This post is dedicated to books about friendship, aimed at elementary school aged children.

Friendships aren’t always easy for adults to navigate, let alone children. For some children, friendship skills come naturally, but for others who are shy and timid, it can take a bit more practice. A great way to help children grasp the dynamics and importance of friendship is by reading books about being a good friend. Children’s books about friendship can offer powerful lessons about communicating, sharing, appreciating differences and just plain getting along.

Here are some of my favorites:

Big Friends

By Linda Sarah and illustrated by Benji Davies (Henry Holt and Co.)

Birt and Etho climb up Sudden Hill and sit in cardboard boxes every day. Sometimes they’re kings, soldiers, and astronauts, but they are always big friends.

When Shu, another boy with a box shows up one day, Etho welcomes him, but Birt is wary. Birt who loves the “two-by-two” rhythm that he and Etho have, becomes upset because he feels like he’s losing his friend, so he smashing the cardboard box and hides out in his house, avoiding the two boys. But what do friends do? They don’t give up, and Etho and Shu are determined to play with Birt again and make him the most amazing monster-creature box thing. Can the two friends become three?

This book is recommended for children aged 4-8 years old.


Frog & Toad Are Friends

By Arnold Lobel (HarperCollins)

Frog and Toad are a seemingly odd pairing of friends. Frog is happy-go-lucky and Toad is uptight, but they seem to balance each other out. When Frog doesn’t feel well, Toad tries to tell him a story. When Toad loses a button, Frog helps him look for it.

When Toad goes swimming in his funny bathing suit, Frog tries not to laugh, and when Toad is sad because he never gets any mail, Frog knows just what to do. From writing letters to going swimming, telling stories to finding lost buttons, Frog and Toad are always there for each other—just as best friends should be.

This book is recommended for children aged 4-8 years old.


Little Blue and Little Yellow

By Leo Lionni (HarperCollins)

Two round blobs of color, Little Blue and Little Yellow, share friendship and fun adventures. One day Little Blue can’t find Little Yellow. When they finally meet they are overjoyed and hug and find that their colors combine to make green.

Although they do not stay green, they are forever changed by knowing that friends rub off on friends and that color proves no boundary. The book sends a powerful message about the way we can affect our friends and the effects they can have on us.

This book is recommended for children aged 4-8 years old.


Henry & Mudge: The First Book

By Cynthia Rylant (Simon Spotlight)

This is the first story in a series about a young boy and his dog. Henry feels lonely because he has no siblings and lives on a street without any other children.

He talks his parents into getting him a dog; an English Mastiff named Mudge, who becomes his canine companion. Henry learns many lessons with the help of Mudge, about life, loyalty and love.

This book is recommended for children aged 5-7 years old.


Charlotte’s Web

By E. B. White (HarperCollins)

Charlotte’s Web is the story of a little girl named Fern, who loved a little pig named Wilbur—and of Wilbur’s dear friend Charlotte A. Cavatica, a beautiful large gray spider who lived with Wilbur in the barn.

With the help of Templeton, a rat who never did anything for anybody unless there was something in it for him, and by a wonderfully clever plan of her own, Charlotte saves the life of Wilbur. Wilbur repays the favor by taking care of three of Charlotte’s spiderlings. Charlotte’s Web is considered a children’s literature classic that teaches themes about how we should make and keep friends and how we should treat each other.

This book is recommended for children aged 8-12 years old.


The Giving Tree

By Shel Silverstein (Harper & Row)

“Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy.”

Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk…and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave and gave.

Some people argue that this book teaches a child how not to be a friend. However, I think it’s a moving story about unconditional love and the gift of giving. The tree’s genuine love for the boy remains constant as the boy grows older and continually takes advantage of her generosity. The story raises awareness about what it means to love and care for someone and the hardships that sometimes come with it.
This book is recommended for children aged 7-8 years old.


Because of Winn-Dixie

By Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick)

This is a heartwarming story about love and friendship between a girl and her dog. Ten-year-old Opal Buloni has just moved to Naomi, Florida with her preacher father and struggles with the fact that her mother left them years earlier.

One summer’s day Opal goes down to the local supermarket for some groceries – and comes home with a dog. But Winn-Dixie is no ordinary dog. It’s because of Winn-Dixie, a big, ugly but happy dog that Opal begins to make friends. And it’s because of Winn-Dixie that she finally dares to ask her father about her mother, who left when Opal was three. In fact, as Opal admits, just about everything that happens that summer is because of Winn-Dixie.

This book is recommended for children aged 9-12 years old.


Now i3t’s your turn to share. What is your favorite children’s book?

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