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Resolving Conflict and Friendship: Books For Kids

Children's books often tackle delicate but important issues. Because of its intended audience, children's literature is focused, understandable, and relatable. Problems and matters can be addressed in third person stories, and abstract concepts are shared in memorable stories. For these reasons, children's books can prove especially helpful in teaching kids (and adults) helpful techniques for resolving conflicts, whether at home, at school, in the workplace, and more.

This list compiles the best books in children's literature for showing and teaching conflict resolution. The types of stories vary. Some address conflict resolution directly, while others simply show characters resolving misunderstandings, mistakes, and other problems to again establish peace in relationships and environments.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for young readers ages zero to two. Picture books are great for kids early elementary school age, while chapter books are great for elementary school and early middle school age readers. You can filter the list by book type or browse the full list.

Let us know what titles you would add to the list!

Enemy Pie book
#1
Enemy Pie
Written by Derek Munson and illustrated by Tara Calahan King
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

It was the perfect summer. That is, until Jeremy Ross moved into the house down the street and became neighborhood enemy number one. Luckily Dad had a surefire way to get rid of enemies: Enemy Pie. But part of the secret recipe is spending an entire day playing with the enemy! In this funny yet endearing story, one little boy learns an effective recipe for turning your best enemy into your best friend. Accompanied by charming illustrations, Enemy Pie serves up a sweet lesson in the difficulties and ultimate rewards of making new friends.

Mira and the Big Story book
#2
Mira and the Big Story
Written by Laura Alary and illustrated by Sue Todd
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Mira is a girl with big questions. She knows two different stories about the way the world came to be. Which story is right? Can they both be right? Is there room for more than one way to think about the world and our place in it? Follow her on an inspiring journey as she discovers a story big enough to include everyone. Along the way, Mira learns to respect and revere the traditions and beliefs of others. Teach children kindness and acceptance with this beautifully illustrated and compelling tale. It is sure to keep young ones enthralled.

Settle the Score book
#3
Settle the Score
Written and illustrated by Alex Morgan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Devin is finally catching her stride with the winter soccer league, and as the championships approach, Devin and Jessi’s team has a real shot at coming out on top! Only, Zoe’s team does too, and suddenly things get awkward between the Kicks. Devin tries to keep her head, but she’s torn—she wants her friend to be happy, but she wants to win, too! And Zoe’s too busy strategizing with her new teammates to make time for the Kicks. As the finals get closer, tensions rise until even Frida and Emma don’t know who to root for. Maybe this time the Kicks can’t stand up under the weight of competition.

The Recess Queen book
#4
The Recess Queen
Written by Alexis O'Neill and illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A fresh & original twist on the common issue of bullying. Kids will relate, & parents & teachers will appreciate the story's deft handling of conflict resolution (which happens w/o adult intervention) Mean Jean was Recess Queen and nobody said any different. Nobody swung until Mean Jean swung. Nobody kicked until Mean Jean kicked. Nobody bounced until Mean Jean bounced. If kids ever crossed her, she'd push 'em and smoosh 'em lollapaloosh 'em, hammer 'em, slammer 'em kitz and kajammer 'em. Until a new kid came to school! With her irrepressible spirit, the new girl dethrones the reigning recess bully by becoming her friend in this infectious playground romp.

The Major Eights 2: Scarlet's Big Break book
#5
The Major Eights 2: Scarlet's Big Break
Written by Melody Reed and illustrated by Emilie Pepin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

In book 2 of the Major Eights series, Scarlet goes solo and risks alienating her bandmates. After their Battle of the Bands competition, the girls are famous! Everyone knows who they are now--even strangers recognize them! But the attention starts to go to Scarlet's head, and she decides to sign up for the school's talent show as a solo artist. But what about the Major Eights? Should she really leave the band and her friends behind? With each book told from a different girl's perspective, this series is all about girl power, diversity, and marching to the beat of your own drum!

