Make New Friends, but Keep the Old

Shaw (Watha T. Daniel) LibraryRead Feed

Make New Friends, but Keep the Old

Children's Picture Books on Friendship

Parents and teachers often ask for children's books that explore the idea of friendship. There are so many different ways to approach this topic: making new friends, being a good friend, handling friend troubles tactfully... the list could go on and on! Fortunately, there are lots of wonderful picture books that teach us about friendship's ups and downs -- and everything in-between. Here are a few to get you started:

Friendshape written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Full of adorable illustrations and wordplay, this book is a good introduction to the concept of friendship in general. A group of four shapes tells readers all of the great things about having friends, such as "friends make you feel happy" and "friends are always there for you to lean on." As an added bonus, this book gives young ones a chance to practice shapes and colors. Recommended for ages 3-6.

Hooray for Hat by Brian Won
Elephant wakes up feeling blue, but his mood turns around once he receives an unexpected present on his doorstep -- a box full of all kinds of fun hats! When he goes to show all of his friends, he discovers that each of them is having a grumpy-kind-of-day, too. Luckily, he knows just what to do to cheer them up. The fun, colorful illustrations and repetitive text make this book a fantastic pick for a read aloud or story time. Hooray for hat! And hooray for friends! Recommended for ages 3-7.

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea
Have you ever had a friend who always wanted to play the same thing every day? Ballet Cat just loves leaping, kicking, spinning, but Sparkles is in the mood for something new. When Sparkles finally shares this secret, which she fears will ruin their friendship, Ballet Cat surprises her by telling a secret of her own. The one thing Ballet Cat loves more than playing ballet… is her friend! This book is a great jumping off point for discussing important aspects of friendship, such as listening to one another and compromising. Recommended for ages 4-8.

Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka
Two boys meet each other for the first time. Throughout their brief exchange, one of them explains he's having “no fun” because he has “no friends.” The other boy shows him that he doesn’t need to look far and wide when he’s got a potential new friend right in front of him. In addition to a great rhythm and lively, unique illustrations, this book offers a chance to practice punctuation and expressive reading. Recommended for ages 4-7.

Cat & Bunny by Mary Lundquist
Cat and Bunny have been best friends since they were babies. One day, while playing their favorite game, another child walks up and asks to play. Before long, lots more children join in. While Bunny has fun with his new friends, Cat – who seems to feel a little jealous and left out – wanders off on her own. When she begins to play a new game with a nearby kitten, Bunny and the other children eventually gather around and everyone plays together. Cat and Bunny reminds readers that it’s important (and fun!) to include others. Recommended for ages 4-8.

Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems
The popular Elephant and Piggie series has lots of great early reader books about friendship, but Should I Share My Ice Cream Cone? is one of my personal favorites. Elephant is so excited to have a delicious ice cream cone to eat -- until he starts to agonize about whether or not he should share it with his best friend, Piggie. Complete with dialogue bubbles, humorous illustrations, and an unexpected twist, this book shows us that good friends share with one another and truly care about each other’s feelings. Recommended for ages 4-8.

The Secret Olivia Told Me written by N. Joy and illustrated by Nancy Devard
Olivia tells her friend a secret. At first, she’s very careful not to share this secret with anyone – but then, one day, it slips out. An unintentional game of telephone begins, and the secret changes and grows as it spreads among friends, classmates, and siblings. Olivia’s friend feels so badly for sharing her secret that she decides to do the right thing and apologize. The Secret Olivia Told Me teaches a meaningful lesson about rumors, gossip, and honesty. Recommended for ages 4-10.

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
Rainbow Fish is the most beautiful fish in the sea. The other fish especially admire his sparkling scales. When a smaller fish asks if he can have one of his shiny scales, Rainbow Fish snubs him and goes about his way. Soon, word spreads that Rainbow Fish is not very generous and the other fish are no longer interested in him.  With the help of a wise octopus, Rainbow Fish ultimately discovers the joy of sharing and earns the respect and friendship of all the fish in the sea. Recommended for ages 3-8.

The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubac and translated from French by Claudia Z. Bedrick
This beautifully illustrated, touching picture book tells the story of a surprising friendship between a lion and a bird. Lion is working in his garden when he notices an injured bird. Lion takes care of Bird and invites him to stay with him throughout the winter. Come spring, however, Bird leaves to reunite with his flock. Will the two ever see each other again? The Lion and the Bird deals with some more complex issues related to friendship, such as distance and the passage of time. Recommended for ages 4-8.

Maple & Willow Together by Lori Nichols
Let’s not forget about siblings… Siblings are friends, too! Sisters Maple and Willow usually get along just fine. One day, however, they have a disagreement while playing, and they each storm off in anger. However, they soon realize that life just isn't as fun without a friend, and the sisters eventually make amends and continue to play together. This book does a good job of showing that siblings and friends may have arguments every now and then, but taking time to cool off and apologizing can make a world of difference when it comes to maintaining positive relationships. Maple & Willow is the second book in the Maple series. Recommended for ages 3-6.