A Giant List of Books about Friendship

Friendship is a common theme in children’s literature, and reading books about friendship is a great way to teach kids about how to make friends and what it means to be one.

I had the privilege of reviewing a new book about friendship — and the author is giving away signed copies to two of my readers!

If you're looking for friendship activities for kids, you'll love this giant list of books about friendship!   Amos & Boris is my all time favorite.


picture books about best friends - the measured mom


hunter's best friend at school

Hunter’s Best Friend at School, by Laura Malone Elliott

This is the perfect book to read a child who has a friend that seeks trouble.  Hunter’s friend Stripe is always being naughty at school and encouraging Hunter to join right in.  Eventually Hunter learns that he can do the right thing and still be Stripe’s friend — Stripe might even follows his example!

best friends for frances

Best Friends for Frances, by Russell Hoban

This classic story (1969) about friendship may get a little long for young listeners – but the plot of fickle friendships is timeless.  I admit that Frances books bored me when I was a kid, but I enjoy them now.  My daughter (6) likes to read these herself, but my preschool boys don’t reach for Frances books.

bob and otto

Bob and Otto, by Robert Bruel

At first I thought this book was a rehash of the same old story of caterpillars who turn into butterflies.  But it turned into a lovely lesson for Bob’s friend Otto the worm, who doesn’t change at all but spends all his time digging tunnels.  When Otto is discouraged because he’s “still just a big fat worm,” Bob reminds him that all his digging helps trees grow strong and produce leaves – to feed caterpillars – so they can become butterflies. “You’re not just a worm. You’re my best friend.”

i will surprise my friend

I Will Surprise My Friend! by Mo Willems

You won’t want to miss the Elephant and Piggie books, an easy reader series that’s both funny and accessible for beginning readers.  In this story Gerald and Piggie each decide to hide and surprise their friend – but with both of them hiding, each starts to wonder about the other.  Gerald is concerned that something has happened to Piggie.  Piggie thinks that Gerald is having lunch without her.  We always share some giggles when reading this series.

big dog and little dog

Big Dog and Little Dog, by P.D. Eastman

This book (1973) has been around for a long time, but kids still enjoy the story of Ted and Fred, two dogs who are best friends despite having completely different interests.

george and martha

George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends, by James Marshall

George and Martha are two lovable hippos who do everything together and learn lessons about about friendship along the way.  The subtle humor in these books will amuse both parents and kids.  Any book in this series will teach your child a lesson or two about friendship.

frog and toad


Frog and Toad Are Friends, by Arnold Lobel

The warm, funny stories about Frog and Toad are delighting another generation.  Kids will laugh at the silly stories and be comforted by the steadfast friendship between these two characters.

cork and fuzz

Cork & Fuzz: Best Friends, by Dori Chaconas

Have you seen this higher level easy reader series yet?  We love these  books about a muskrat and possum.  The ups and downs of their friendship mirror what we find in children — and you’ll love the humor and originality in these fun stories.


Farfallina and Marcel, by Holly Keller

A caterpillar named Farfellina and a gosling named Marcel become best friends – until the day that Farfellina flies away and spins “a blanket of glossy silk.”  Meanwhile, Marcel grows into a handsome goose.  When the two meet again, neither recognizes the other.  But the two friends find that growing up and apart brings them closer together.

story of fish and snail

The Story of Fish and Snail, by Deborah Freedman

This is a wonderfully creative story about a fish and snail who live together in a book. The daring Fish loves to jump into other books and new adventures — but Snail wants to stay just where he is.  Children will be happy to see that the ensuing fight ends happily.  We especially loved the outstanding illustrations!

windy and whirly

Windy and Whirly, by Lisa Owen

(Disclosure: I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine!)

