“A friend is someone who helps you up when you’re down, and if they can’t, they lay down beside you and listen.” – Winnie the Pooh
Friendship is arguably one of the most important things in life. Below I’ve shared my top 10 favorite children’s books that delve into the topic. Happy reading!
Flight School by Lita Judge
One day a penguin shows up to Flight School. They try to tell him that penguins can’t fly, but he is determined. He practices hard everyday, but when it’s time to take flight he sinks like a rock. Penguin is discouraged and begins to give up… until his friends come up with a brilliant plan to help him feel success.
Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed
Pete is the “perfectly predictable pig.” He has his daily routine and enjoys his life just as it is. Then one evening the rain starts and an unexpected visitor turns his world upside down. Pickles, a large elephant, is terrified of the storm. He makes himself right at home which in turn makes Pete perfectly miserable. Read along as a bizarre friendship forms and they go to extreme lengths to save each other.
Hannah and Sugar by Kate Berube
Every day Hannah gets off the bus and sees Sugar waiting for her owner Violet. Hannah refuses to pet Sugar each day and is visibly afraid of her. Then one day Sugar is not there and Violet explains that she is missing. They search everywhere with no sign of Sugar. When darkness falls, Hannah explores on her own and sees Sugar caught around a bush. Hannah pushes down her fear and bravely unwraps Sugar. This book is a great example of overcoming your fears to embrace new friendships.
Little Beauty by Anthony Browne
This book…. I can barely find the words. I love this book so much! Gorilla lives in a zoo and is lonely. All he wants is a friend. The zookeepers find him a little kitten named Beauty. Their bond is evident as the gorilla gently cares for her each day. One night they watch a movie that upsets the gorilla and the keepers threaten to take Beauty away. Beauty rushes in and defends the gorilla. Such a beautiful story of friendship and ways we can support and balance each other.
Bird Hugs by Ged Adamson
Bernard is not like his other bird friends. Sadly, his wings are far too large to fly. He sits sadly while his other friends take flight. He becomes creative in his desperate attempt to fly, but nothing works. One day he stumbles upon a very sad orangutan and discovers that his ultra long wings are great for hugging. He begins to give out hugs to friends in need and in return they give him the greatest gift of all —- flight.
Little Elliot, Big Family by Mike Curato
Elliot’s friend mouse leaves for a family reunion. Elliot sets out for the day, but ends up feeling very lonely and wonders what it would be like to have a big family. Feeling sad and desperate he goes to the movie theater. As he is leaving he hears mouse calling for him. Mouse knew Elliot would be sad and takes him to his family reunion. This book is a sweet story of love and inclusion!
One by Kathryn Otoshi
Blue is quiet and calm. Unlike hothead Red, he likes things to be peaceful. Red continuously bullies all of the colors and everyone is scared of him. Then One comes along and he isn’t afraid of anyone or anything. He teaches the colors a valuable lesson on friendship and standing strong together.
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
This book is one of my all time favorites! Brian is shy, quiet, but so creative. Each day he goes to school as does exactly as he is told, but he still feels invisible. He is the last pick during recess games and is overlooked in class. Justin, a new student, joins the class and notices Brian’s drawings. Read along as Brian slowly begins to be seen and noticed.
Strictly No Elephants by Ame Dyckmann
This beautiful story follows a young boy and his pet elephant. They have a very close relationship and watch out for each other in every way. Unfortunately, having an elephant for a pet makes you stand out… and not always in a good way. They head to a local pet club to join other animal lovers. When they arrive they find a sign that says “strictly no elephants.” They turn away sad and discouraged. Then they come up with an all inclusive idea to make everyone happy.
Truman by Jean Reidy
Truman is a turtle…. a very loyal turtle. He is Sarah’s best friend. He never worries when Sarah leaves. Until the day she leaves with a backpack for school. He waits forever but she doesn’t come back. He begins the long journey to find her. This sweet story shows how valuable friendship can be.