The newly bought R2D2 backpack jammed with 64 pointy crayons, 3 packs of extra-wide notebook paper, and a couple of boxes of Kleenex stands ready at the front door. A new school year is about to begin. But, what is that feeling? It’s that queasy sensation deep in the pit of the stomach. It’s that I’m not sure if I’ll have any friends in my new class anxiety. To the rescue come encouraging books about making friends to share with our kiddos.
Lots of new picture books on the topic of making friends have hit the bookshelves. Let’s explore those and revisit a few older favorites.
Making Friends Book List
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Gustavo, the Shy Ghost
Gustavo, the Shy Ghost by Flavia Z. Drago is the story of a shy ghost who struggles with finding the courage to make friends. But, he decides to share his passion with others and in turn, introduces himself to a whole new group of friends. The illustrations are spectacular!
And, enjoy these activities to use with the book.—>Gustavo, the Shy Ghost Book Activities
Tilly & Tank
In Tilly & Tank by Jay Fleck, Tilly sees what she thinks is another elephant and believes that it could be a new friend. Tank thinks he sees another tank and believes it could be an enemy. When they meet, they both have different reactions. Turns out we need to have an open mind when it comes to meeting others.
Louise and Andie: The Art of Friendship
Louise and Andie: The Art of Friendship by Kelly Light is the story of Louise and her new neighbor, Andie. Both girls discover that they each love art. But, just because two people like the same thing, doesn’t mean becoming friends doesn’t take work. If you love this book, also check out Louise Loves Art by Light.
Boy + Bot
Boy + Bot by Amy Dyckman is a fun story about a boy and robot who become friends. Even though one is a boy and one is a robot, they can still be friends.
I’m a huge fan of Benji Davies’ work. He illustrated Big Friends written by Linda Sarah. Can two great friends make room for a new friend? We get an honest look at the ups and downs of changing and growing friendships in this beautiful, fun, and adventurous book.
Be a Friend
Be a Friend by Salina Yoon is the story of a young boy who loves to mime. It’s hard to find a friend who appreciates such a unique talent, but he meets a girl who is his perfect friendship match. This is a great story for kids who feel different and need encouragement to find their inner courage to make a friend.
The Invisible Boy
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig is the story about a very quiet boy named Brian who goes mostly unnoticed in his school. Then, a new boy joins the class and Brian is the first person to make him feel welcome. The two join together on a project and both shine.
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
Sometimes our friends are imaginary. The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat is the story of an imaginary friend looking for his person. It’s a beautiful story about imagination and friendship. Beekle won the 2015 Caldecott Medal.
Raybot by Adam Watkins addresses that feeling of longing for a friend. Raybot is on a mission to find a certain kind of friend. But, in the process, he discovers lots of new friends along the way.
Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship
Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship by Isabella Hatkoff takes us on a photographic journey of how unlikely animals became friends after a 2004 Tsunami.
My New Friend is So Fun!
Gerald and Piggie are two of our favorite friends. Most of the Elephant & Piggie books are about friendship. For this post, we are highlighting My New Friend is So Fun! by Mo Willems. Could Gerald’s best friend status be jeopardized when Piggie makes a new friend?
Will I Have a Friend?
Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen has been around for a while and rightly so. Will I have a friend? is the age-old question of kids starting school for the first time. Journey with a boy as he starts school and meets his first friend.
We Don’t Eat Our Classmates
Starting school is tough when you are a dinosaur and the rest of the class contains humans. But, Penelope learns the proper way to turn classmates into friends in We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins.
Can Cat and Bird Be Friends?
Can Cat and Bird Be Friends? by Coll Muir showcases that it’s not what is on the surface or what is expected that needs to match to be a friend but rather really getting to know someone likes to see where common ground to build a friendship exists.
The Word for Friend
Sometimes making friends when there are language or cultural differences can feel overwhelming and uncomfortable. In The Word for Friend by Aidan Cassie, we meet Kemala the pangolin who is hoping to make friends at a new school in a new country. But, art turns out to be a great connector.
The Friendship Book
The Friendship Book by Mary Lyn Ray is a beautiful look at how friendships can develop at different rates. Some can have bumps along the way too.
Chirp! Chipmunk Sings for a Friend
Keep shining your light and you will attract others to you and that’s just what happens in Chirp! Chipmunk Sings for a Friend by Jamie A. Swenson.
Reading lots of these books about making friends for kids, listening to your child’s fears and questions, and a lot of encouragement will help kids get ready to make new friends during the first few weeks of school.
Meesha Makes Friends
One of the reasons I like Meesha Makes Friends by Tom Percival so much is that it really encompasses all the feelings one can have about making new friends and making those feelings feel normal. Sometimes when we beat to our own drum, it can be hard to relate to others. And, that is ok. Because there are people who will appreciate our uniqueness and want to be our friends.
The Elephants Come Home: A True Story of Seven Elephants, Two People, and One Extraordinary Friendship
The Elephants Come Home: A True Story of Seven Elephants, Two People, and One Extraordinary Friendship by Kim Tomsic is a touching story based on a true story about the connection between animals and humans.
Grab the Printable List of Making Friends Book List
*This post first appeared on GBBB on 6/26/16 and has since been updated.