Windy & Whirly is about the friendship between a washer and dryer.  The two machines are best friends who watch out for each other when they are stored in a dark and lonely basement dreaming of a home.  When Windy and Whirly are chosen by a young couple, they rejoice that they can be together.   When one friend is taken away, however, the other musters up her courage and attempts a rescue.

picture books about making friends


Poindexter Makes a Friend, by Mike Twohy

Poindexter is a quiet pig who prefers to spend all his time helping out at the library.  When a shy turtle named Shelby requests a book about how to make friends, Poindexter finds it – they read it together and become friends in the process.  A treasure of a book!

recess queen

The Recess Queen, by Alexis O’Neill

Mean Jean owns the playground, and no one is brave enough to stand up to her — until a teeny kid named Katie Sue comes to school.  She finds that making friends with Mean Jean is as simple as asking her to play.

yo yes

Yo! Yes? by

This story has just a few words, but its message about making new friends is abundantly clear.

enemy pie

Enemy Pie, by Derek Munson

This is a friendship book well-suited to older kids (first grade and up), but younger kids will enjoy it too.  The narrator puts mean Jeremy, his new neighbor, on his Enemy List.  When asking his dad for advice on how to get rid of enemies, his dad promises to make Enemy Pie.   But first he has to spend one day being kind to his enemy.  Of course after the day spent together the boys are no longer enemies.  Good story!

fox makes friends

Fox Makes Friends, by Adam Relf

A little fox thinks that to make a friend he has to create one himself.  A little rabbit and squirrel work alongside him to create a friend out of sticks, vegetables, and fruit.  The friends are discouraged until they realize they’ve been making friends with each other all along.

scaredy squirrel

Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend, by Melanie Watt

Scaredy Squirrel is so paranoid about germs and injury that he leads a solitary life.  But when an exuberant dog wants to be his friend, Scaredy Squirrel learns to modify his definition of a good friend.  You’ll love the humor in this book!  A must-see.


Friends, by Rob Lewis

Oscar has moved to a new neighborhood and is having difficulty making friends. No wonder – he thinks the other rabbits are “too smelly, too noisy, too wild, too dreamy, too smart” or “too shy.”  Oscar learns that to make friends, you sometimes have to join in with what they like doing.

books that teach kids what it means to be a friend - the measured mom


my friend has autism

My Friend Has Autism, by Amanda Doering Tourville

This is a simple story perfect for teaching kids about how their friends with autism are different than they are – and that it’s okay.  Whether or not your child knows someone with autism, I highly recommend this book. Be sure to check out the rest of the books in the Friends with Disabilities series.


How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague

The “How Do Dinosaurs…” series is such a treasure!  This book is perfect for teaching preschoolers that friends are kind, sharing, thoughtful, and generous.

otis and the tornado

Otis and the Tornado, by Loren Long

My kids and I love this story about the friendly tractor named Otis who braves a tornado to rescue the grumpy, unfriendly bull.  A beautiful story about being kind to those who aren’t kind to us.

friends helme

Friends, by Helme Heine

This story about three dissimilar friends – a rooster, mouse, and pig – tells of their daily adventures while weaving in lessons about friendship — like “Good friends decide things together,” and “Good friends are always fair.”  Sweet story!


Toot & Puddle: You Are My Sunshine, by Holly Hobbie

If you’re never read a Toot & Puddle book, you’re missing a lovely series by the author/illustrator Holly Hobbie.  In this story, Puddle shows love and patience to his friend, even when Toot is so discouraged that nothing cheers him up.

in jesse's shoes

In Jesse’s Shoesby Beverly Lewis

This book is narrated by a girl whose older brother was born with special needs. She’s embarrassed by him and sometimes wishes her parents would send him far away.  But she learns to love her brother just as God does, and by the end of the book she appreciates him for who he is. A lovely story.

henry and mudge and the careful cousin

Henry and Mudge and the Careful Cousin, by Cynthia Rylant

I love the Henry & Mudge easy reader series!  In this book, Henry’s cousin Annie comes to visit. But Annie isn’t any fun!  She’s uncomfortable in his messy room,  doesn’t welcome his dog’s sloppy kisses, and seems afraid of everything. Yet Henry is persistent at showing kindness to his cousin, and Annie comes out of her shell.


How to Be a Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them, by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown

This detailed book presents real-life situations and how to handle them.  How do you ask a new friend to play?  How can you protect a friend if someone is bothering him?   How can you help a friend who needs it?  This book covers it all and works best as a cozy read-aloud on the couch because of the many small pictures and speech bubbles.


