38 Children’s Books About Friendship

Learning how to start conversations, invite friends to play and apologize when we make mistakes is hard.  Even for adults.  You can give your child a jumpstart on becoming a superstar friend by brainstorming how to behave before he starts a play date, setting up play dates so that he has plenty of opportunity to practice and, of course, reading books about friendship.  Here are my favorites:

38 childrens books about friendship

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Making Friends

The first step in being a great friend is, of course, becoming one. These titles share helpful tips on starting a friendship with someone new.

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

Swimmy by Leo Lionni

How To Be A Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them by Marc Brown

American Girl: Friends Making Them and Keeping Them by Patti Kelley

Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems

Amelia Bedelia Makes a Friend by Herman Parish


Having Diverse Friends

The world is filled with people of different backgrounds, beliefs and ethnicities. Learning how to navigate those differences is an important step toward future success. As I often remind my three little kids, they may not like everyone they meet but they do need to be kind and respectful to them.

Owen and Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship by Isabela Matkoff

My Friend Has Autism by Amanda Doering Tourville

Susan Laughs by Jeanne Willis

In Jesse’s Shoes by Beverly Lewis

Whoever You Are by Mem Fox

The Family Book by Todd Parr

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis


Being a Steadfast Friend

True friendship means sticking through the good AND the bad. These titles help kids learn the importance of friendship during tough times.

Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni

Frederick by Leo Lionni

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud

Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun by Maria Dismondy

A Rainbow of Friends by P.K. Hallinan

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Help! A Story of Friendship by Holly Keller

It’s Mine by Leo Lionni


Working Through Conflict

And, of course, friendships come with inevitable conflict at times. That’s why it’s so crucial to teach kids how to compromise, speak up for what they believe is right and forgive.

The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Friends by Jan and Stan Berenstain

The Berenstain Bears: The Forgiving Tree by Jan and Mike Berenstain

The Juice Box Bully by Bob Sornson

The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill

Being True to Yourself

Sometimes it can be tempting to just do what everyone else is doing – even when it doesn’t feel right. These stories are great ways to teach kids the benefits of staying true to themselves.

A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell

It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr

The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler

I Like Myself! By Karen Beaumont

American Girl: Stand Up For Yourself and Your Friends by Patti Kelley Criswell


Parent Resources

One of the things that’s surprised me most about parenting is how tough it can be to come up with the right words when my kids experience sticky social situations. These books have been really helpful to me and I hope they’ll help some of you too.

The Unwritten Rules of Friendship: Simple Strategies to Help Your Child Make Friends by Natalie Madorsky Elman and Eileen Kennedy Moore

How To Make and Keep Friends: Tips for Kids to Overcome 50 Social Challenges by Nadine Briggs

Raise Your Child’s Social IQ by Cathi Cohen, LCSW


Join the Conversation

What are your family’s favorite friendship books?


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Malia Hollowell

Malia Hollowell

Malia is a National Board Certified elementary teacher turned stay at home mom to three young kids {5, 3 and 1}. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Education {go Stanford Cardinal!} and spent seven years teaching in a classroom before taking time off to raise her little ones.
Malia Hollowell

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  1. Great list ! We love Enemy Pie & Little Blue and Little Yellow. Some of the books on this list, I have never heard of. I’ll have to check them out on our next library visit. Thanks for the ideas.

  2. Time for a trip to the library! Thanks for the great list!

  3. Hi Jill! Glad that you enjoyed the list. :)

  4. Lynn Haskin says:

    Stellaluna should be on the list.It’s a sweet story about a fruit bat that falls into a nest with baby birds. It’s about being different but still having lots in common.

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