  1. The 78-Story Treehouse - Andy and Terry live in a 78-story treehouse. (It used to be a 65-story treehouse, but they just keep building more levels!) It has a drive-thru car wash, a courtroom with a robot judge called Edward Gavelhead, a scribbletorium, a combining machine, an ALL-BALL sports stadium, a high-security potato chip storage facility, and an open-air movie theatre with a super-giant screen . . . which is a very useful thing to have now that Terry’s going to be a big-shot movie star! After Andy gets cut out of the movie, he and Terry have a big fight and decide they don’t want to be best friends anymore. But with a herd of sneaky spy cows out to steal all their story ideas, can Andy and Terry make up before it’s too late?

  2. The Major Eights 5: The New Bandmate - In book 5 of the Major Eights series, Jasmine breaks her arm just when the Major Eights have a big show coming up. Can they find a way to save the show? Just before a big show, Jasmine breaks her arm. The Major Eights don't want to let down their audience, so they ask Leslie to sub. But Jasmine is worried the band will like Leslie better. Is this the end of the Major Eights as they know it?

  3. Where Is My Balloon? - Owl and Monkey from I Have a Balloon are back! But what happened to Owl’s balloon? Find out in this hilarious picture book about making mistakes and finding forgiveness. Owl has a balloon. Monkey has a sock with a star and a perfectly shaped hole. But then Owl asks Monkey to hold his balloon, just for a second. What do you think happens? POP! When Owl returns and asks for his balloon, Monkey offers him everything under the sun…except for the balloon. Can their friendship survive this catastrophe? Kirkus Reviews praised Owl and Monkey’s first adventure, I Have a Balloon, “This tightly paced narrative soars,” in a starred review.

  4. Nicola Berry and the Wicked War on the Planet of Whimsy - Nicola and her friends’ whirlwind tour of the galaxy isn’t about to stop! The Space Brigade’s third adventure takes them to a strange pair of planets that couldn’t be more different. On one side is a planet covered in volcanoes. On the other side, a beautiful place full of daydreamy poets. Nicola and the Space Brigade find themselves caught in the middle of a war between the two, and must find a way to make peace before it’s too late!

The Secret Cookie Club book
#10
The Secret Cookie Club
Written and illustrated by Martha Freeman
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Friends make everything better—and so do cookies!—in this warm-hearted novel in the tradition of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, with a middle grade dash of sugar and spice. The campers in Flowerpot Cabin have nothing in common. There’s Grace, the quiet one. Emma, the boss. Olivia, the drama queen. And Lucy, the artist. But one stormy night they come together in the camp kitchen. Baking was their counselor Hannah’s idea to finally get the girls to get along. Now, as they bite into their warm sugar cookies that they’ve made together, they finally seem to be friends. But summer doesn’t last forever. And if the bond is going to survive the long school year, these kids will need a plan, a plan that just might require cookies. So, once camp ends, they stay in touch. First Lucy sends Grace chocolate chip cookies to help her cope with a mean girl at school. Then Grace sends Emma frosted sugar cookies to help her solve the mystery of missing family photos—and Olivia and Lucy get cookies of their own. While they’re at it, the girls just might decide to send their friend Vivek some cookies too.

Play with Me! book
#11
Play with Me!
Written and illustrated by Michelle Lee
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Playtime means very different things to these two spirited friends Pip is full of ideas for what to play: Dress up! Magicians! Dolls! Only, Nico doesn’t want to play any of them, and Pip gets mad. REALLY mad. But don’t worry—Nico finds the perfect way for them to play together. Michelle Lee’s irresistible characters show that finding a way to play together will always hit the right note.

