

By turns heartbreaking and empowering, The Queen Bee and Me explores the challenging dynamics of middle-school friendship in a way readers of any age will appreciate.

Dazzling Travis
Written by Hannah Carmona Dias & illustrated by Brenda Figueroa
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Travis sets no limits to what he enjoys doing. Shopping and football, ballet and dress-up make Travis a one of a kind boy! But when some of the kids on the playground begin to pick on him, Travis truly dazzles. This empowering story encourages both boys and girls to challenge the social norm, revealing their true selves.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Frog Boots - There’s only one thing Dylan wants: frog boots! But what happens when this little boy discovers they’re meant for . . . girls? School shopping is no fun for Dylan—until he spots a pair of boots decorated with poison-dart frogs. They’re so cool that he even wears them to bed, where he discovers they glow in the dark! He can’t wait to wear them to class. But before he can show them off in circle time, a kid exclaims: “Ms. Kory, that boy’s wearing girl boots.” And, suddenly, when everyone’s laughing at him, the boots don’t seem so wonderful anymore. Will he ever want to wear them again? A timely story about embracing what you love, staying true to yourself, and defying stereotypes.

  2. Genesis Begins Again - This deeply sensitive and powerful debut novel tells the story of a thirteen-year-old who must overcome internalized racism and a verbally abusive family to finally learn to love herself. There are ninety-six things Genesis hates about herself. She knows the exact number because she keeps a list. Like #95: Because her skin is so dark, people call her charcoal and eggplant—even her own family. And #61: Because her family is always being put out of their house, belongings laid out on the sidewalk for the world to see. When your dad is a gambling addict and loses the rent money every month, eviction is a regular occurrence. What’s not so regular is that this time they all don’t have a place to crash, so Genesis and her mom have to stay with her grandma. It’s not that Genesis doesn’t like her grandma, but she and Mom always fight—Grandma haranguing Mom to leave Dad, that she should have gone back to school, that if she’d married a lighter skinned man none of this would be happening, and on and on and on. But things aren’t all bad. Genesis actually likes her new school; she’s made a couple friends, her choir teacher says she has real talent, and she even encourages Genesis to join the talent show. But how can Genesis believe anything her teacher says when her dad tells her the exact opposite? How can she stand up in front of all those people with her dark, dark skin knowing even her own family thinks lesser of her because of it? Why, why, why won’t the lemon or yogurt or fancy creams lighten her skin like they’re supposed to? And when Genesis reaches #100 on the list of things she hates about herself, will she continue on, or can she find the strength to begin again?

  3. Out of Bounds - Fans of Alex Morgan’s The Kicks will love this new series by former soccer player, coach, and motivational speaker, about a group of friends and the lessons they learn through their love of the world’s most popular sport. Makena James absolutely loves soccer. She knows it’s the best sport around and she feels lucky that the teammates on her super competitive and super skilled team, the Brookville Breakers, feel the same way. The girls always have and always will be Soccer Sisters. But when a new person joins the Breakers, everything changes. Skylar is a great player and really cool-but she also doesn’t always play by the rules. Makena, hoping to impress Skylar, starts acting out and running wild, off and on the field. But with a huge tournament looming, Mac’s got tough choices ahead. Choices that will affect her family, her friends, and the game she loves. Can she staytrue to what the Soccer Sisters believe in and win the big game?

  4. How to Be a Lion - In this timely and charming story about the importance of being true to yourself, mindfulness, and standing by your friends, we meet Leonard, a lion, and his best friend Marianne, a… duck. Leonard and Marianne have a happy life together—talking, playing, writing poems, and making wishes—until one day a pack of bullies questions whether it’s right for a lion and a duck to be pals. Leonard soon learns there are many ways to be a lion, and many ways to be a friend, and that sometimes finding just the right words can change the world… This sweet, funny, thoughtful, and much-needed story will open up readers’ eyes to the importance of being who they are and not backing down to hurtful criticism. It’s an empowering tale about connecting with others and choosing kindness over bullying, and shows children how angry and provocative words can be overcome by empathy and courage.

Want to see books about bullying?

Books About Peer Pressure and Individuality

Quinny & Hopper
Written by Adriana Brad Schanen & illustrated by Greg Swearingen
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-11

Quinny has a lot to say. Hopper gets to the point.

Quinny has one speed: very, very, extra-very fast. Hopper proceeds with caution.

Quinny has big ideas. Hopper has smart solutions.

Quinny and Hopper couldn’t be more different. They are an unstoppable team.

But when summer ends, things suddenly aren’t the same. Can Quinny and Hopper stick together in the face of stylish bullies, a killer chicken, and the brand-new Third Grade Rules-especially the one that says they aren’t allowed to be friends anymore?