The Way of the Ninja, by David Bruins and Hilary Leung

I’m a little confused by this book – is the Ninja a little boy dressed up as a Ninja, a boy imagining he’s a Ninja, or a character that’s actually meant to be one?  His friends are a cowboy and bear – about whom I have the same questions. Regardless, the story teaches that friendship means thinking of your friends before yourself.

i can share

I Can Share, by Karen Katz

This simple book is just right for teaching toddlers and young preschoolers how to get along.

share and take turns

Share and Take Turns, by Sherri J. Meiners

I love this book and the others in the Learning to Get Along series.  They teach simple lessons about what it means to get along with others. In this book kids learn that sharing can take many forms — trading, taking turns, or doing something together.  I highly recommend these for classroom teachers, but they’re also great for teaching kids at home.

juice box bully

The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand up for Others, by Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy

This book teaches kids about how to work together to stand up against bullies and support each other.  I’d save this book for kids older than preschool, as it has some name calling I’d rather my kids not hear. The book would be an excellent one to use in a classroom at the start of the year.



simple books about the nature of friendship - the measured mom


Just My Friend and Me, by Mercer Mayer

The Little Critter books have stayed popular since their creation in the late 1970’s.  Kids will relate to the ups and downs of friendship in Little Critter’s day with his friend.

gift of nothing

The Gift of Nothing, by Patrick McDonnell

Do you read the comics?  Ever since I had a paper route when I was ten, I have to start my day with the comics page.  The comic strip Mutts is so simple and poignant – just like this book by its creator.  Mooch tries to find the perfect gift for his friend Earl, who already has everything. He discovers that having each other can be enough.

big al

Big Al, by Andrew Clements

Big Al is a big, ugly, scary fish – with a good heart underneath. But how can he make the other fish see it?  After Big Al rescues them from a fisherman’s net, the fish learn that it’s what’s beneath the surface that counts.


poppleton and friends

Poppleton and Friends, by Cynthia Rylant

I am just in love with this pudgy, good-natured pig and his simple life.    If you’ve never read a Poppleton book, you are missing out!  Every Poppleton book shares the theme of friendship, so you can’t go wrong no matter which one you choose.  They’re also great easy readers at a mid-to-late first grade level.

hugs from pearl

Hugs from Pearl, by Paul Schmid

Pearl is a sweet little girl who loves to hug — and her friends love her so much they accept them (her teacher keeps lots of band-aids handy).  But Pearl becomes discouraged when her friends all say “Ouch!” when receiving her prickly affection.  After many attempts to solve the problem, she comes up with the perfect solution.

Moon Rabbit

Moon Rabbit, by Natalie Russell

Two rabbits learn that good friends can enjoy spending time together, but it’s okay not to be together every moment.

my friend rabbit

My Friend Rabbit, by Eric Rohman

In this simple story, a mouse loves his well-meaning friend, even if trouble follows Rabbit wherever he goes.

that's what friends are for

That’s What Friends Are For, by Valeri Gorbachev

When Goat sees his friend Pig crying, he dreams up all kinds of reasons for it – and just how he’ll come to the rescue.  It has a predictable ending, but it’s a cute story.

square cat

Square Catby Elizabeth Schoonmaker

This is such a goofy, fun story about a square cat who is always tipping over (and gets stuck, of course).  Eula’s friends Patsy and Maude do whatever they can to cheer up their friend, including putting themselves in cardboard boxes so they can be square cats too.


picture books about unlikely friendships - the measured mom


sick day for amos

A Sick Day for Amos McGee, byPhilip C. Stead

Amos McGee is a thoughtful zookeeper who, though busy, makes time for each of the animals at the zoo.  He is so beloved  that when he stays home sick, they come to him.  The award-winning illustrations will steal your heart!

boy + bot

Boy + Bot, by Amy Dyckman

This is a fun, simple story about a boy and a robot who become friends.  When the robot’s power switch is turned off, the boy tries to feed him, read to him, and tuck him into bed.  When the boy falls asleep, the robot gives him oil, reads him an instruction manual, and brings him a spare battery.  I love Dan Yaccarino’s illustrations.

