The Best Picture Books from Children's Literature for Resolving Conflicts

Looking for a list of the best children's books about resolving conflict?

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.

The Wall in the Middle of the Book book
#2
The Wall in the Middle of the Book
Written and illustrated by Jon Agee
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A knight who feels secure on his side of the wall that divides his book discovers that his side is not as safe as he thought, and the other side is not as threatening.

Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type book
#3
Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type
Written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-8

When Farmer Brown’s cows find a typewriter in the barn they start making demands, and go on strike when the farmer refuses to give them what they want.

Jinx and the Doom Fight Crime! book
#4
Jinx and the Doom Fight Crime!
Written by Lisa Mantchev and illustrated by Samantha Cotterill
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Instead of fighting each other, Jinx and her little brother The Doom spend their days fighting crime, protecting the planet, defending the innocent, and taking lunch breaks.

Mira and the Big Story book
#5
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.

  1. Cedric and the Dragon - Prince Cedric is slow to walk, has a tough time with reading and math, and fails miserably at dragon slaying school. But with kindness and bravery, and his love for hugs, Cedric saves the kingdom. This cheerful picture book teaches kids that there are many ways to solve a problem and reinforces the idea that everyone has something special to offer.

  2. The Recess Queen - 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.

  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. Nerdy Birdy Tweets - Nerdy Birdy and his best friend, Vulture, are very different. Nerdy Birdy loves video games, but Vulture finds them BORING. Vulture loves snacking on dead things, but Nerdy Birdy finds that GROSS. Luckily, you don’t have to agree on everything to still be friends. One day, Nerdy Birdy joins Tweetster, and the friend requests start flying in. Vulture watches as Nerdy Birdy gets swept up in his new friendships, but when she finally gets angry, Nerdy Birdy knows just what to do to make things right.

Gandhi book
#10
Gandhi
Written by Alice B. McGinty and illustrated by Thomas Gonzales
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Mohandas Gandhi’s 24-day March to the Sea, from March 12 to April 5, 1930, was a pivotal moment in India’s quest to become an independent country no longer ruled by Great Britain. With over 70 marchers, Gandhi walked from his hometown near Ahmedabab to the sea coast by the village of Dandi. The march was a non-violent means to protest the taxes that Great Britain had imposed on salt — not the salt that the Indians could get from the sea, but the salt that Great Britain forced them to buy. Gandhi believed that peaceful protests were an effective way to challenge British law, and his peaceful but ultimately successful movement became known as Satyagraha.

On the News book
#11
On the News
Written by Jillian Roberts
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

On the News gently introduces young children to the realities of natural disasters, terrorism and other forms of tragedy. In age-appropriate language and tone, Dr. Roberts explains what tragedy is, the feelings it may create and how to manage those feelings. She also emphasizes the good that can come out of tragedy, looking at how people help one another in caring, compassionate and heroic ways.The book’s question-and-answer format will help parents have a meaningful conversation about these difficult topics with their children and equip them to better handle questions that arise when children are exposed to the news. The World Around Us series introduces children to complex cultural,social and environmental issues they may encounter outside the comfort of their homes, in a way that is straightforward and accessible.

Bug Off! book
#12
Bug Off!
Written by Cari Best and illustrated by Jennifer Plecas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Maude wants to be a member of the Bug-of-the-Month Club in her new neighborhood and decides that her entrance speech will be about fireflies. She reads, she researches, she prepares, and she delivers a speech that all the club members love—except for hard-to-please Louise. Louise won’t even let Maude in the club! So Maude vows to really let Louise have it for being so rude—but when she does, it’s not in the way anyone expects. A sparkly story about friendship, kindness, and inclusion—packed with info about fireflies, too!

Play with Me! book
#13
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.

The Three Little Pugs book
#14
The Three Little Pugs
Written and illustrated by Nina Victor Crittenden
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Gordy, Jilly, and Zoie love to race, chase, and play pug-of-war. But most of all, they love snoozing in their big, cozy basket. Then one day just before their morning nap, the big bad cat decides to make himself at home in the pugs’ beloved basket! Will the pugs figure out how to keep him away before they get too sleepy?

  1. Tractor Mac Parade's Best - There are so many great floats at the town parade: the Young Farmers’ Club, the Sports Team, the Outdoor Club. Tractor Mac can’t wait to see which one he gets to pull. Then he finds out that his friends have been asked to pull all of the floats he wanted, and all that is left is the Mrs. J.’s Petals and Posies, Ribbons and Roses float. Tractor Mac’s friends laugh and say that he will be the cutest float in the parade. But when Tractor Mac sees a picture of Mrs. J. as a little girl on a red tractor that looks just like him, he realizes that together, they really will be the parade’s best float.

  2. Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad - The Bug Squad is back in a story about playing together, problem solving, and saying you’re sorry in this hardcover picture book from the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series. This book was a Jumpstart Read for the Record Book. The Bug Squad – Bumblebee Boy, Dragonfly Girl, and Butterfly Girl – are coming to Lulu’s house for a play date and she know exactly what they are going to do all day. They use their big imaginations to create their own fun games right in Lulu’s backyard. But when some things don’t go just the way Lulu planned, Dragonfly Girl’s feelings get hurt. This is a job for Ladybug Girl! When Lulu is Ladybug Girl, she knows that even if it isn’t easy, it is important to apologize. For fans of Fancy Nancy and Betty Bunny, the Ladybug Girl series honors individuality, friendship, and a love of nature!