Ogilvy
Written by Deborah Underwood & illustrated by T. L. McBeth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The clothes don’t make the bunny in this new picture book from New York Times-bestselling author Deborah Underwood, illustrated by T. L. McBeth. When Ogilvy moves to a new town, the possibilities feel endless. There are so many new bunny friends and fun things to do together! But in this town, bunnies in dresses play ball and knit socks, and bunnies in sweaters make art and climb rocks. Ogilvy wants to do everything—and won’t let a sweater or a dress get in the way.

Cyril and Pat
Written & illustrated by Emily Gravett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From author-illustrator Emily Gravett comes a warm and funny picture book about friendship and loving someone different from yourself. Cyril is a squirrel. Pat is a rat. They have a lot of adventures and fun together. But no one else thinks they should be friends. In Emily Gravett’s brilliantly funny story, two friends learn that some things are more important than being the same, or following others.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Hueys in The New Sweater - The Hueys are small and mischievous, unique compared to the world’s other creatures–but hardly unique to one another. You see, each Huey looks the same, thinks the same, and does the same exact things. So you can imagine the chaos when one of them has the idea of knitting a sweater! It seems like a good idea at the time–he is quite proud of it, in fact–but it does make him different from the others. So the rest of the Hueys, in turn, decide that they want to be different too! How? By knitting the exact same sweater, of course! The first in a series of child-friendly concept books by the #1 bestselling artist of The Day the Crayons Quit, How to Catch a Star, Stuck, and This Moose Belongs to Me, The New Sweater proves that standing apart can be accomplished even when standing together.

  2. A Boy Named Queen - Evelyn is both aghast and fascinated when a new boy comes to grade five and tells everyone his name is Queen. Queen wears shiny gym shorts and wants to organize a chess/environment club. His father plays weird loud music and has tattoos. How will the class react? How will Evelyn? Evelyn is an only child with a strict routine and an even stricter mother. And yet in her quiet way she notices things. She takes particular notice of this boy named Queen. The way the bullies don’t seem to faze him. The way he seems to live by his own rules. When it turns out that they take the same route home from school, Evelyn and Queen become friends, almost against Evelyn’s better judgment. She even finds Queen irritating at times. Why doesn’t he just shut up and stop attracting so much attention to himself? Yet he is the most interesting person she has ever met. So when she receives a last-minute invitation to his birthday party, she knows she must somehow persuade her mother to let her go, even if it means ignoring the No Gifts request and shopping for what her mother considers to be an appropriate gift, appropriately wrapped with “boy” wrapping paper. Her visit to Queen’s house opens Evelyn’s eyes to a whole new world, including an unconventional goody bag (leftover potato latkes wrapped in waxed paper and a pair of barely used red sneakers). And when it comes time for her to take something to school for Hype and Share, Evelyn suddenly looks at her chosen offering — her mother’s antique cream jug — and sees new and marvelous possibilities.

  3. The Society of Distinguished Lemmings - In a society of lemmings, can a bear ever belong? The Society of Distinguished Lemmings aims to be distinguished in abosultely everything. It takes an awful lot of rules to be so distinguished, including: no rolling around, no climbing about, and certainly no splashing in the mud! But Bertie has had quite enough of the society and all its rules. After venturing outside, Bertie discovers a bear, who is very unlike a lemming. With the bear’s help, Bertie learns that prancing about in the wild is quite a lot of fun! But when the other lemmings find out about the bear, they decide everything about him will have to change if he’s ever to fit in. Will the Society ever accept Bertie’s new friend, or is the bear simply too big and clumsy of a creature to be distinguished? This hilarious tale features valuable themes of finding new friends, challenging peers, and questioning the rules. Readers will return to the story again and again to discover the quirks of every distinguished lemming while also learning about the importance of staying true to yourself amidst pressure to conform.

Books About Peer Pressure and Self-esteem

Double Trouble
Written & illustrated by Joanne Levy
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Victoria Adelman is lonely. Her best friend has moved away, leaving her to spend the summer alone. One day, on her way home from a bat mitzvah, she meets Jazzy, her next-door neighbors’ granddaughter. Tori hopes her friendless status is about to change.

Later, in her garden, she meets Jazzy again, but Jazzy doesn’t recognize the filthy, smelly girl as the one she met earlier. In a moment of insecurity, Tori tells Jazzy that the girl she met before was her twin sister, Vicky. Tori is sure she can fake being that girl in the dress—it’s only for two weeks.

But then Jazzy announces she’s staying with her grandparents for the school year. Tori needs to figure out what to do: come clean and lose her new friend, or live her life as a fake.

Tiny and the Big Dig
Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker & illustrated by Matt Myers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Sniff! Sniff-sniff!

I smell a bone. A bone that’s BIG.

I’ll get it out, I’ll dig and dig.

A big, BIG bone! I know it’s there!