selfish crocodile

The Selfish Crocodile, by Faustin Charles and Michael Terry

The selfish crocodile won’t let any of the other animals into the river, and they steer clear of him – until the day he moans and groans because of a mysterious pain.  A little mouse is brave enough to climb up the crocodile’s belly and pull a troublesome tooth, and the two become good friends from that day forward.

wilfrid gordon

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, by Mem Fox

Don’t miss this treasure of a book about a boy whose best friends are residents of a nursing home. When his dearest friend, Miss Nancy, starts losing her memory, Wilfrid does what he can to help her find it.  A gem!

my friend the monster

My Friend the Monster, by Eleanor Taylor

This is an adorable story about a little boy fox who makes friends with the timid monster under his bed.

porcupine named fluffy

 A Porcupine Named Fluffy, by Helen Lester

A porcupine named Fluffy?  Fluffy definitely isn’t.  As he tries to change himself to fit his name, he runs into a rhinoceros named Hippo. After the two laugh at each others’ names, they become good friends.

giving tree

The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein

Some people would say that this book teaches how not to be a friend – the tree gives and gives, and the boy takes and takes.  As a kid I loved this story because it begins with the boy’s childhood and ends when he’s an old man.  Finally, when he can do nothing but rest on the stump, the boy appreciates his friend the giving tree.

amos and boris

Amos and Boris, by William Steig

This book actually makes me tear up.  It is such a lovely story, and so beautifully written! Amos the mouse and Boris the whale become friends when Amos nearly drowns in the ocean.  As the part at the seaside, the new friends know they might never meet again.  But years later, when Boris gets stuck on the sandy shore, it’s Amos who comes to the rescue.


Leonardo the Terrible Monster, by Mo Willems

Leonardo is a terrible monster who can’t scare anyone.  So he finds the perfect timid little boy to scare — Sam.  When Sam bursts into tears, Leonardo congratulates himself – only to learn that Sam isn’t crying because he was scared, but because he has no friends.  Leonardo decides that it’s better to be a wonderful friend than a terrible monster.


 Lost and Foundby Oliver Jeffers

One day a boy finds a very sad penguin standing at his door.  The boy decides that the penguin must be lost, so he sails with the penguin all the way to the South Pole.  Along the way the two become good friends. After dropping off the penguin at the South Pole, the boy is discouraged to see that the penguin is not cheered up after all.  Finally he realizes that the penguin was sad not because he was lost, but because he was lonely. The two are reunited at the end of this cozy story.

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© 2013 – 2015, Anna Geiger. All rights reserved.


  1. says

    As soon as I saw the title of your post, I was hoping you’d include BOY + BOT by Ame Dyckman. We LOVE that story. So far, she always puts a little twist on friendship in her stories in clever ways. We love it!

    Great list! I love how you organized this list, too.

  2. says

    This is a wonderful list of books, and it brought back pleasant memories since it includes so many of our favorites. I love that you included Lost and Found – this is such a precious and inventive book! Thanks for sharing with Afterschool!

    • Anna Geiger says

      Yes, that’s such a peaceful, sweet story! It was new to us, as were many of the books we found. It’s great discovering new books to treasure.

    • Anna Geiger says

      I will count that as a huge success if I’ve shared books that YOU have not seen yet :) Thank you for checking out the list, Erica!

  3. says

    Wow! What a great list of friendship books. I would choose a favorite, but there are too many good ones on that list. Thank you for sharing and for linking up this week to the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop.

    • Anna Geiger says

      I never know how to answer that question, “What’s your favorite children’s book?” WAAAY too many to choose from! Thanks for visiting, Jill!

    • Anna Geiger says

      Hi Juanita, I use picmonkey. It’s free online. I pay a little for the royale features, but you don’t need to. So much fun to use!

  4. says

    So many of our favourites are on this list – Lost and Found, Friends, The Giving Tree, A Sick Day for Amos McGee. One of our recent favourite books about friendship is The Storm Whale by Benji Davies.

    • Anna Geiger says

      Thanks so much for that recommendation, Catherine! Our library doesn’t have it yet, but maybe they’ll get it sometime soon.


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