Best Children’s Books About Friendship

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February 2020

Friendship makes the world go around! We’ve created this list of the 20 Best Children’s Books about Friendship because books are a great way to introduce different concepts about friendship.

It’s so important for your child’s social development that you talk with them about friendship. This might include what it means to be a friend, how to show a friend that you care, what forms friendships can take, and what to do when a friend stops being a good friend. Books are great ways to start these conversations! Stories can demonstrate complex situations and help your child empathise with others. They might also help your child understand the magic of friendship and how important it can be!

So without further ado, here are some fun and heartwarming titles that discuss the beauty of friendship.

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Classic Books About Friendship

Corduroy
Don Freeman

Written in 1968, Corduroy has touched the hearts of thousands of children. The book tells the story of a young bear, Corduroy, living on a department store shelf, waiting to meet a new best friend to take him home. When Lisa comes along, they both know they belong together, but Lisa’s mother thinks Corduroy looks a little disheveled because he is missing a button! Corduroy works up the courage to find his lost button, searching far and wide through the department store at night and encountering adventure along the way. This story demonstrates the power of friendship and how much it can mean.

The Giving Tree
Shel Silverstein

Another timeless classic, this book tells the story of a friendship deep and selfless. The Giving Tree loves a little boy so much that she would give up everything for him. The little boy, in return, comes to visit her every day so that they can play together. The boy over time, however, takes everything that the Giving Tree offers him until his friend has nothing left. In the end, they both learn to appreciate each other and what the other has offered to their friendship. This book teaches an important lesson about being selfless and being kind to friends.

Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge
Mem Fox

This heartwarming, fun tale shows a friendship between a young boy and an older lady who lives in the nursing home next door. The two are best friends, but there is only one problem–Miss Nancy has “lost her memory.” Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge sets off to help out his friend by “finding” her memory for her. This funny book depicts the strong bonds of friendship that can form between people of all ages and shows that being a friend means doing anything you can to help another person.

The Rainbow Fish
Marcus Pfister

In this book, a beautiful fish looks for friends around the ocean. He learns that to make friends he can share his most prized possession. The message that this book conveys is that friendships are often a give-and-take and that being a friend sometimes means making compromise and selflessly giving up something to another person. With its foil stamping and glitter on each page, this book is incredibly engaging for children and carries a great message.

Winnie-the-Pooh
A.A. Milne

Featuring some of best friends in children’s literature, Winnie-the-Pooh is no doubt a timeless favorite. Alongside his friends Piglet, Owl, Tigger, Eeyore, and Christopher Robin, Pooh goes on silly and fun adventures throughout the Hundred Acre Woods. Very silly and sometimes clumsy, Pooh often needs help from his friends, who are always by his side. These lovely tales show that friends are there to help and support you, no matter how sticky the situation–or the honey pot.

Picture Books about Friendship

My Friend is Sad
Mo Willems

Elephant Gerald is having a pretty gloomy day. His best friend Piggie, who has his back no matter what, is determined to cheer him up. He dresses up as a cowboy, clown and even a robot. In this crazy and amusing story, find out what it takes to make an elephant happy and what it means to be a good friend.

Bikes for Sale
Carter Higgins

Maurice rides his bike to work every day while Lotta rides her bike to collect sticks. They take separate routes until, one day, a branch and a lemon peel throw a wrench into their routine. The two end up meeting and instantly become best friends. This story shows that friendship can pop up anywhere and everywhere and that you should always be open to making a new friend because you never know where they’ll come from.

Lost and Found
Oliver Jeffers

This fascinating book features fourteen different animals that hold records. It portrays the world’s largest, slowest, longest living, strongest, fastest animals. Each record has incredible illustrations that make it easy for your child to learn even more about each animal. This book is perfect for any child that likes animals or likes to learn facts about nature.

My Best Friend Moved Away
Nancy Carolhoda

A little girl and her best friend do everything together. They have been best friends since they were babies. But, one day, her best friend must move away and the two must say goodbye. Even though the little girl is sad, the book ends on a happy note, as she makes friends with a new girl in her neighborhood. This book addresses the difficult feelings a child might face when their friends moves away and offers comfort to children experiencing this.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Philip C. Stead

Living at a zoo, Amos McGee’s friends come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and, of course, species! Every day, he visits each of his friends, running races with the tortoise and reading bedtime stories to the owl. But one day, Amos is too sick to come see his friends, so his friends decide to show how much they care by visiting him. This beautifully-illustrated book won the Caldecott medal in 2011 and shows that friends help each other out in times of need and take care of each other.