P.S. Send More Cookies book
#12
P.S. Send More Cookies
Written and illustrated by Martha Freeman
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The girls from Flowerpot Cabin learn that there are two things they can count on in life—friendship and cookies—in Martha Freeman’s third novel in the Secret Cookie Club series, which was called “a younger version of Ann Brashares’s The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” by School Library Journal. It’s not all sugar and spice for the girls of Flowerpot Cabin after they leave summer camp. Grace learns she isn’t good at everything when she gets volunteered to dogsit, Emma’s mom has a hard time when her beloved grandmother dies, Olivia’s brother makes a big announcement that starts a family feud, and Lucy isn’t sure how she feels when her dad pops back into her life. Meanwhile, beloved counselor Hannah continues to deal with the fallout from a summer romance. But no matter what tough stuff comes their way, there are two things the members of the Secret Cookie Club can count on: friendship and cookies.

The Monster Next Door book
#13
The Monster Next Door
Written and illustrated by David Soman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In a big field, a boy has a tree house, and one day, he has a neighbor—a monster with a talent for silly dances and funny faces. The two become fast friends, even setting up a pulley line to pass notes between their tree houses. The boy knows just how to celebrate this invention—with music! But the monster’s tuba music is loud. Really loud. WAY. TOO. LOUD. Before the boy can think, he hurls a water balloon at his neighbor to get him to stop. An epic water-balloon fight ensues, until the boy—fed up, spent, done—cuts the pulley line. No more note-passing. No more monster. Can the boy and monster ever be friends again? Does the boy even want to? Maybe he just needs to see things from a new, unexpected perspective.

Rabbit & Possum book
#14
Rabbit & Possum
Written and illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Rabbit likes to leap before she looks. Possum is a little more cautious. Together, they are a dynamic duo ready to charm fans of Frog and Toad or Toot & Puddle! Rabbit has been preparing all day for her best friend Possum’s visit, but when the time comes she finds Possum fast asleep. No matter what Rabbit does, she just can’t wake him up. But then a rustle in the bushes frightens Possum and sends him up a tree—where he gets very, very stuck. Rabbit has any number of ideas to get him down. Unfortunately, they all make Possum a little...uneasy. But best friends never give up. With a little creativity—and a big surprise—Rabbit just might be able to save the day. These unlikely friends and their upbeat humor are just right for fans of Eric Rohmann’s My Friend Rabbit and Kelly Bingham’s Z Is for Moose.

  1. Fun, Fun, Fun! - Croc is grumpy. Ally is happy. Croc sees a problem. Ally finds a solution. The best friends overcome their differences as they go for a swim, shop for hats, and deal with a big bug

  2. Amanda Panda and the Bigger, Better Birthday - Amanda Panda’s birthday is tomorrow. She’ll be the first kid in her class to turn six! But when she gets to the bus stop, her best friend/worst enemy Bitsy announces that today is HER birthday! And her party is planned for Saturday, the same day as Amanda’s! Birthday dreams ruined, Amanda’s can’t keep her temper in check at school. By recess, it looks like Amanda’s birthday plans—and her friendship with Bitsy—is over. But when the girls stop arguing long enough to listen to each other, they come up wtih a birthday plan that is TWICE the fun. Young children will learn about sharing, compromise, and conflict resolution, all the while laughing along with Amanda and Bitsy in this adorable, school-based story from a new favorite character.

  3. Best Season Ever - Katie and her friends Pedro and JoJo disagree over which season of the year is the best.

  4. Friends Forever - "Croc is grumpy. Ally is happy. Croc sees a problem. Ally finds a solution. Whether it's choosing new chairs, going for a walk, or looking for the moon, these best friends will always work together despite their differences"--

Eleanor Won't Share book
#19
Eleanor Won't Share
Written and illustrated by Julie Gassman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Eleanore does not like to share and soon learns a valuable life lesson about sharing and friendship

Pedro for President book
#20
Pedro for President
Written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Tammy Lyon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Pedro runs for class president against his friend Katie Woo.

The Best Club book
#21
The Best Club
Written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Katie Woo and her friends would love to be part of Sophie's new club, but Sophie does not think they, or anyone, is good enough, so they form their own club.

    Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!