You've Got a Friend in Me

Staff PicksShepherd Park/Juanita E. Thornton Library

You've Got a Friend in Me

Books about friendship for kids and teens

Younger kids (Pre-k through 2nd grade)

Hooray for Hat by Brian Won
Elephant is in a terrible mood, but surprising generosity from a mysterious benefactor cheers him up so much that he decides to help his friends get out of their gloominess. An excellent opportunity to discuss supporting friends and shaking off sadness.

My Friends by Taro Gomi
What do we learn from our friends? In this picture book a little girl explains the skills she has learned from the friends in her life. From crocodiles to teachers, each has a special talent to contribute.

My Friend Maggie by Hannah E. Harrison
Paula and Maggie are best friends, but when popular Veronica say mean things about Maggie, Paula ends up hanging out with Veronica. This picture book touches on the enduring strength of friendship, the importance of being true to self, and the bravery of standing up against bullying.

Older kids (3rd through 6th grade)

The First Rule of Punk by Celia Perez
Malú is not having a good time in Chicago. She misses her dad, hates hanging out with her mom who is always trying to get her to be someone she's not, and seems to be the odd one out at school. All she wants is to be punk. When she finds herself in an outcast group of misfits at school, she starts wondering if she will ever find a way to just be herself.

Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
Virgil needs to visit his psychic friend Kaori Tanaka for help in getting up the nerves to make friends with a new kid in his class. On his way to Kaori's house, everything seems to go wrong, and Virgil is left wondering if he will ever see his friends again.

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson
Candice has to spend the whole summer in a boring South Carolina town with no one to talk to but her mom. When she finds a box with her name on it that her grandma left in the attic, she realizes she might need some help from a new friend to solve the biggest puzzle of her life. 

Teens (7th grade and up)

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor just moved to Omaha with her mom, siblings and stepdad. Park has lived there his whole life. Neither of them feels that who they are is represented by their surroundings. Join them for a 1980s alt music filled book about love and friendship in challenging situations. 

You're Welcome Universe by Whitney Gardner
Friends are not supposed to get you kicked out of school for standing up for them. Too bad that's what Julia has to deal with now. She's been placed in a new school where she doesn't know anyone and she's been grounded which means all her art supplies have been taken away. Will things ever get better? Find out in this graffiti filled novel. 

The Closest I've Come by Fred Aceves
Marcos wants to find people who have his back. He knows his crew will stand up for him, but that's not the same as understanding him. When Marcos is placed in a class for teens with potential, he meets two classmates who he thinks couldn't be more unlike himself, but something pulls him to keep hanging out with them. This debut novel by Fred Aceves, who grew up in a neighborhood like Marcos', is a great read about finding friendship in unexpected places.