100 must-read children’s books about friendship

100 must-read children’s books about friendship

One of the most important parts of growing up as a child is learning how to recognise a good friend (and how to be one). All childhood friendships have their ups and downs, which is why its so crucial that parents play an integral role in helping children manage any friendship problems by helping them think about why their friends might be behaving in a particular way and discussing what qualities and actions show that someone is a good friend. 

Encouraging your child to read books about making friends and developing those relationships can teach them new ideas, work through emotions and allow them to develop their social skills.

After all, books are a safe space without judgment. Here are 100 highly recommended titles to enjoy, from toddler reading age through to young adults.

 

Baby and toddler books

Pip and Posy: The New Friend by Axel Scheffler

At this early age of development children will be naturally curious about other babies and toddlers they spend time with. Picture books without words and basic stories with vivid colours and striking visuals serve as great teaching tools for this subject area. The book titles chosen below provide children with authentic, inspiring examples of positive and fulfilling friendships.

  1. Duck and Penguin Are Not Friends by Julia Woolf
  2. Hello, Friend! by Rebecca Cobb
  3. The Perfect Fit by Naomi Jones
  4. Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
  5. It Wasn't Me by Oliver Jeffers
  6. Pip and Posy: The New Friend by Axel Scheffler
  7. Just Being Ted by Lisa Sheehan
  8. A Friend for Henry by Jenn Bailey and Mika Song
  9. The Boy Who Loved Everyone by Jane Porter and Maisie Paradise Shearring
  10. My Friend Fred by Frances Watts and A. Yi
  11. Rosie Is My Best Friend by Ali Pye
  12. A Friend Like You by Andrea Schomburg and Barbara Rottgen
  13. Dust Bunny Wants a Friend by Amy Hevron


Children aged 3 years

Horrible Bear! by Ame Dyckman

Preschool and nursery is an ideal time to learn how to be a good friend. At this age, a child's environment typically lends itself to sharing, compromising, listening to, and learning from each other first-hand. The list of friendship books below includes silly, touching, funny, and honest stories - sometimes through the eyes of animals - to help your children learn the value of friendship.

  1. Horrible Bear! by Ame Dyckman
  2. Grrrrr! By Rob Biddulph
  3. Cyril and Pat by Emily Gravett
  4. Dream Big, Little Mole by Tom Percival
  5. Out of Nowhere by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros
  6. Mabel and Me - Best of Friends by Mark Sperring
  7. The Missing Piece by Jordan Stephens
  8. The Most Wonderful Gift in the World by Mark Sperring
  9. I'm Sticking with You by Smriti Halls
  10. Elmer's Friends by David McKee
  11. A Song in the Mist by Corrinne Averiss
  12. The Duck Who Didn't Like Water by Steve Small
  13. Meesha Makes Friends A Big Bright Feelings Book by Tom Percival
  14. Everybody Feels Shy by Moira Harvey
  15. The Friendship Bench by Wendy Meddour
  16. Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug by Jonathan Stutzman
  17. Ruby's Worry by Tom Percival
  18. Anna and Otis by Maisie Paradise Shearring
  19. Can I Join Your Club? by John Kelly
  20. Fergal in a Fix! By Robert Starling
  21. Lonely Beast by Chris Judge



Children aged 5 years 

The Pipsqueak by Ben Manley

Now at the age of actively socialising at primary or elementary school, children will be taught the building blocks of friendship together, in a classroom environment, as they learn to draw, count, and write. Settling in to a teaching rhythm with a new set of faces may bring out both positive and negative emotions, which can be overwhelming to deal with alone. These 10 books teach growing readers about the importance of having friends and learning about compromise, kindness, and problem-solving.

  1. The Problem with Pierre by C K Smouha
  2. The Pipsqueak by Ben Manley
  3. King of the Sky by Nicola Davies
  4. How To Mend a Friend by Karl Newson
  5. The Girls by Lauren Ace
  6. Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss
  7. Owl or Pussycat? by Michael Morpurgo
  8. The New Girl by Nicola Davies
  9. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy
  10. No One Likes a Fart by Zoe Foster Blake
  11. Sorry (Really Sorry) by Joanna Cotler
  12. Duck & Goose, Goose Needs a Hug by Tad Hills
  13. The Heart of a Whale by Anna Pignataro 
  14. Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller


Children aged 7 years 

The Small Things by Lisa Thompson

As our children grow, books remain a mainstay in supporting and developing their social skills. Reading picture books and fictional stories about friendship can both model what friendship looks like, and also encourage meaningful conversations about what makes a good friend during school, at social clubs or with family members of a similar age.

