It’s always lovely to see a new batch of picture books that help model friendship for children. Because friendship is a skill, just like any other; an important emotional intelligence skill. And books about friendship can help.
Books That Help Children Learn About Friendship
Triangle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen
Quirky humor plus shapes galore! Triangle leaves his house to go play a sneaky trick on Square. Square chases Triangle back to Triangle’s house where Square gets stuck in the triangular doorway. But, not to worry. You’ll see that Square’s a quick thinker.
Little Bot and Sparrow by Jake Parker
Sparrow takes confused, friendly Little Bot under her wing after he’s thrown out of the garage. Little Bot learns so much from Sparrow. He even learns to say good-bye with the change of seasons. Enchanting illustrations add extra beauty to this sweet friendship story.
Snail and Worm Again by Tina Kugler
The humor in these short, simple stories about snail and worm, two best friends, make this a laugh out loud delight for on your own reading or for readers on the laps of their parents. The stories remind of the George and Marsha books by James Marshall.
The Friend Ship by Kat Yeh, illustrated by Chuck Groenink
Hedgehog misunderstands when she overhears that searching for Friendship might help her be less lonely. She thinks Friendship is an actual ship and starts to look for it. Along her journey, she meets people who also want a friend. They join her search. Soon, the group of new friends realizes they are sailing an actual Friend Ship. This clever play on words makes for a heartwarming story of truth — that sometimes friends are right in front of us.
Pax and Blue by Lori Richmond
Blue is Pax’s pigeon friend, small like Pax. Today his mom is in a rush. Pax worries about Blue because “you don’t leave a friend behind.” Only Blue isn’t left behind, he’s followed Pax onto the subway. Luckily, Pax knows just what to do to help his friend! You’ll see empathy and understanding between two unlikely friends who are in brighter colors against a muted lavender and earthy toned background.
Miles McHale, Tattletale by Christianne Jones, illustrated by Elina Ellis
Tattling can be a huge distraction from learning, not to mention other kids don’t like it. Read this book to inspire change. It’s about a sweet kid named Miles McHale who tattles all day long. He tattles on stuff that doesn’t even matter like “Nolan is tying his shoe.” It’s a problem. That’s when his teacher, Mrs. Snitcher, decides the class will have a Tattle Battle. Miles learns his tattling is affecting his friendships but that it’s okay “If a friend is sick, hurt, or in harm’s way.” Well-done with charming illustrations.
Dill & Bizzy Opposite Day by Nora Ericson, illustrated by Lisa Ericson
Adrift: An Odd Couple of Polar Bears by Jessica Olien
Bee & Me by Alison Jay
Pandora by Victoria Turnbull
Ella and Penguin A Perfect Match by Megan Maynor, illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
Best friends, Ella and Penguin, must match in the things they like? After Penguin confesses he doesn’t like tutus, or finger paints, or peppermints, the two are devastated since not matching means no more being friends. Right? The two realize they don’t have to match all the time to be friends. Isn’t this excellent for children who might need this clarification about what real friendship is and isn’t?
That’s NOT How You Do It! by Adriane Hofmann-Maniyar
Sometimes kids need to learn flexibility, that they aren’t always right. This beautifully illustrated picture book might help. Lucy is very confident she knows how to do EVERYTHING. So when Toshi arrives, she’s irritated that he isn’t doing things the RIGHT WAY. But his kind gesture of friendship helps Lucy learn that Toshi is really good at doing things in a different way.
More About Friendship For Kids
Learn to make easy friendship bracelets.
Rock out to these classic friendship songs.
Celebrate International Friendship Day.
Try an Encourage Play Monthly Playdate Kit to build social skills and friendships.
Read more books like the ones listed above.
Download my "Can't Put 'Em Down" book lists for your kids ages 3 - 13.
Also, I'll send you a bonus "23 Reasons to Read" printable poster!