Friendship and all that it entails with making friends, playing together, sharing, accepting, and so forth is SUCH a huge piece of growing up. This group of picture books (new 2016!) capture those life lessons.
Two turtles. One hat. What will they do? Klassen shows the friends together, one turtle’s internal struggling with wanting to sneak back for the hat and the other friend sharing a dream about them both having their own hats. Illustrations tell much of this story so pay close attention.
Liam writes his mail box a letter asking for MAIL, something BIG. The very obliging mail box sends Liam . . a dragon. Then oodles of more stuff — trombone, a whale, pigs, a turtle, a robot, . . . It’s too much. Then Liam thinks of a wonderful idea — mail the stuff to other kids so they can get mail, too!
A little girl makes a wonderful dollhouse out of cardboard with wallpaper and furniture and a family. In contrast, her friend Sophie has a store-bought dollhouse. The girl wonders what will Sophie say when she sees the homemade dollhouse? It turns out NOTHING. She’ll just play and pretend with her friend.
Frida draws a funny shape. Bear turns it into something. And vice versa. The two discover that many objects can be used to prompt imaginative drawings. Their artwork reminds me of Debbie Ohi‘s creativity with food.
Raybot wants a best friend. He reads that puppies who say bark make good best friends so he decides to find a puppy (that says BARK.) On the farm, in the ocean, and through the jungle, he meets many nice animals and is very happy about it, even if they don’t say, “BARK.” He keeps searching until he finally hears a BARK back. It might not be a puppy but it is Raybot’s new friend. Who has a friend of his own. Beautiful illustrations, simple text, and a very funny ending!
My Friend Maggie by Hannah E. Harrison
Maggie and Paula are the best of friends. Until Veronica’s criticisms of convince Paula to ignore Maggie. But when Veronica starts teasing Paula, guess who stands up for her? Maggie! Talk about a true friend. This is a very real and important life lesson.
Miles McHale, TattleTale by Christianne Jones, illustrated by Elina Ellis
This is a great book for that certain age — around 5 and 6 when tattling can be problematic. Miles McHale is a constant tattletale. So his teacher, Mrs. Snitcher, starts the “Tattle Battle” with this pledge: “If a friend is sick, hurt, or in harm’s way, then telling someone is okay.” And when Miles’s sister slips and falls, he learns the important difference between telling and tattling.
Captain Jack and the Pirates by Peter Bently, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
You’ll love this captivating pretend play adventure of enemy pirates, shipwrecked, and treasure! Plus, Oxenbury’s illustrations are amazing.
No gender stereotyping here! Little Bob and Big Bob aren’t just different sizes, they like different activities. And that is just fine, they play together even when it’s with different things. So when a new girl joins their group, the friends continue to accept and celebrate each other for who he or she is.
Melissa Taylor, MA, is the creator of Imagination Soup. She's a mother, teacher, author, and freelance writer. She writes Imagination Soup and freelances for publications online and in print, including Sylvan Learning, Random House, USA Today Health, The Writer, and Scholastic Parent and Child.