  1. The Small Things by Lisa Thompson
  2. A Bad Day for Jayden by Tony Bradman
  3. The Accidental Diary of B.U.G. by Jen Carney
  4. A Dog Called Flow by Pippa Goodhart
  5. Little Manfred by Michael Morpurgo
  6. Best Friends by Jacqueline Wilson
  7. Zippel The Little Keyhole Ghost by Alex Ruhle
  8. Want to Play Trucks? by Ann Stott
  9. Our Friend Hedgehog by Lauren Castillo
  10. A Friend for Bear by Steve Smallman
  11. Sadie and the Silver Shoes by Jane Godwin
  12. We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen


Children aged 9 years 

Charlotte's Web by E B White

Around this time children may begin questioning the fundamentals of friendship as they learn to think for themselves: how can I be a better friend? What do I do if I fall out with a best friend? It can be a minefield for our young ones. Turning to books with meaningful messages about solving these issues can be a great mirror to look into. Stories about the power of friendships, the ups and downs of friendships, and even the loss of friendship are included below.

  1. Charlotte's Web by E B White
  2. Make Friends, Break Friends by Julia Jarman
  3. Moo by Sharon Creech
  4. Dork Diaries: Drama Queen by Rachel Renee Russell
  5. TrooFriend by Kirsty Applebaum
  6. Ella on the Outside by Cath Howe
  7. Kensuke's Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo
  8. The Same Inside by Liz Brownlee
  9. Chocolate Box Girls: Sweet Honey by Cathy Cassidy
  10. The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead
  11. My Life as a Cat by Carlie Sorosiak
  12. Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead
  13. Booked by Kwame Alexander
  14. Wonder by R. J. Palacio


Children aged 11 years 

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Children approaching their early teen years lean on their peers and friends and navigate many challenges, although starting a senior school will naturally open up feelings of anxiety and fear - friendship groups may break up and change entirely. Just as picture books can help early learners grasp big topics, novels and chapter books teach older readers to develop a sense of healthy, supportive friendships.

  1. The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
  2. The Night Bus Hero by Onjali Q. Ra√ļf
  3. Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds
  4. Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan
  5. Cloud Boy by Marcia Williams
  6. The Girl Who Lost Her Shadow by Emily Ilett
  7. Turtle Boy by M. Evan Wolkenstein
  8. Chinglish by Sue Cheung
  9. There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom by Louis Sachar


Children aged 13 years 

The Teenage Guide to Friends by Nicola Morgan

Friendship means the word to children who are approaching early to mid teenage years. It's also a time when they begin to develop their own sense of self; apart from the family dynamic, friends are a vital part of that shift. What feelings do we share? What do we keep secret? What happens when one of the most important relationships of our lives falls apart? Here are a selection of book titles designed to shed light on these topics. 

  1. The Teenage Guide to Friends by Nicola Morgan
  2. Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
  3. More Than One Way to be a Girl by Dyan Sheldon
  4. Holes by Louis Sachar
  5. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  6. What Magic Is This? by Holly Bourne
  7. Open Your Heart by Gemma Cairney
  8. The Disconnect by Keren David
  9. Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen
  10. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
  11. The Black Friend: On Being a Better White Person by Frederick Joseph


Young adults 

The Misper by Bea Davenport

Though friendship may seem a little different right now from early school years, it’s still as important as ever for teens to maintain social relationships with both boys and girls, whether that takes place face to face or behind a digital screen. Fictional stories can be lifelong companions and offer an outside perspective of how to deal with difficult moments and solve riddles in friendships.

  1. What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel
  2. The Misper by Bea Davenport
  3. Kerb-Stain Boys The Crongton Broadway Robbery by Alex Wheatle
  4. Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard
  5. Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas
  6. Watch Us Rise by Renee Watson
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