It will take work, but I don’t care!

Tiny may be a small dog, but don’t let that fool you. He’s a pooch with power who knows what he wants. And he’s going for it. But oh, those pesky pessimists — they’re trying to rain on Tiny’s dig-parade!

Thank goodness for one special boy who believes in Tiny, because in the end, this dog’s grit proves that he’s the little pup who could… dig up some giant surprises!

I Can Do Hard Things
Written by Gabi Garcia & illustrated by Charity Russell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

I Can Do Hard Things is a beautiful reminder to tune into and listen to that quiet voice inside so that you can do what’s right for you. I don’t always feel brave, confident or strong. Sometimes it seems easier to follow others along. It’s hard to navigate a world in which we get so many messages about how we should be. We pause. We listen to the quiet voice inside. I connect with the love and strength it brings. It helps me remember: I can do hard things. I Can Do Hard Things: Mindful Affirmations for Kids is the perfect addition to your home or school library. (The book is available in Spanish as Yo Puedo Hacer Cosas Dificiles: Afirmaciones Concientes Para Niños).

Honorable Mentions
  1. Ramona's World - Newbery Medal–winning author Beverly Cleary’s final book in the Ramona series has all of the warmth, realism, and humor of its predecessors. Ramona Quimby can’t wait to start fourth grade. With a new baby sister to brag about, new calluses to show off, and a new best friend to get to know, everything’s going to be great! Or is it? When Ramona’s spelling is atrocious, her teacher, Mrs. Meacham, is firm about her needing to improve. Then a scary incident at a friend’s house leaves Ramona feeling at fault. Who knew growing up could be filled with such complicated situations?

  2. Leo the Late Bloomer - Leo isn’t reading, or writing, or drawing, or even speaking, and his father is concerned. But Leo’s mother isn’t. She knows her son will do all those things, and more, when he’s ready. ‘Reassuring for other late bloomers, this book is illustrated with beguiling pictures.’ — Saturday Review.

Books About Peer Pressure and Middle School

The Right Hook of Devin Velma
Written & illustrated by Jake Burt
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

Even though he suffers from social anxiety, twelve-year-old Addison agrees to help his best friend achieve social media fame while at a nationally-televised NBA game.

Let's Pretend We Never Met
Written by Melissa Walker & illustrated by Lucy Truman
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Mattie Markham is sweet and winning, very real, and a sixth-grade heroine. Add this book to your treasure shelf.” (Natalie Standiford, author of The Secret Tree)

“A heartwarming and completely charming story about moving on, growing up, and being yourself.” (Sarah Mlynowski, New York Times bestselling author of the Whatever After series)

“A gentle look at the challenges of both fitting in to a new situation and having a friend with special needs.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

“An accessible chapter book with a clear but gently delivered message.” (Booklist)

“I love how this book gets the fragile ecosystem that is middle school. There’s a purity to the voice that feels very real, very Judy Blume. Loved it!” (R.J. Palacio, author of Wonder)

Just Jaime
Written & illustrated by Terri Libenson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Another spot-on story of middle school drama and friendship from Terri Libenson, national bestselling author of Invisible Emmie and Positively Izzy.

Friends. Frenemies. Middle school…

The last day of seventh grade has Jaime and Maya wondering who their real friends are.

Jaime knows something is off with her friend group. They’ve started to exclude her and make fun of the way she dresses and the things she likes. At least she can count on her BFF, Maya, to have her back . . . right?

Maya feels more and more annoyed with Jaime, who seems babyish compared to the other girls in their popular group. It’s like she has nothing in common with Jai anymore. Are their days as BFFs numbered . . . ?

Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Jennifer L. Holm.

Honorable Mentions
  1. All's Faire in Middle School - Calling all Raina Telgemeier fans! The Newbery Honor-winning author of Roller Girl is back with a heartwarming graphic novel about starting middle school, surviving your embarrassing family, and the Renaissance Faire. Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire, and she’s eager to begin her own training as a squire. First, though, she’ll need to prove her bravery. Luckily Impy has just the quest in mind—she’ll go to public school after a life of being homeschooled! But it’s not easy to act like a noble knight-in-training in middle school. Impy falls in with a group of girls who seem really nice (until they don’t) and starts to be embarrassed of her thrift shop apparel, her family’s unusual lifestyle, and their small, messy apartment. Impy has always thought of herself as a heroic knight, but when she does something really mean in order to fit in, she begins to wonder whether she might be more of a dragon after all. As she did in Roller Girl, Victoria Jamieson perfectly—and authentically—captures the bittersweetness of middle school life with humor, warmth, and understanding.