  3. Draw the Line - Draw the Line is a powerful picture book about forgiveness from Kathryn Otoshi, author of the bestselling book One. When two boys draw their own lines and realize they can connect them together―magic happens! But a misstep causes their lines to get crossed. Push! Pull! Tug! Yank! Soon their line unravels into an angry tug-of-war. With a growing rift between them, will the boys ever find a way to come together again? Acclaimed author/illustrator Kathryn Otoshi uses black and white illustrations with thoughtful splashes of color to create a powerful, multi-layered statement about friendship, boundaries, and healing after conflict. A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of 2017

  4. Accident! - When a clumsy armadillo named Lola knocks over a glass pitcher, she sets off a silly chain of events, encountering chaos wherever she goes. But accidents happen—just ask the stoat snarled in spaghetti, the airborne sheep, and the bull who has broken a whole shop’s worth of china. In the tradition of beloved books like The Dot and Beautiful Oops, this charming, hilarious debut from author-illustrator Andrea Tsurumi shows that mistakes don’t have to be the end of the world.

Potato Pants! book
#19
Potato Pants!
Written and illustrated by Laurie Keller
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Potato is very excited to buy a pair of pants on sale at Lance Vance’s Fancy Pants Store, but when he sees Eggplant, who pushed him the day before, he is afraid to go in.

The Monster Next Door book
#20
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.

Ally-Saurus and the Very Bossy Monster book
#21
Ally-Saurus and the Very Bossy Monster
Written and illustrated by Richard Torrey
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

What happens when a bossy new girl tries to make everyone play by her rules? Ally-saurus is back—and ROARING louder than ever! Ally-saurus and her friends always have lots of fun playing pretend. They stomp, they roar, they dance, each in their own way. But new girl Maddie wants everyone to play by HER rules. “Monsters can’t be dinosaurs or dancers,” she insists. Worst of all, she won’t let little Petee have his teddy bear! Can Ally-saurus help Maddie understand that bossiness is no fun at all? With charm and humor, Richard Torrey teaches a gentle lesson in respecting each other’s differences . . . and playing nice.

Prince and Pirate book
#22
Prince and Pirate
Written by Charlotte Gunnufson and illustrated by Mike Lowery
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

When two little fish with big personalities have to share the same tank, there are rough seas ahead!

Prince and Pirate are proud masters of their very own fishbowls, and life goes along swimmingly—until they’re scooped up and plopped into shared waters.

Prince is horrified to find this cheeky cod trespassing in his kingdom.

Pirate is sure this scurvy sea slug has come to plunder his treasure.

Thus, a battle of regal sneers, seaworthy stink-eyes, and off-the-hook insults begins.
Prince and Pirate’s hilarious duel for territory will elicit gales of giggles, hearty guffaws, and heartfelt smiles. Just when it seems their struggle might end in a silly stalemate, a little surprise convinces them to find a way to get along—swimmingly.

Rabbit & Possum book
#23
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. The Teacher's Pet - On the day the tadpoles hatch, the whole class is amazed—they’ve never seen their teacher so excited. Mr. Stricter has always wanted a pet, so he tells the students they can keep just one. The class chooses Bruno, the smallest of the bunch. But Bruno doesn’t stay small for long. Soon he’s grown into a giant, classroom-wrecking creature: He eats desks, farts for show-and-tell, and sneezes slime all over everything! Everyone can see that Bruno is trouble. Everyone except Mr. Stricter. With their teacher blinded by love for the pet, the students must step up and take matters into their own heroic hands.

  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. 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

  4. The Kiddie Table - On Thanksgiving Day, a girl who has just turned eight loudly insists that she be permitted to sit at the dining room table, rather than with the babies.

Piecing Earth & Sky Together book
#28
Piecing Earth & Sky Together
Written by Nancy Raines Day and illustrated by Genna Panzarella
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

While she and her grandmother work on their embroidery, Mei Yoon listens to an old Mien tale about the creation of the earth and the sky.

Pirate Chicken: All Hens on Deck book
#29
Pirate Chicken: All Hens on Deck
Written by Brain Yanish and illustrated by Jess Pauwels
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Lily is no ordinary chicken. She dreams of a life off the farm, where she can put her grand plans into action. Her wish is granted when pirates recruit her and her fellow chickens and whisks them away to the open seas. Soon, Lily has taken charge and becomes captain of an allchicken crew as the feared chicken pirate Redfoot. But when Lily faces a mutiny, will she change her ways, or be forced to squawk the plank?

It Wasn't Me book
#30
It Wasn't Me
Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

What’s all the arguing about? There are plenty of Hueys to go around in this hilarious story from the #1 bestselling illustrator of The Day the Crayons Quit!

The Hueys are back! Oliver Jeffers’ jelly bean-shaped creatures may look the same, think the same, and even do the same things, but that doesn’t mean they always agree. The only problem is, they can’t seem to agree on what they disagreed on in the first place! Which ultimately leads to an even bigger disagreement! Confused? Well, so are the Hueys. Which only adds to the fun and hilarity.

Anyone who has ever had to referee an argument among siblings or friends will appreciate the absurdity Oliver Jeffers reveals in the every-day trials of getting along.

Friends Forever book
#31
Friends Forever
Written and illustrated by Derek Anderson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

“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”—

Ballet Kitty: Christmas Recital book
#32
Ballet Kitty: Christmas Recital
Written by Bernette Ford and illustrated by Sam Williams
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

It’s Christmas—and for Ballet Kitty, that means The Nutcracker! She’s going to perform the Sugar Plum Fairy, her favorite role from the ballet, at a real recital. Kitty’s so excited she can hardly wait. But when her very best friend wants to dance the same solo, suddenly the show isn’t fun anymore. This charming tale of friendship, ballet, and the thrill of being onstage will enchant little ballerinas everywhere.

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