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Preschool Books About Friendship

Do You Want to Be My Friend?
Eric Carle

A lonely little mouse just wants to find a friend. He goes around following other animals’ tails and asking if they want to be his friend. Some of the animals he encounters are rather unfriendly, but the friend he does find in the end makes his whole journey worth it. With his classic style of illustration, Eric Carle brings this story to life once again and shows how big of a difference being friendly and open can make in another person’s life. 

Penguin and Pinecone
Salina Yoon

This heartwarming board book tells a story about overcoming the odds to be with your best friend. One day, a Penguin finds a pinecone and they instantly become friends. Grandpa, however, reminds Penguin that pinecones belong in the warm forest far away, so Penguin has to sadly return his friend home. Later, Penguin returns to the forest and discovers that love only grows over time–and so do pinecones! 

Stick and Stone
Beth Ferry

After Stick rescues stone from a precarious situation with a Pinecone, the two quickly become best friends. When Stick gets into a tough situation himself, can Stone return the favor? This book carries a subtle message against bullying and helps kids understand how important it is to be kind to your friends. With rhyming text and a sweet sentiment, Stick and Stone is a great picture book to start a conversation about what it means to be a good friend. 

I Can Share
Karen Katz

One of the most important parts of friendship, of course, is sharing and giving to the other person. For toddlers, however, sharing can sometimes be difficult to grasp. This book teaches them that sharing can be fun and is a great way to spark a new friendship!

Hooray for Hat
Brian Won

On the subject of sharing, Hooray for Hat shows what magic a little sharing and friendship can bring. Elephant wakes up grumpy one day until he gets a surprise delivery–a hat! He goes to his friend, Zebra, who is a little grumpy, too. Elephant decides to cheer up his friend by sharing his hat, instantly putting a smile on Zebra’s face. They march on to go show their other friends until each friend is having a happy day. 

Books about Friendship that We Love

At Elephant Books, we carefully select each of the titles we include in our packages. In addition to looking for great illustrations and exciting story lines, we also pay special attention to the different messages our books offer to children. In particular, we love books about friendship and all the magic it brings because we think it can be such a powerful force in a child’s life–or anyone’s for that matter. Here are a few of our favorite books about friendship that we have sent out to our subscribers in the past:

Max and Marla
Alexandria Boiger

Max and Marla are not only best friends, but also aspiring Olympians! With practice and perseverance, they will do whatever it takes to be successful sledders. In those hard moments of strong winds and difficult slopes, the two soon realize that the fun lies not in winning the competition, but in friendship. We love this book not only for its cartoon-ish illustrations, but also its message that, at the end of the day, friendship and doing things you love with the people you love is all that matters.

Mouse & Hippo
Mike Twohy

What animals could be more different than a mouse and a hippo? This tale tells the story of an unlikely but deep friendship between these two animals. Mouse offers to paint a portrait for Hippo but soon finds that his friend doesn’t quite fit on the canvas. Nevertheless, Hippo is delighted by the painting and finds a way to return the kind favor to his friend, the best way he knows how. We love that this story is light-hearted and reveals the way that small acts of kindness and service to others can demonstrate friendship.

Quackers
Liz Wong

Quackers is a duck. So what if he has paws, whiskers, and meows instead of quacks? He lives with his duck friends and is perfectly happy being a duck until one day he meets another duck who looks like him and talks like him–but calls himself a cat. Quackers soon makes friends with the cats but misses his duck friends and must find a way to get the best of both worlds. This tale is hilarious and adorable. It sends a great message that you don’t have to look anything alike to be great friends.

Girl & Gorilla
Rick Walton

Girl and Gorilla are best friends who want to go play at the park. Along the way, they create imaginative ways as to how they will get there. They might play hopscotch or simply close their eyes and imagine they are already there. This wonderfully silly and fantastic book depicts two best friends just having fun together, showing how much brighter our world becomes with our friends by our sides.

We Are Best Friends
Roger Priddy

This engaging board book depicts some classic friendships. From milk and cookies to salt and pepper, these pairings just belong together. Made up of a mixture of illustrations and photographs, this book will draw your child in to exploring these different items and pairings. And, of course, they will learn that friendship is the most important thing of all!

For more great titles about friendship and other important themes, check out Elephant Books. We send out fantastic children’s books to your door every single month so that you can explore all kinds of ideas and world with your children.

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