  2. Mango Delight - What happens when your BFF becomes your EFF . . . EX-Friend-Forever? Surviving seventh grade is tough-especially when your BFF dumps you, you lose your spot on the track team, and you cost your dad his job. That’s the mess Mango’s in. THEN her ex-bestie spitefully tricks Mango into auditioning for the school musical and the tables turn: Mango wins the lead role, becomes a YouTube sensation, and attracts the attention of the school’s queen bee. But soon Mango is forced to make tough choices about the kind of friend she wants to have . . . and the kind she wants to be.

  3. Goodbye Stranger - This brilliant, New York Times bestselling novel from the author of the Newbery Medal winner When You Reach Me explores multiple perspectives on the bonds and limits of friendship. Long ago, best friends Bridge, Emily, and Tab made a pact: no fighting. But it’s the start of seventh grade, and everything is changing. Emily’s new curves are attracting attention, and Tab is suddenly a member of the Human Rights Club. And then there’s Bridge. She’s started wearing cat ears and is the only one who’s still tempted to draw funny cartoons on her homework. It’s also the beginning of seventh grade for Sherm Russo. He wonders: what does it mean to fall for a girl—as a friend? By the time Valentine’s Day approaches, the girls have begun to question the bonds—and the limits—of friendship. Can they grow up without growing apart? “Sensitively explores togetherness, aloneness, betrayal and love.” —The New York Times A Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book for Fiction Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, NPR, and more!

  4. Elle of the Ball - From 2015 WNBA MVP, 2016 Olympic gold medalist, and global ambassador to the Special Olympics Elena Delle Donne comes the first novel in a brand-new middle grade series with as much heart as there is game. Elle Deluca is a seventh grader who is tall—not just sort of tall. She’s six feet tall. And for a twelve-year-old girl, this means that her basketball team has high hopes for her changing positions and becoming their starting center. But a new position is not the only footwork she has to learn. Her class’s dance unit in gym is coming up, and that means she has to learn ballroom dance steps with a boy much shorter than her—and perform publically for a grade. In the first book in WNBA MVP and Olympic gold medalist Elena Delle Donne’s Hoops series, Elle must figure out a way to remain herself when others want her to be someone else.

Books About Peer Pressure and Animals

Outfoxed
Written & illustrated by Claudia Boldt
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Harold is unlike any other fox. He hates eating chicken, for one thing. He much prefers reading detective novels. When Harold’s father challenges him to catch a chicken as part of his initiation into adulthood, Harold is faced with a dilemma—should he obey his father and endanger the chicken’s life, or do what his heart tells him is right? The latest title from award-winning illustrator Claudia Boldt, Outfoxed introduces a smart, independent-minded character in Harold the fox and is sure to become a bedtime favorite.

A Normal Pig
Written & illustrated by K-Fai Steele
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Pip is a normal pig who does normal stuff: cooking, painting, and dreaming of what she’ll be when she grows up. But one day a new pig comes to school and starts pointing out all the ways in which Pip is different. Suddenly she doesn’t like any of the same things she used to . . . the things that made her Pip. This charming picture book celebrates all our differences while questioning the idea that there is only one way to be “normal.”

Sloth at the Zoom
Written by Helaine Becker & illustrated by Orbie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

One day, a sloth accidentally gets delivered to the Zoom! She was supposed to be dropped off at the Zzzzzoo, a much more laid-back, slow-paced place. She had been looking forward to long, languorous naps while the sun gently warmed her belly. But at the Zoom, the zebras gallop so fast they leave their stripes in puddles. The monkeys climb so fast they forget to stop at the treetops. And the parrots fly so fast their tails draw rainbows across the sky.

When the sloth tries to make friends, nobody has any time—until the sloth meets a creature who’s a little more her speed, and everyone stops to notice. This is a surprising, delightful, and funny picture book about slowing down to enjoy the little things and making time for what matters.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Philomena's New Glasses - From the creator of Ready Rabbit Gets Ready! comes a hilarious photo-story of sisterhood and one-upmanship. Philomena needs new glasses. Her sister Audrey wants them, too. And if Philomena and Audrey have them, shouldn’t their sister Nora Jane also have them? In this utterly amusing tale of sisterhood, glasses, purses, and dresses, these girls soon make an important discovery. Not everyone needs the same things!

  2. Prudence the Part-Time Cow - Prudence looks like a full-time cow―she wanders through pastures, she swats flies, and she lines up for supper. But Prudence is a part-time cow―she is also a scientist, an architect, and an inventor, studying and building and dreaming and creating. To the other cows in the herd, Prudence is a bit too part-time. She’s just too different to be part of the herd. At first Prudence tries to fit in, suppressing all her scientific smarts and imaginative inventing. But in a moment of inspiration―Cow Power!―Prudence realizes how to show the others that she can be a part-time cow and a full-time member of the herd. Funny and sweet, this is a story for anyone who’s ever felt a bit different.

Want to see books about animals?

Suggested Links